Good leaders must communicate a vision clearly, creatively, and continually. However, the vision doesn't come alive until the leader models it.

John C. Maxwell

Avoiding the Great Resignation in your contact centre: leaders need coaching too

Running a contact centre can be hard. Leading teams, juggling deadlines, monitoring performance, attending meetings, reporting on budgets and recruiting new team members can all put pressure on contact centre management… and the work for team members can be hard, stressful, repetitive and boring. Throw in a pandemic and adjusting entire contact centres to working from home, and it’s no wonder Australian contact centre leaders feel stretched and overwhelmed.

All too often, leaders haven’t been set up for success. High-performing team members are promoted into leadership roles, not because they show great management potential, but because they are excellent at their job. Contact centre leaders often started on the phones before getting promoted into a team leader role. Senior leadership assumes that because their newly promoted manager was great in a sales or service role, they can teach everyone else how to do it. It’s not that simple. Unless new leaders are given the right training and support, it is unlikely they will come equipped with the skills they need for their new responsibilities.

Leaders who have been at the same organisation for their whole career have an added challenge. If their career trajectory has progressed from a team member on the floor to team leadership and management in the same organisation, they may have limited experience of the wider industry. It can be hard to understand and implement industry best practice without the experience of seeing it first-hand.

The frantic rate of change of an Australian contact or call centre adds even more complexity. With most leaders focused on managing change, ongoing time investment in coaching and development is largely directed at front-line team members, leaving leaders to sink or swim. While some new leaders might get access to a coaching or leadership program, without follow-up leaders tend to revert back to what they have always done.

So, what's the fix?

 

Put simply, leaders need coaching and development on how to be great at coaching and development.

Many leaders find themselves stuck in the “no time to coach” cycle. Leaders don’t get a lot of opportunity to put their new skills into practice because they’re burdened by administrative tasks and never-ending recruitment. Leaders of leaders are similarly overloaded. While we know that leaders should spend about forty to fifty percent of their time actively developing their people, leaders struggle to find the time to coach and observe their own people, let alone getting time to be observed and coached themselves so they can improve in their own capability.

It is well published that most people leave organisations because they feel undervalued, unsupported and most importantly because of their relationship with their leaders. So an investment in leaders should benefit the whole organisation. But what can be done with mounting pressure and limited time?

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YakTrak’s top tips for developing contact centre management capability

 

Here are our top tips for developing leadership capability.

  • Invest time in developing a leader’s capability, rhythm and flow:
    • Help leaders build a weekly rhythm of where they should spend their time.
    • Decree to all that ‘spending time’ with your team is non-negotiable, even if it is just a five-minute check-in.
    • Actively remove the administrative tasks that are taking leaders away from their people.
  • Put yourself in a position to observe leaders in action:
    • Coachable opportunities for leaders occur every day.
    • Leaders of leaders should actively find ways to put themselves in a position to observe leaders in day-to-day interactions and provide immediate feedback (micro coaching).
  • Ensure your leaders and teams have access to the right contact centre software and tools, such as:
    • People development software to keep track of team members’ coaching and goals – this sends a message that development is important to you and the organisation.
    • A consistent set of behavioural and best practice frameworks to ensure everyone knows what good looks like.
    • A resource repository to provide people development information, such as best practice videos, required in the moment when they need it.
  • Prioritise team communications:
    • Encourage leaders to communicate regularly with their teams.
    • Use contact centre software such as YakTrak to document regular coaching sessions and team huddles, track and report on goals, and provide prompts and reminders to keep daily people development top of mind.

How does your organisation compare? Are you stuck in the “no time to coach” cycle?

Chat to YakTrak today to learn more about how you can develop your leaders.

Photo by Mart Production from Pexels 

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