December 13, 2006
Micromanager undermines service
Just had an evening out at a top-rated restaurant and left
unsatisfied, embarrassed and upset. The waiters were great,
but the supervisor's behavior was awful. Intimidating a
staff that knows more about people than he will likely
ever learn, he created a level of anxiety among his most
important resources, his people. Before he arrived they
were relaxed and friendly. Around him they acted like robots.
To make matters worse, the food was mediocre, and I am
not sure I will ever go back. Am I complaining about an
Micromanaging bosses can mess up a good thing - in a
restaurant, an office, with sports teams and just about
anywhere that communication, trust and mutual support
are important to success. These three interconnected
leadership factors are critical everywhere.
Obviously, you were expecting top-level service and exquisite
food and received neither. You are describing a disconnect
between what this high-end establishment has provided
in the past and what you likely paid for, yet again,
but did not receive. Something has changed in the way
the organization - in this instance, a restaurant -
delivers its service. Expensive mediocrity is unacceptable.
Your positive description of
the service staff indicates they are not the problem.
So, with no more data, the evidence points to an ineffective
supervisor who might lack interpersonal skills as well
as an understanding of the distinction between price
and value. When unskilled and ineffective managers fail
to distinguish between costs and investments, they will
tend to make unwise decisions. The manager of this fancy
restaurant is trying to generate short-term profits.
His operating style might ultimately create customer-relationship
disasters that will do more harm than good, down the
road. Disappointing customers violates the first of our
Integrity-Centered Attributes: character, which demands
consistency between word and deed.
My suggestion is to clarify your disappointment with
those in charge and if you do not receive a professional
and gracious response, then take your restaurant dollars
In contrast to your recent experience
with poor customer service, note how two Monterey-based
United Express employees, Judy Hamilton and Eric Deberdt,
dealt with a customer issue. When they learned that a
couple's ticket to Iowa was somehow "lost" in
the black hole of computer space, they teamed up and quickly found a solution.
The already distraught travelers were leaving home to attend a memorial service
and were grief stricken. They did not need to be advised or accused, as is sometimes
the case for travelers, that something in their ticketing process had been recorded
Two customer-service professionals recognized a need and
filled it. Judy and Eric chose professionalism and graciousness
- because integrity matters.