"You've got to treat them fairly," says Raper. "I wouldn't expect them to do anything I wouldn't do." Raper adds that when it's time to settle employee disputes, he approaches those issues with a mindset of finding out "what's right, not who's right." He says that a good manager also has to address the issues right then, because ignored issues don't go away in the pressure cooker that is a central station. Unaddressed employee complaints or disputes will fester, not diffuse themselves..
Vector's Stoler says that a manager's soft skills also extend well beyond fairness in applying the rules and serving as the liaison to make sure personal disputes don't disrupt a central station environment. He notes that the most important skill a central station manager can do is to make an operator aware that people appreciate what they do.
"We say 'thank you' for people doing things right as often as we can, because in that perspective, our people are going to want to do those kinds of things more often."
Raper agrees. "When they do something good, we acknowledge that we noticed. It can't all be negative comments that go towards them. This is an family-run organization, and we try to make the employees feel as much a part of the family as we can."