How managers affect staff - and customer experiences

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on October 16, 2007

Hard-driving management may appear to successfully impact the bottom line but it is actually honest, caring, cheerful, generous and flexible workforce supervisors who do the best job of motivating employees to deliver great service and create customer loyalty, according to a new poll from Maritz Research.

According to director of consulting and strategic implementation at Maritz Research, Rick Garlick, Ph.D., employees who serve under this kind of positive supervisor tend to feel the strongest affinity for customers and also believe that the company does an outstanding job of serving its customers.

Mentor or unmentionable?
Supervisors with an honest, caring, and flexible attitude - which Maritz terms "caring mentors" - tend to be highly relational and greatly appreciated. Although they are not perceived as particularly task-driven, controlling, tough, or ruthless, they are knowledgeable and they act consistently. Most importantly, Garlick says, people are this group's most important priority in the workplace.

But the least effective type of supervisor, labelled "win-at-any-cost", is seen as tough, controlling, ruthless and even Machiavellian ("the ends justify the means"). This group is perceived as being inconsistent and clueless, and it is unlikely that these individuals would care about others while doing what they think needs to be done. These supervisors breed dissatisfaction and disloyalty among staff.

Effects of bad management
Nearly one in five staff (19%) surveyed in the poll said they directly report to the win-at-any-cost type of supervisor, and 71% of this group said they would fire their supervisor if they could. Overall, 18% of all employees said they would fire their boss if given the opportunity.

"Not only are these managers poor at motivating their employees, but those who work for this type of supervisor have some of the poorest attitudes toward their companies' customers", warned Garlick.

Hard taskmasters
Another type of supervisor that is not helping customer satisfaction and retention is the "taskmaster". These individuals tend to be tough, controlling, and task-driven, although they are ahead of win-at-any-cost managers in terms of both competence and ethics.

Productivity and achieving results is the focus of this type, but the survey still showed that they are not particularly effective and do not rank highly in terms of customer service competencies. Thankfully this is a less common type of supervisor, with only 10% of respondents saying their boss fits into this category.

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