As a people manager in the call centre or contact centre industry, our day-to-day goals and objectives (among many other responsibilities!) are primarily built around the improvement of results, the improvement of team performance and motivation levels, and the improvement of customer satisfaction.
So what makes a good team leader? What makes a GREAT team leader?
Put simply, it’s the ability to skilfully handle, manage and excel at the art of human interaction. That is, both employee and customer interactions and relationships.
Today’s world can present many tricky issues for call centre team leaders. Knowing inside-out, all of the software, systems and processes (which can often change) is important – but the key is to focus most on the human engagement element. It’s the leaders that dedicate themselves to the interaction that really set themselves apart.
Good team leaders don’t always naturally or instinctively possess great leadership skills – here are a few tips and techniques that will help improve leader’s abilities to drive success and motivate teams, and to improve call centre agent performance:
Employees are not resources. They are people.
Get to know your teams, their personalities, what they respond to. Genuinely show your appreciation, care and ability to see them as the individual that they are. Making an effort here will go a long way.
Always be positive.
Everybody makes mistakes from time to time, it’s part of being human. As a team leader, your role is to use constructive feedback instead of criticism to help your team to see how they could have improved. Use the time to open up a general conversation about how well they’re doing and what areas they could work on in place of using the time to develop a reputation as a complainer.
Always be available.
Your time is precious. And sometimes it can feel impossible to manage your own tasks as well as those of a team. But management is often tough, and multi-tasking and effective prioritisation are key.
Stand up to the role of ‘leader’ and make your time available to your team – help staff to hit targets and achieve goals. Employees that feel isolated and a burden on your time are more likely to become demotivated and disengaged.
Always look to the future. Develop your team.
Great leaders see past the ideas of power and pay that sometimes come with the role – they put in the time and the emotional, humanistic skillset to become true leaders.
Never become complacent or content with the performance of your team and make it your mission to follow the golden rule… inspire, guide and motivate others towards a common goal that involves everyone. Give credit and reward where and when due, recognise and praise efforts when they succeed.
It’s all too easy to be a bad team leader – and there are many of them in this world. Your team are your greatest asset though, and by nurturing their own goals and development, you can reach your own targets.