October 2, 2017 BestCompaniesAZ

Developing Great Bosses: Direct Energy’s Four Components of Success

Everyone in business is aware of the importance of good leadership in a CEO. Less attention is given to the leadership capabilities of front line management, but supervisors play a critical role in the success of the company and the careers of those who call them “boss”. Direct Energy, rated as one of the Top Companies to Work for in Arizona and Arizona’s Most Admired Companies for 2017, demonstrates how a company’s investment in strong supervisory skills and developing great bosses pays off.

We’ve all heard the cliché that “people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their bosses.” Conversely, research proves that not only do good supervisors retain their staff, they make them better at their jobs. When employees in one professional services company were asked in a survey who they viewed as the company’s “leadership”, they most often replied, “my supervisor”. The CEO was named second. It’s possible that the relationship employees have with their immediate bosses are the most important relationships in the company.

Direct Energy has built a reputation for developing strong supervisory capabilities, and it shows in their exceptionally high employee survey results, which indicate 93% of employees have a great relationship with their supervisors. (*From the 2017 Top Companies to Work for in Arizona employee survey.)

Direct Energy develops great bosses largely by emphasizing four areas:

  1. Developing strong mentorships
  2. Volunteering
  3. Career development and coaching
  4. Developing trust

Developing strong mentorships

Teaching people skills and developing trust are generally the most important and complex elements of a supervisor’s role. Direct Energy’s Dave Ammons, Senior Manager, Vendor Relations, at Direct Energy, is one example of a leader who is committed to sharing his life and work experiences with others through mentoring. His highly interactive approach is focused on overcoming obstacles, building bonds of trust, and remaining vulnerable about his own experiences. Dave notes, “I’m confident the people I have had the privilege of mentoring find value in our mutual ability to reflect back to each other how we overcome obstacles and share ways in which we have moved forward in positive directions in our work and our personal lives.”


Volunteer leadership is not only an opportunity to bring more meaning to work, it can be remarkably good training for executive leadership. Why? Because the skills required are similar: persuasion, promoting work-life balance, and rallying employees around a common vision. Timoteo Araiza, Supervisor, at Direct Energy, explains; “We volunteer with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Feed My Starving Children, the Salvation Army and St. Mary’s Food Bank, encouraging each employee to volunteer for every opportunity. Our volunteer program helps you become a better leader because you learn through volunteer work that every person is valuable, giving to others first will yield success and that we are better together.”

Career Development and Coaching

When Lisa Schroeder, now a Supervisor at Direct Energy, was at an earlier stage in her career, she reached out to her boss to inform him of her goal to get into management. He began coaching Lisa and helping her improve her skills. He offered opportunities for Lisa to lead meetings and projects, and was given the responsibility of sharing data with other supervisors. Raves Lisa, “I’ve had so much help from other leaders here at Direct Energy that have encouraged and nurtured my growth within the company. I have never worked for a company with such support for career advancement. Direct Energy is truly a one of a kind place to work!”


Direct Energy Leadership DevelopmentThe essence of good leadership includes trust, and trust is more powerful than power itself. Leaders who have built trust are often called “authentic”. Not only are they passionate about their work, they are compassionate with people, without biases based on race, gender, generation or stereotypes. They are the supervisors who will help you get where you want to go.

Kevin Jones, Supervisor, at Direct Energy, considers it a privilege to create trust in his role. “Trust is never easy to build but requires a consistent demonstration of a few characteristics. My employees appreciate my earnest commitment in knowing them individually and building a relationship without conditions. Furthermore, honesty, follow-up and dependability all have value toward building trust with any team assembled for purpose.”

Jones continues, “Emphasizing what we all have in common (both obstacles and goals) helps employees believe their obstacles are not overwhelming and goals are obtainable. Seek to foster an environment where barriers do not exist. Allow synergy to work for the common good, then everyone wins!”

A supervisor’s role is incredibly complex. Direct Energy has a track record of pouring into their supervisors, teaching people skills, developing trust and it is paying off for the company with high employee engagement, and winning workplace awards!

Learn more about Direct Energy’s Tempe office and their great career opportunities!