The Ringleader, The Follower and The Protégé
My wife and I have the good fortune to be able to do our business at a few different banks. In some ways they are all the same, and in some ways, they are 180 degrees different. They all seem to offer the same products. Free checking, itty-bitty rates on certificates of deposit, nice internet banking options, cookies in the lobby and all the other standard banking items.
Where they differ GREATLY, is in the people category. One of the banks we deal with regularly, at least for now, has an unsolvable conundrum. This particular bank has a bad combination of tellers regarding customer service. Of all the times my wife or I have walked into this bank we have never been greeted by name, and rarely, if ever, greeted at all—and neither are any of their other customers warmly greeted. It just has a bad internal synergy and it probably cannot be fixed.
And here’s why it can’t be fixed:
The Ringleader is in full command.
The senior teller at the bay on the end is the Ringleader. She has clearly laid down all the laws of behavior in the bank. Her countenance resonates throughout the teller line and you can bet the other tellers perform accordingly. The Ringleader has an heir in place to her position and that is the Follower. The Follower is fixated at the bay next to the Ringleader and the Follower follows the behavior of the Ringleader’s chapter and verse. Woe to the Follower should she stray from the behavioral manual and greet or smile at a customer. Should that happen the Follower would be subjected to social damnation within the bank social structure.
The Ringleader is very good at her teachings. I have seen her in action when the Branch Manager is in the area and in that instance, she goes from Mr. Hyde to the sweet Dr. Jekyll.
Suddenly, in the presence of the Branch Manager the Ringleader smiles, greets and asks her stunned co-workers if she can help them with anything. This graduate level technique is slowly morphing into the DNA of the other tellers.
The third teller in the conundrum is the Protégé. The Protégé is actually a victim of the Ringleader and the Follower. The Protégé has the natural urge to be kind and warm and courteous but she is under surveillance when the Ringleader is present. The Protégé has been shrunk down by the surroundings and it’s unlikely that she can break away and go with her helpful instincts.
We are going to switch to a different bank pretty soon. Too bad the Protégé can’t switch—she would probably do very well with a positive Ringleader.
Here’s the bad part about this conundrum . . .
You recruit what you already have.
The Ringleader has the high ground, and she ain’t giving it up