Recently while having lunch, I observed an example that everyone in management should have witnessed. At an adjoining table, a service technician for a local automobile dealership was seated with the firm’s general manager. The manager proudly told the server that his companion had won a contest for having received the highest ratings during the previous quarter for customer satisfaction. His instructions were “he’s a winner - give him whatever he wants!”
The entire time I’m soaking this all in, thinking that I was observing a boss who “gets it." Boy was I wrong! For the next thirty minutes what I mostly observed was a service technician having lunch by himself. The manager must have taken half a dozen phone calls, each with the excuse that, “I need to get this. It’s important!” In addition, he must have sent a like number of text messages. Seemingly the minute the employee swallowed the last bite of his meal, the manager said, “If you’re done we may as well head back." WOW! This entire scenario had so many behavior flaws; I could hardly eat my lunch. I really wanted to go give the employee a hug!
Clearly the boss did not want to be at this restaurant, at this time, with this person. He was merely fulfilling an obligation on his calendar. His body language clearly said that he had no real interest in learning anything about this employee. He made no attempt to discover any common interests to share. He basically told this guy repeatedly that his phone calls were more important than he was to him.
What a few minutes before had appeared to be a genuine gesture of reward, had instead been exposed as merely a promotional stunt. What the manager clearly failed to realize is that it is impossible for an employee to consistently treat his customers better than he is being treated himself. He may genuinely attempt to do so at first, but over time his spirit will wane. The result will either be his giving more indifferent service, or more likely, seeking another place of employment where the attitude is more to his liking.
When this occurs, I can just hear this supervisor saying that “good help is hard to find today." From the employees’ perspective, I think that many would be justified in making a similar statement regarding management.
Remember that the employee didn’t just desire a free steak dinner; he also felt that he had won a period of undivided attention from his boss. That is really what he bragged to his friends and family about. From where I sat, I hope that his lunch went down well, because the treatment that he was receiving was really tough for me to swallow.