In my mind there are a series of characteristics that are exhibited by a good manager.
1. Leading by example
2. The ability to step away from the persona of the company and be an individual
3. The ability to adapt to your workers
4. Being there to help your workers and address their issues
Of these characteristics # 3 may very well be the hardest for many in management to master but may also be the most important. Everyone is different, thus not everyone will respond well to the same type of management. Some people respond better to aggressive or micro-managing tactics and some respond better to the hands-off approach. A great manager has the ability to get to know his/her employees and determine which management style will work best with that individual. This is no easy task and I’m not sure that I could do it (or at least I’m not sure if I could do it well) but I’ve seen it done. At my last job I had a boss named Mark who was probably the best supervisor that I have ever had. He exhibited all of the characteristics I’ve listed and he excelled at them. I have to admit that I miss working for him.
In a lot of ways, I don’t envy members of management at all, especially those in the “team leader” level in call centers. They are essentially a punching bag that gets to take crap from both ends (said ends being upper management and the employees under them). It is a thankless job that many are way underpaid for doing, so I do feel for them, but far too often I see managers using a one-size-fits-all management style or failing to lead by example and that has a real tendency to turn people—for sure turn me—off.