The Manager's Nightmare
If you’re going to lose sleep, let it be for a good reason; let that reason be something that, when addressed, will positively affect other areas of concern within your team. Working in a call center is one of the toughest jobs on earth. Each client has a unique need as well as a unique personality. The Call Center Representative must be prepared to creatively deal with each caller, meeting, to the best of her ability, whatever need is presented.
The call center manager must cope with not only the personalities and issues presented by her direct reports, but with those of the customers and upper management. The Call Center Manager is a first line manager and has several above her to whom she must report. Since the call center is an entry level position, his direct reports are often individuals who are working for the first time with no idea of how to make it in the workplace.
You may have a team of great producers, but if they lack strength within, they will ultimately fail in other areas. One may be able to get off the phone in record time, but he then has his phone on do not disturb for longer than appropriate because he is second-guessing everything he said. Another may save the company money, but her survey ratings are low because she takes personally the negative things that are said to her, and it shows in her voice.
The One Thing…that should keep you up at night, if anything, is…How do I improve the Emotional Intelligence of my team?
What is Emotional Intelligence?
EI is; awareness of one’s own feelings and the feelings of others, and the ability to use those feelings to guide your thoughts and actions.
Healthy team members keep their emotions in check. They are aware that the customer is not upset at them, but at the system they represent.
How do I help my team?
First, you must understand and embody the five components of emotional intelligence. Everything begins at the head. As a manager, you are the head of your team. Know and embody the following:
a. Understand your feelings and those of the people around you.
b. Understand the impact you will have on others if you act upon any negative feelings you have.
c. Know your limits; say NO when necessary.
d. Know your weaknesses and limit activity in those areas working instead on your strengths, (meaning your technical/professional weaknesses, we should always strengthen our emotional weaknesses).
i. In North America, we are taught to work on our weaknesses in order to make them stronger. This can lead to mediocrity in all areas as we have not worked on perfecting our strengths. Self-aware individuals work on their strengths in order to be experts in those areas leaving their weak areas to other experts.
a. Channel negative feelings into activities that will not affect others
b. Direct your words and actions
c. Build and maintain strong relationships
d. Get along with others, even those with low EIQs
a. Be self-motivated
a. Don’t only understand the feelings of others, empathize with those feelings and relate to other individuals, particularly those who are suffering, in a way that can actually help alleviate some of the suffering.
i. Empathy empowers deeper relationships.
5. Social Skills
a. Know when to walk away.
b. Know when to speak and when not to speak.
c. Use words that are appropriate to the situation.
Once you are a leader who uses these skills, you can begin to teach them to your team through words of encouragement, emails, even EI training. Be a leader, not a boss.