What's the difference between a good team leader and a bad one?
Chris Keelan _ February 2016
What's the importance of being a good Team Leader? Over the many years I’ve spent in the call centre industry, I’ve learnt how to improve results, increase customer satisfaction and motivate agents. Above everything else, nothing achieves these things quite like being a good Team Leader.
What makes a good Team Leader?
You can know all the software and systems inside out, be popular, understand all the technical lingo like it’s your first language - but at the end of the day none of this matters. What really separates the good from the bad is skillfully managing human interactions and relationships.
How can I be a good Team Leader?
Despite the job title, it’s not always the case that Team Leaders are the most natural and comfortable with leadership, and unfortunately, some of us can pick up bad habits along the way - I know I did. Hopefully, these hints and tips highlighting the difference between a good and bad Team Leader will help you improve your ability to lead your teams, drive success and pick up a reputation as ‘one of the good ones’.
1. Use feedback, not criticism.
One of the most typical ways Team Leaders demotivate their teams is by consistently complaining about performance. If agents make mistakes, open up a conversation about what they’re doing well, and highlight some opportunities for improvement rather than just having a go for not being good enough.
2. Acknowledge improvements, don’t ignore them.
When you positively respond and reinforce the right behaviours, your teams are far more likely to repeat them. Make sure you give your agents a nod, thumbs up or pat on the back for improvements in their performance, no matter how small. If effort goes unnoticed, you’re less likely to see it again.
3. Treat agents like individuals, rather than resources.
Everyone likes to be recognised as an individual - it’s natural, and nobody likes feeling ignored or unappreciated. Make an effort to find out a bit more about your teams and what makes them tick, and you’ll be rewarded through their willingness and cooperation.
4. Be available, instead of distant.
Like with many things, the clue here is in the name - ‘Team Leader’. I know the job isn’t always easy, and currying favours for management often leaves you with little time, but you need to take time to support your staff in achieving their goals and hitting their targets. Without your help at hand, agents can as if they’re feel alone and unable to get where they need to be. Let your team know they can come to you with anything they might need.
5. Follow the golden rule of team leadership.
If you want to be a truly great Team Leader, make it your mission to develop your team. Many people relish ideas of status, power and pay that comes with promotion to leadership roles, but few are prepared to do what it takes to become a proper leader. When in doubt, follow this golden rule:
Be the Team Leader you needed when you were an agent.
Inspire and guide your teams towards a common goal that benefits everyone involved. Develop your agents as individuals, give them credit for results, praise efforts and reward them when they succeed.
Keep this in mind - you can’t be perfect, and you won’t suddenly become a superhero, but keep working at it and you’ll be there in no time. Remember, this world has too many bad leaders and a real shortage of good ones - make sure you’re doing the right thing.