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How Do You Grow
Leaders?
GEOFF HARDY
FROM THE BLOG AT GEOFFHARDY1.WORDPRESS.COM
The Problem
Many people within the contact centre industry say that having effective
team leaders is one of the most impor...
Management Implications
A regular observation in contact centres is that
team leaders are the most important people in
the...
Seven Principles to Grow Leaders
1. Selection
2. Training
3. Line managers a
leadership mentors
4. The chance to lead
5. E...
Selection
Adair says that the natural or best way of selection is to know and observe the
person over a period of time and...
Training
New leaders selected from internal candidates do not need technical or process
training
They need to start thinki...
Line Managers as Leadership
Mentors
All new team leaders require one-to-one support from line managers as
leadership mento...
The Chance to Lead
Leaders grow by facing and surmounting even more difficult leadership challenges. If
organisations want...
Education for Leadership
Looking externally for suitable courses and development opportunities for newly
appointed leaders...
A Strategy for
Leadership
Development
Is there sufficient focus on selecting and developing new team leaders?
Are the outc...
Backing from Senior Management
Strategic leaders, at the top of the organisation, have a fundamental role to play
in the w...
Conclusions
Team leader development is clearly a very important part of any contact centre operation
in order to maximise ...
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How Do You Grow Leaders?

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A description of how you can grow leaders in a contact centre or customer service environment based on the work of John Adair

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How Do You Grow Leaders?

  1. 1. How Do You Grow Leaders? GEOFF HARDY FROM THE BLOG AT GEOFFHARDY1.WORDPRESS.COM
  2. 2. The Problem Many people within the contact centre industry say that having effective team leaders is one of the most important factors of a successful operation However, the amount of time that organisations spend developing people in these roles, particularly when they are first appointed, varies greatly in practice In organisations where team leader development is given a low priority, there can be many detrimental impacts on performance.
  3. 3. Management Implications A regular observation in contact centres is that team leaders are the most important people in the centre. However, people in these roles often receive little or no development, either prior to their appointment or when they are in position In many cases the job of the team leader has become more complex. The lack of development of team leaders can therefore have detrimental impacts in a number of areas of contact centre performance; including customer service, performance management, employee morale and staff retention levels Senior managers in contact centres should review the effectiveness of team leader development within their own areas of influence. They can do this by reference to the principles outlined in the presentation and assessing their own contact centres position in each area There is a need for the contact centre to have a clear strategy for team leader development, which is reviewed regularly, to ensure it is consistent with what is required from the role holder.
  4. 4. Seven Principles to Grow Leaders 1. Selection 2. Training 3. Line managers a leadership mentors 4. The chance to lead 5. Education for leadership 6. A strategy for leadership development 7. Backing from senior management From John Adair: How to Grow Leaders
  5. 5. Selection Adair says that the natural or best way of selection is to know and observe the person over a period of time and in a variety of revealing if not testing situations Some key areas to consider when selecting new leaders 1. Leadership and teamwork – including energy, enthusiasm and initiative 2. Decision making - problem solving and thinking skills 3. Communication skills – speaking, listening and writing 4. Self management – including time management skills and the ability to organise oneself 5. Personal qualities – including enthusiasm and integrity John Adair: How to Grow Leaders
  6. 6. Training New leaders selected from internal candidates do not need technical or process training They need to start thinking about leadership and to start understanding the context of their role in the organisation Recently I was thinking of examples of organisations I have seen that are good at training new team leaders. An organisation, which I grew to know well in the ambulance service, has a structured approach to training for newly appointed team leaders. Initially, they send their new team leaders on a short course; two-days over a month or so. The days concentrate on the role of leadership, leadership styles, what is expected from team leaders in the performance management framework and effective communication. Participants also discuss the vision of their organisation, together with some of the core values that are required to be a leader within it. There are plenty of opportunities for team problem solving and role plays. The days are productive and a good starting point.
  7. 7. Line Managers as Leadership Mentors All new team leaders require one-to-one support from line managers as leadership mentors, particularly in fast changing organisations They benefit by discussing the situations they are finding in their day-to-day environment and working through ideas with a more experienced person Mentors do not solve problems; they step forward, when asked, and provide resources and help. They do not hover. They monitor results and measurements, yet serve as a resource to be drawn upon when needed. Cooper. R. and Ayman S. (1997), Executive EQ
  8. 8. The Chance to Lead Leaders grow by facing and surmounting even more difficult leadership challenges. If organisations want to grow leaders – or at least create the conditions necessary for growth – they can do no better than to give potential leaders the chance to lead. John Adair: How to Grow Leaders There is limited evidence when working on consultancy assignments of organisations that implement a successful approach to this issue. Some team leaders gain experience by working on project teams or in other departments as part of their development. They may also undertake some aspects of their line managers role or complete activities like chairing meetings or giving presentations. However, it is rare to find a team leader in this position who has a clear development plan where they understand the immediate goals and underlying objectives.
  9. 9. Education for Leadership Looking externally for suitable courses and development opportunities for newly appointed leaders Team leaders, who have started in their role, benefit from participating in external programmes to build skills and knowledge Programmes typically involve a mix between formal teaching, case studies and discussions about things happening back in their workplace One of the major benefits of the approach is that it brings new team leaders into contact with external parties; people who work in other companies and sectors and external tutors who bring a different perspective on problems and issues.
  10. 10. A Strategy for Leadership Development Is there sufficient focus on selecting and developing new team leaders? Are the outcomes of selection processes built into subsequent development programmes? Are there clear processes to ensure that newly appointed team leaders receive training covering the skills they will need to successfully lead their people? What is the process for mentoring new team leaders? Do line managers effectively mentor their team leaders? Is there a balance at each level in leadership development between training and in role development; such as appropriate project work or secondment? Is there a balance between the part that the company will play in leadership development and the part the individual will play? Are there any opportunities for team leaders to develop outside of the organisation? What is the role of external training providers? Are the services they provide evaluated on a regular basis? How is the overall leadership development strategy evaluated for effectiveness? How do senior managers in the organisation play a part in showing they sponsor the strategy? Does the Organisation have a strategy in place for leadership development? It needs to be a core focus of the Organisation It is too important to be left to the Human Resources Department alone
  11. 11. Backing from Senior Management Strategic leaders, at the top of the organisation, have a fundamental role to play in the whole strategy of growing leaders at all levels The difficulty is, of course, that if the senior management of the company do not back fully the strategy for leadership development, both in words and actions then it becomes much harder to implement Where the top strategic leader is not involved in or committed to the work of developing leadership, in my experience, you may as well forget it. John Adair: How to Grow Leaders
  12. 12. Conclusions Team leader development is clearly a very important part of any contact centre operation in order to maximise performance. However the fact is that organisations differ in how well they develop and grow their team leaders In organisations with a poor track record in this area there can often be high costs caused by ineffective frontline leadership; both in terms of a lower customer experience and lower employee morale There is a need for a robust and effective strategy for team leader development which encompasses training, selection, mentoring, education and the chance to lead as well as the part senior managers themselves play. The strategy needs to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it remains effective and current to the needs of the team leader role in practice.

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