SUCCESSFUL TEAM LEADERS
8 Common Mistakes Made By Newly Promoted Team Leaders
Industry Content Supporter:
We are all human and make mistakes, and there are some mistakes newly promoted Team Leaders make in particular.
And, yes making a mistake can be a learning experience, however by taking the time to avoid making these 8 common mistakes new Team Leaders can become more productive, successful and highly respected by their team more quickly.
Misunderstanding Their Role
Once you become a Team Leader your responsibilities are very different from what they were before when you were only accountable for your own performance. Now you’re accountable for the performance of your team and, the performance of all the team members in your team.
In the beginning it can be a little scary and many people find themselves outside their comfort zone and they soon realize they need to use different skills to be effective leading and managing people.
And, if they don’t acquire these new skills they aren’t going to do what they were hired to do – lead and manage their team!
Not ‘Walking the Walk’
Team Leaders need to be a role model for their team. Your team is watching you all the time and they’re going to pattern a lot of their behavior on how they see you behave. If you’re negative some of the time, you can’t expect them not to be negative too. If you want to shape their behavior, start with your own
and they will follow suit.
Not Providing Timely, Constructive Feedback
When you don’t provide timely and constructive feedback to your team members, you’re depriving them of the opportunity to improve their performance.
Not Making Time For Your Team
Once you’re in a Team Leadership role, your team should always come first – that is the heart of what
good leadership is all about. So, you have to make the time to coach your team members to help them improve their skills whether they need help with the way they handle their calls, product knowledge or admin task.
Being Too Hands On
Team Leaders want to avoid micromanagement of their team because many team members were their colleagues not so long ago, and they don’t want to feel like they’re being lorded over.
But going in the opposite direction with a ‘hands off’ management style isn’t a good idea either – you need to find the right balance and not hide behind your desk!
Being Too Friendly
This is one of the more common mistakes to avoid because team members will be tempted to take advantage of your relationship if you’re too friendly with them. This doesn’t mean you can’t socialize with your team, far from it – you just need to get the balance right by setting healthy boundaries between being a friend and now being the Team Leader.
Failing to Define Goals
When team members don’t have clear goals they muddle through their day and waste time. They need to have clearly defined and achievable daily and weekly goals for them to strive for and understand they will be held accountable for achieving these goals.
Just remember when setting their goals to make the goal fair and reasonable for them based on their skill level and be sure to get their Buy In that the goal is fair and they can achieve it.
Many Team Leaders assume their team is only working for monetary reward, especially if they are paid an hourly rate plus commission.
However, it’s unlikely this will be the only thing that motivates them. There is plenty of research around that shows money is not the most important thing to most Team Members; usually it’s far down the list.
Aside from money, often people looking for a greater work/life balance and might be motivated by flexible working hours where they can leave early if they hit their daily goal. And, many people will be motivated by factors such as achievement, extra responsibility, praise or even a sense of satisfaction by achieving team goals with their team mates.
Of course, people wouldn’t work without getting paid, but what’s important to them is what they want to do with the money they make.
So, find out what is important to them that they want to use the money to get, and then help them understand how they can get the money they need to get what they want by being more productive.
4 Coaching Fundamentals Team Leaders Follow To Improve Their Team
team members know exactly what’s expected of them, where the team is headed and what’s going to be happening and how they can contribute.
This means Team Leaders need to be prepared and very clear with everyone on their team about the results they expect from them and when they expect them to deliver these results. Most team members are truly interested to know all of these things – it matters to them and critical in clarifying expectations and directions.
Fundamental 3: Providing Corrective and Nurturing Feedback
Team Leaders have a responsibility to regularly give their team members constructive, honest and helpful feedback. Team members need to know how they are doing, where they are going and if they are contributing to the overall team goal.
A big part of this is choosing to provide encouraging feedback over criticism. When you must criticize, give feedback as soon after the event as possible. Be honest but compassionate, and then move on.
Fundamental 4: Expecting Results
Whether in business or sport… all coaches want results, they want to win and they want those they coach to win and they want the team to win, too.
So, have high expectations and believe in your team. Don’t ignore or sideline underperformers your team is only as good as your weakest team member. Instead, help them improve by making progress tangible, setting clear goals and milestones, and celebrating achievements when goals and KPIs are
3 Steps For Holding Team Members Accountable
Industry Content Supporter:
Holding team members accountable for their targets and KPIs helps maintain performance levels up to standard to ensure quality customer service or sales.
If team members aren’t regularly held accountable for their targets and KPIs, not only are you sending a sign of weakness in your leadership; it’s more difficult for you to provide recognition or coaching.
Holding your team members accountable for achieving their targets and KPIs is linked to higher performance and increases their commitment to the team and overall morale.
And, what happens when there’s no accountability? Easy answer it damages the team!
Tolerating missed targets or KPIs, lack of punctuality or unfinished work without addressing these behaviors creates the impression that they are no big deal. People learn that missing their targets or KPIs
or consistently being 10 minutes late for their shift is okay.
Your team suffers because having a team member who isn’t meeting their commitments and isn’t being held accountable causes frustration and disengagement with the rest of the team.
Two of the biggest reasons why team leaders resist holding team members accountable is simply because they’re not comfortable doing it or they simply don’t have a clear process for doing it.
To make sure you are consistently holding your team members accountable for their performance, religiously follow these simple practices:
Set Clear Expectations
Quite often, the reason you aren’t getting the best performance from your team is because you’re not crystal clear about what you want them to do. This is the core of holding your team accountable. Setting clear, measurable goals makes it unambiguous about what is expected from a team member.
If you both agree on what their goals and KPIs are, it’s much harder for them to argue about them later when they fall short, and it makes sure they understand their accountability from the beginning.
Follow Up Regularly
As obvious as it seems it’s amazing how often following up with team members gets overlooked
whether that’s because of all the fires that need to put out every day, or just that it’s uncomfortable discussing poor performance.
One habit you need to develop is regularly meeting with each of your team members at least once every two weeks for 10 to 15 minutes to discuss how they’re performing against their targets and KPIs.
Yes, that might mean spending a few hours in these meetings to cover your whole team! But the payoff is that you create alignment and can get them back on track moving in the right direction with more coaching if they need it, or patting them on the back for doing really well.
If you meet with them regularly you’ll find they’ll come to the meeting prepared to discuss their progress rather than coming up with excuses.
Be Honest and Share the Brutal Truth
It doesn’t help anyone tip toeing around a situation. You need to give them honest corrective feedback, when necessary. That doesn’t mean slamming them for falling behind. Simply give them the facts,
explain what they’re expected to do and find out if and where they may need help.
And, if they need help give it to them with more coaching or training.
Now accountability isn’t just about holding your team accountable, it’s a two way street. You need to be wing through and getting done what you said you’d get done.
It’s recognizing that your team members are dependent on the results of your work. It’s about open, proactive communication to keep team members informed of where you are with your commitments because it has a direct impact on their ability to achieve their targets and KPIs.
It’s taking ownership and initiative, doing the right thing for the team and taking responsibility for results – it’s the opposite of passing the buck.
Trust is the backbone of high-performing teams. And, when team members see that you are truly accountable and take ownership of the team’s results, you’ll earn their trust. They’ll trust you to do the right thing and that you’ll do what you said you’d do.
And, once you’ve earned their trust they’ll work to earn yours.
So, work on your feedback skills because it’s one of the most important things you need to do as a team leader. Feeling ignored by not giving feedback is one of the most demotivating things you can do to your team.
And, keep track of your commitments and hold each other accountable. If you make a promise to provide more positive feedback or coaching, make sure you schedule it and hold yourself accountable for delivering on it.
If a team member commits to something make sure you have a way to check-in it to keep them accountable.
INDUSTRY SERVICE TIPS
1. Define your contact center’s leadership needs. What does leadership mean in your contact center? Be specific. Vagueness breeds more vagueness. Build a program around the specific needs.
2. Practice. When managers are away let leadership development trainees step in and get some practice. These hands-on experiences will prove to be invaluable with lessons learned.
To sustain a viable pipeline of managers, contact centers want to invest in a Leadership Development Program. Companies prefer to hire from within but many times don’t have the right leadership talent available internally, which forces companies to look outside. Implementing an LDP can change that scenario. Leaders are developed over time with the proper structure, leadership and direction.
The best LDP programs include real-world work, education, training and coaching guided by a structured curriculum with tests or accountability checkpoints along the way. Providing Leadership Development Trainees with the opportunity to learn all aspects of the business backfills their experience. The program should include self-study as well as group training and discussion. Assign the trainee with a project; something they can call their own and are responsible for managing and reporting the results.
Developing a Leadership Development Program is a wise investment for long-term staffing and growth. Well-led organizations tend to attract quality applicants, produce satisfied employees, incur less unwanted turnover, cultivate loyal customers, and yield impressive financial returns. Sounds like a tall order but it is possible with a well thought-out program that is committed to its people.
15 Essential Habits of Amazing Team Leaders
Industry Content Supporter:
15 Essential Habits of Amazing Team Leaders
Industry Content Supporter:
Creating amazing Team Leaders takes a lot of work and it’s certainly not always easy, but, the surprising
thing is it isn’t the hardest thing in the world either… especially if your Team Leaders adopt positive
habits they consistently apply every day!
Over the past 35 years I’ve been involved with Call Centers either as a Call Center Owner, consulting with
businesses or coaching and mentoring Call Center Managers and Team Leaders, I’ve seen the best habits
in action that amazing Team Leaders use to successfully nurture, coach and lead winning teams!
And, I promise. If your Team Leaders learn these habits and effectively apply them every day, in a few
quick months’ senior managers and team members will recognize them as a truly amazing Team Leaders.
Habit 1: Knowing Their Numbers
Amazing Team Leaders are obsessive when it comes to knowing their team metrics. They know these
numbers are how they are measured every hour, day, week and month, so they keep track of where their
team is in relation to their KPIs and sales targets every day and every hour of the day.
Habit 2: Setting Expectations
Amazing Team Leaders always remember they are leader, coach and mentor and they set the direction
and expectations for the team and team members individually early and often. They set expectations on
the key performance metrics and other areas like work behaviors and even dress code.
They also set expectations on what the team will get from them be it coaching, extra training or being a
cheerleader and celebrating team and individual achievements.
Habit 3: Walking the Talk
Amazing Team Leaders handle calls each week to stay sharp and on top of any issues the team may be
facing to show the team they’re invested in its success.
They know taking or making calls earns the team’s respect, and also helps them in other ways because if
the team knows their Team Leader can do the job they’re more open to being coached and listening to
suggestions and tips.
Habit 4: Clearing Roadblocks
Amazing Team Leaders find out what is getting in the way of their team members hitting their targets and doing a great job. They know it’s their job to try their best to address these issues and fix them.
And, for any issues they can’t fix, they let the team know why because they know the team will accept an issue once they know why it can’t be fixed.
Habit 5: Helping Team Members Be Great
Amazing Team Leaders remember how scary it was and how unsure they were when they first started on the phones, how much there was to learn and take on board. They remember how they needed reassurance and support from their Team Leader and how they wanted and needed constant feedback especially in the beginning.
So, amazing Team Leaders evaluate team member’s efforts often and give corrective feedback and reassurance to help team members become really good at their jobs.
Habit 6: Effectively On boarding New Members
When a new team member joins the team, the first thing amazing Team Leaders do is get feedback from the training team to get an understanding of what they were good at and what help is still needed.
They also want to check on the new team member’s attitude, their attendance, how they participated in training and how they interacted with others to get a sense of what still needs to be worked on.
And, amazing Team Leaders ease them into the job by having them sit with an experienced agent for a few shifts to settle them into the job and into the team and get comfortable with the job by watching and listening to how the job is done.
Basically, providing a safe place to ask questions or bring up any concerns they may have regarding the job, and make connections with people in the team.
Habit 7: Getting Extra Help When Needed.
When amazing Team Leaders notice a gap in certain call activity, procedures or processes they look for help from the training or quality assurance teams by having them listen to extra calls or by giving extra
training to the team to help them fill the gap.
Habit 8: Managing Absenteeism
Amazing Team Leaders work on absenteeism every day, seeing it as a trip wire, warning them there may be a problem with a team member who is thinking of leaving.
Apart from being concerned for their team member’s welfare and their duty of care to them, they see this as a great opportunity to fix a problem early before someone decides to leave.
They know often it can be a simple fix or these absences may be related to a more serious problem that can affect the whole team, so they want to find out what’s going on and if they can, fix it as soon as possible.
Habit 9: Showing They Care
Amazing Team Leader develop a high degree of emotional intelligence by constantly showing they care
about their team members by being genuinely interested in their lives inside and outside work.
Habit 10: Recognizing Good Effort
Amazing Team leaders know that genuine recognition and appreciation for hard work, even if someone
just missed out on a target is very rewarding and it can be as simple as a pat on the back.
Habit 11: Keeping Their Team Close
For the better part of the shift amazing Team Leaders manage their team by walking around their team,
being available to answer questions, give tips or quick training sessions and fixing any problems people
are having that comes up.
They know that it’s more efficient and easier to be accessible with the team is sitting around them, so
they don’t have to wander all over the floor because when someone really needs their help, they need it
Habit 12: Being Prepared.
Amazing Team Leaders work to a schedule for the upcoming week and follow their schedule.
They build their schedule with weekly activities they know come up every week and include any regular
meetings they have with their boss and other meetings, and schedule time outside of peak calling times
for admin tasks, answering emails, reading reports or updating them.
They especially schedule time to listen to recorded calls and coaching sessions to provide corrective
Habit 13 Efficiently Running Pre-shift Meetings
Amazing Team Leaders always have quick positive meetings for 5 to 10 minutes before a shift begins to
share where the team is tracking against KPIs and targets and share any information on changes or
updates to processes, systems or products the team need to know about, and hand out award
certificates and providing recognition.
They’re also get each team member to commit to a personal target for the shift, and do a ‘Check up from
the Neck up’ to make sure everyone has cleared their minds and is focused on their goals.
Habit 14: Learning Why a Team Member Quit
Considering all the time and effort they’ve invested in their team member, amazing Team Leaders really
want to know if the reason why someone quit and if it could have been avoided or corrected to make
sure it doesn’t happen again.
Habit 15: Investing In Their Personal Development.
Amazing Team Leaders want to enhance their skills and take advantage of any training opportunity or
leadership seminars the company provides or further their personal development by getting their hands
on as many books, articles or videos like this one to grow further.
They also speak with other team leaders and senior people in the company to find out what books,
courses or training materials they would recommend, and join online call center communities and t call
center associations to learn more and improve their skills.
The quicker a Team Leader adopts these habits and applies them every day the easier their job will
become and the quicker they’ll be recognized as an amazing Team Leader who effectively coaches,
nurtures and leads a great team – someone worthy of greater responsibilities and promotion!
VIDEO FROM OUR EXPERTS
Established in 2009 to provide consulting services to businesses involved in B2B and B2C lead generation and telemarketing activities.
With 30 years of direct marketing experience as a call centre proprietor, senior marketing executive and consultant Marc has been employed or provided consulting services to a wide variety of businesses involved in B2B and B2C activities in such diverse markets as Australia, Canada, Fiji, México, The Bahamas, United Kingdom and United States of America.
Companies out team has worked with – Accor Vacation Club, Club Noosa Resort, Diamond Resorts International, Elkhorn Resorts, GeoHoliday Club, Groupo Costamex, Holiday Resort Properties, Interval Property Management LTD, Resort Hotels of Australia, Shell Vacations LLC, Telstra Australia and the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra among others.
NETWORKING FOR CONTACT CENTER PROFESSIONALS
NACSMA brings together like-minded professionals focused on advancing the customer contact industry and creating career growth.
Management of a best-in-class contact center sites require the continuous review of Agent Sourcing Models, Organizational Training and Management Development Programs.
NACSMA is a professional, non-profit association whose members represent customer contact organizations and the vendors who support them.
When a contact center organization expands to an additional site or requires new space, the steps to properly implement are unique to each organization but do have standard phases.