5 Exemplary Leadership Qualities

Leadership

A few weeks ago, on October 13, 2017, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made his first official visit to Mexico where he met with Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto. It was an opportunity to emphasize their shared commitment to a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement that benefits Canadians, Mexicans, and Americans alike.

In his address to the Mexican Senate, Prime Minister Trudeau underlined the importance of progressive trade and modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement for the benefit of all three partners – Canada, Mexico, and the United States. He also emphasized that Canada and Mexico recognize the urgency of fighting against climate change and that it cannot be left for next generations to solve.

I’ve always been impressed by Trudeau’s leadership style. He often practices transparency, accessibility, openness, and a willingness to collaborate – all great qualities of a leader.

Regardless of your politics, I’d like to share a few key lessons we can learn from Prime Minister Trudeau’s approach to leadership originally written by Fast Company. Here are five of them.

1 – Build a Diverse Team

Trudeau gathered the most brilliant people and challenged them to find real solutions. Having a diverse group of people in your team will lead to creative thinking and problem-solving. After all, progress and team learning is only possible when there’s a willingness to engage with people with different views. A homogenous team stifles creativity and information processing.

2 – Be Open-minded and Have Real Conversations

Be willing to engage with people who disagree with you and consider their views. Transparent, genuine dialogue should be standard in any work environment. This helps build relationships between leaders and staff. Especially when employees transition to leadership roles.

It is too common for leaders to make decisions before hearing what their team has to say. In order to be effective and productive, the dialogue has to start with leaders listening, then engaging, and only then making a decision.

3 – Increase Your EQ

Emotional Intelligence is becoming more valuable. Trudeau has disrupted what good leadership looks like. He has an ability to parse diverse threads, read situations, motivations, and personalities, and respond in real time. A high EQ helps leaders be better communicators, reduce their anxiety and stress, defuse conflicts, improve relationships, empathize with others, and effectively overcome life’s challenges.

4 – Don’t Focus on Perfection, Allow Yourself to be Vulnerable

Trudeau was accused of manhandling another member of Parliament. Many felt it was jarringly out of character from the open and positive style Canadians had come to expect from him. However, the widely criticized incident had no impact on his reputation. That was largely thanks to Trudeau’s just-as-widely discussed apology–actually, his series of apologies–that came immediately, without qualification, and struck many as sincere.

Leaders make mistakes and everyone knows it; it is important that we own up to it and apologize clearly and immediately. Be sincere. Justin Trudeau’s apology was different than perhaps what we’ve expected from past, ‘tough’ leaders.  It was refreshing.

5 – Have a Real Life

Simply put, leaders need to remain flexible and sensitive to work-life issues. Give your team–and yourself–the leeway to work in the way that works for the rest of your lives.

What leadership qualities do you value most?

Using Motivation to Create an Adaptable Team

Motivation

I recently stumbled upon an article on designing for motivation and it got me thinking about the effect I have with the learning content I create for our contact center staff. I’m responsible for getting people to do what we need them to do to keep our business going. Starting from new hire on-boarding to ongoing training and new process implementation. But expecting someone to change the way they do things by simply delivering new training or information would not be effective without motivation.

Motivation is a personal experience for wanting to do something for reasons one believes to be valuable.

People like to know the reasons why they need to do something differently.

Our contact center agents have experienced many changes in the past few years both in our department as well as the entire organization. We moved offices twice, each time with drastic working environment changes, and lost multiple employees in the process. Our department went through several on-boarding and off-boarding of clients and the services we provide, including hours of operation changes and leadership staff. Although these were rough adjustments, our focus was clear, take care of our patients.

Surprisingly, with each of these changes, we discovered our team was quickly learning how to adapt to change. It did take a while to get to this point but with this experience we found a successful strategy that kept our team motivated, being transparent with the progress of our department goals.

If you’re a UX Designer, Learning Content Developer, Trainer, Supervisor, Manager, or lead, think about what motivates your team. Consider discussing your team goals next time you have a huddle and ask how each person may impact that goal.

Be a successful motivation designer by discovering what your team finds meaningful, then work together to integrate that into reaching your department’s goals.

If you want to read more about what it means to be a Motivation Designer – check out Habitry’s article We’re All Motivators.

 

5 Tips for Training Contact Center Agents

People Development, Training

Recent studies suggest that 66 percent of customers, when calling a contact center, expect to speak to someone that is friendly. They find the agent demeanor more important than fast resolution or shorter hold times. How can you ensure your agents provide warm, helpful support over the phone? Provide them with clear guidance and ongoing customer service training and feedback.

Follow these tips to help your agents exceed customer satisfaction:

1 – Start your new employees on the right path

Demonstrate your dedication to your agents by providing them with clear documentation around objectives and procedures. Agents want to know what’s expected of them and how they can find information if they need it. Invest time in an internal knowledge base with resources like call scripts, job aids, and easily accessible training videos.

2 – Shorten the learning curve

Equip your agents with easy-to-use tools. They have a lot to learn about your services, products, and customers. Equip them with tools that streamline workflows, limits repetitive tasks, and make customer information readily accessible. Having to learn various systems and programs can extend training time and easily discourage new employees. Invest in phone support solution that’s integrated with other support channels that make customer record finding a breeze. This will save your agents loads of time.

3 – Pair them with veteran employees

Exposure to agents that exemplify a positive service interaction will set the bar. Give them time to shadow these agents or listen to call recordings.

4 – Don’t wait to offer constructive feedback

As soon as agents start taking calls, you’ll need to find a way to identify areas for improvement and provide constructive feedback. Many call center software comes with a call monitoring feature allowing you to listen to calls, even when your agents are remote. Don’t wait too long to provide feedback. Learning is most effective when they have something recent to reflect to. Be sure not to overlook this.

5 – Provide support through tough calls

It’s easy for new agents to be discouraged after experiencing tough calls. Reassure them by having their backs as they learn the ropes. Longer calls indicate an agent is dealing with a tough issue. Monitor these calls through your dashboard and be readily available in case support is needed. Provide your agents with an easy way to communicate with you. I have found an Instant Messaging tool to be very successful in contact center environments.

Your agents should be focusing on customer interactions rather than workflows. Customers can feel when agents are comfortable and confident, and you’ll see the difference in customer satisfaction.