The Importance of a Leader in Frontline Performance, It is easy to underestimate the value of a good leader in the workplace. This is because when it is done right, there are few kinks in the system that the leader seems to be managing effortlessly. Almost as if all of the moving parts of the workplace function independently. It only becomes apparent how vital management is when things start to go south. Then light is shed upon the indispensable role of the leader in frontline performance.
Hold on. Exactly what makes a good leader? And what is the ideal role of an effective leader? Those are two questions that need to be posed before it is possible to effectively implement leadership. Below we will explore the answers to these and other questions.
The Role of Management
Many people seem to see management as a downward force and exhausting. Imposing the will of the higher-ups in the company upon grunt workers. While management certainly has a role to play in implementing company-wide policy and directing work flow, the truth is a lot more complicated. The nature of the workplace is changing, and today’s managers are not only directing workers, but supporting, teaching, and listening to them.
However, it would also be misleading to say that a manager is simply an auxiliary force to frontline employees. Frontline supervisors walk the complicated line of middle management, which means they are required to have the planning and organizational skills of leadership while still having practical knowledge and skills in the frontline work that they are managing.
The true role of frontline managers is nuanced, and learning to balance the numerous responsibilities involved is a necessary skill. So how does a contact center leader go about finding the right frontline supervisors for their workplace? The answer can be a bit complicated.
Importance of a Leader in Frontline Performance in Promoting High-Achievers
The traditional way of moving employees up the ranks of a company is as follows: An entry-level worker shows skill. Secondly dedication and promise in their position. Also once enough time has passed to prove trustworthiness. Lastly the employee moves up one rung along the ladder of management. If they excel in this position, they often move up once again, until they reach some sort of barrier to upward mobility.
The big problem with this model is that it fails to take into account the specific talents and interests of each employee. While some exceptional frontline workers make great managers, others lack the specific skills necessary to leadership. In fact, it is possible to rob your company of all the best frontline workers by promoting them to leadership positions. This is where squander their skills as a frontline worker. This cycle often leads to workers promoted into managerial positions that they are not ready for, and may not even enjoy.
This is where a great leader comes in. By cultivating relationships with frontline workers and understanding each one’s strengths and weaknesses, it is possible to delegate responsibilities appropriately, and promote according to potential instead of simply productivity. A truly outstanding frontline leader not only observes employees in an effort to understand them. They ask questions and uses active listening to understand the true needs of each individual.
Traits of an Effective Leader
Trying to evaluate someone’s potential effectiveness as a leader can be a challenging task. Luckily there are a few telltale signs that you can always keep in mind when hiring and promoting potential supervisors. Here are a few of the most important traits:
Emotionally connected leadership is one of the most central elements of a great team. While the traditional view of leadership (and of business in general) tends to ignore the importance of emotion. It is becoming increasingly apparent that empathy is among the foremost traits of a great leader. Empathy can directly help with the task of intuiting strengths, weaknesses, desires, and aversions. Which in turn allows leaders to make better decisions when it comes to hiring and promoting.
Adaptability is another trait common among all great leaders. It is easy to get into a routine when things are working smoothly. But what distinguishes a good leader from a great one is the ability to switch tactics at the turn of a dime as situations arise and change. This is particularly true in the fast-paced world of the past decade. Technology has been rapidly changing the face of the contact center industry.
Finally, great leaders are masters of multitasking, delegation, and coordination. This is one of the main things that makes them distinct from entry-level employees, who are trained to do a small set of related tasks. Although they may complete these tasks efficiently and effectively, this does not necessarily mean that they are ready for the level of engagement that is necessary among leadership. It is up to leaders to feel out these nuances and make choices accordingly.
- Good leadership skills lead to great frontline performance.- Click to Tweet
- This is why leadership is important for frontline performance.- Click to Tweet
- Your contact center’s performance depends on leadership.- Click to Tweet
Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.