Hall Monitors: A Short Leash

Hall monitor (Wikipedia): student volunteer charged with keeping order in the school hallways. Typical duties: “preventing running and rowdy behavior” and ensuring punctuality.

You know the type. They grow up and become the Nurse Ratcheds of bureaucracies everywhere. As keepers of the rules, maintaining the status quo is their art form. Sometimes, “he/she who must be obeyed” makes manipulation their stock in trade.

So how do you neutralize the influence of a hall monitor? It took a lobotomy and a feather pillow for Jack Nicholson to escape. Surely there are other options….

Isolate them. Keep them on a short leash and avoid giving them the power to impact your work. Caveat: if they are a critical link to your project, this is a recipe for disaster. He/she who must be obeyed will find a way to sabotage your project if they’re feeling unappreciated.

Charm them. Hall monitors want love too. If you listen carefully, make them feel heard and give them a detailed job that suits their nature, you can s-l-o-w-l-y get them to engage. The right balance of appreciation and tough love could convert them into solid team players.

Kiss them good-bye. If sustained charm didn’t work, it’s time to cut the hall monitor loose. Whether it’s your client, your boss, your teammate, they will be a major energy suck to you AND your team. Let them go.

Life is too short to spend it wishing for a lobotomy.


  • adnari

    It is always the case when you have the hall monitors around, follow the rulkes guard against those who don't follow, comply and comply. One of the most disgusting aspect of life where rules are made by some to govern and control the rest. These rules are meant for the rest but it does'nt matter if the one who makes it don't obey. Whatever it is one needs to have rules but for those ensuring that these are met they too must be sane enough not to break it .

  • Rochelle Moulton

    It's an ages-old truth: those who wish to govern/lead well must themselves follow the rules and principles they've set down for others.

    Stereotypically, the hall monitor (rather unique to the US education system) is a non-natural leader who gets drunk on their own power and uses it to annoy their peers over trivia….

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