What sort of manager are you?


When dealing with low morale, there are two types of manager.  Which one are you?

Barbara Burke tells us how better communication is the best remedy for low morale.A recent study showed that frequent dialogue between managers and their employees is the best way to boost morale.  Nearly half (48%) of the 150 executives surveyed cited better communication as the best remedy for low morale.

Data collected from hundreds of our Agent Engagement Surveys bears this out. We survey front-line agents with a 10-question Agent Engagement Survey online.

The results of the survey provide each supervisor with a realistic picture of how the agents on their team feel about the quality of support they receive.

One question on the survey asks: “If you feel there is some room for improvement, what specific suggestions do have for your supervisor?”

Interestingly, the word mentioned most frequently in responses to this questions was the word “time”.

A few examples of responses:

  • “Interact with our team more. Walk through and talk to us at least once a day. Spend time in our world, so to speak.”
  • “She seems like she does not have time and rushes through things, it is like she does not care and it has made me feel like she does not care if we succeed of not.”
  • “When we are supposed to have our one-to-ones, he never shows up on time and when he does make the meeting, it seems like his mind is on something else.”

What sort of manager are you?

Bob, the manager responsible for hiring new agents for two large contact centres, had an interesting theory about supervisors. He said that they fall into two categories: the “Stop Bys” and the “Drive Bys”.

The supervisors in the Stop By category managed to find the time every day, no matter how busy they were, to circulate among their reps and connect with each one. The Drive Bys did just that — they drove by their reps on their way to or from a meeting. Rarely were these supervisors around when a rep needed their help. You can guess which of the two types of supervisors had teams with high morale and low turnover.

If you aren’t already in the habit of checking in with each person on your team (or family members) every day, try doing it this week. Here’s how: make the rounds at the beginning of the day and greet each person with a smile. Establish eye contact. Ask how they are. Listen to their response. If you are comfortable doing it, share something about your self (not work-related).

I do need to offer a warning. If you start greeting each person every day, they will look forward to it. So much so, that if you skip a day many will wonder what’s up. They may conclude that you are angry at them.

Consider yourself warned.


Barbara Burke

Barbara Burke: Customer service management consultant, employee engagement champion, and motivational speaker since 1986. www.barbaraburke.com Barbara’s book, The Napkin, the Melon & the Monkey is fast becoming a favourite of contact centre and call centre employees throughout the world.

Published On: 28th Jan 2009 - Last modified: 23rd Jun 2017
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1 Comment
  1. It’s amazing how something so simple can have such a great and positive impact with your team. If you are living by the “Drive By” theory you really need to change that. Your team will be grateful for it.

    Marc Bowers 29 Jan at 2:30 pm
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