You’re an outbound team leader or supervisor. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s a really difficult job. But as you already know, it can also be exciting and rewarding.
You’re more than just a leader. You’re also a manager and a motivator. You need lots of ‘people skills’ – but at the same time you’re responsible for results.
Do you want to be a fantastic team leader? Read on…
Awesome team leaders really know each of their team members. They know their strengths. They know their weaknesses and their failings. They know what motivates them. They also know what drives undesirable behaviour.
Knowing all this, it’s up to you to keep morale high.
You’ll only really get to know your agents when you listen to them. Really listen. Create opportunities for your team players to speak openly about their issues, both the positive and negative. Make them feel comfortable to share their excitement as well as their frustrations – and not only one-on-one with you, but with their colleagues too.
Make it your business to understand the ups and downs of your agents’ personal lives too. Not so much as to be intrusive. Just enough to let them know that you really care.
You are a leader. Leaders lead by setting good examples. So don’t expect any of your team to do something that you can’t or don’t do.
If you expect them to be punctual, you can never be late. If you expect them to be enthusiastic, be enthusiastic. If you expect them to make difficult calls, get your headset on and get in the trenches with them.
Good leaders inspire their teams. Great leaders treat their team as a family. They teach. They train. They coach. They do it every day. They never give up inspiring team members to achieve more and more – to become all that they can be, in the workplace and in their personal lives.
Outstanding team leaders build trust and a ‘together we can do it’ culture. When they achieve their goals, so will you.
Outbound sales or collections are really difficult. In addition to inspiring and motivating teams, great team leaders must also manage the day-to-day realities.
They make sure there are clear lines of communication between the organisation, the contact centre manager and the team members. And this is just one of many important functions. Building individual and team development plans, performance management, on-the-job training, call monitoring and managing feedback from quality assurance are equally important.
Meaningful managers don’t operate in isolation. They share the bigger picture with their team. They get involved in the recruitment, on-boarding and training processes. They understand the importance of data and provide insights and feedback to management.
Meaningful team leaders start shifts with a sincere ‘team huddle’ or ‘stand-up’. It’s the time to talk about goals, targets and team performance. It’s the time to openly discuss problems and challenges. It’s also the time to share individual and team successes, and to recognise achievements.
Whatever you do, don’t be a control freak! Don’t hide behind the numbers. Don’t hide behind your computer.
Be visible. Be at your team’s side throughout the shift. Don’t ignore team members’ personal problems or challenges. They’re only human. Don’t jump to conclusions and become emotional when there are performance problems. Get the facts. Be rational. Be fair. Be objective.
Don’t stifle creativity. Give your team members opportunities to express themselves and to come up with new ideas. Be adventurous. Try new methods and new techniques. Don’t become arrogant or distance yourself from your team.
If your team is failing, who’s to blame? Probably not them!
Leadership is being bold enough to have vision and humble enough to recognise it will take the efforts of many. – Kathy Heasley