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How Amazing Team Leaders Communicate To Build Deeper Rapport

Marc Carriere

Presented By: Marc Carriere

Do you find it hard dealing with all the different personality types in your call centre, whether you’re dealing with Team Members, other Team Leaders and especially your manager?

It can be really frustrating dealing with different personality types and experiencing miscommunication because some people don’t seem to be really listening or understanding what we’re trying to get across!

Here are some great communication tips you can use to build incredible rapport with the all the different types of people you deal with in your call center everyday!

In today’s Call Centers, employers aren’t just looking for professional expertise or experience in Team Leaders, they’re also looking for other qualities like character traits for building rapport with customers, team members and other Team Leaders and interpersonal and communication skills that help leaders steer teams effectively.

Developing these traits and learning these skills will help you stand out and advance your career faster because you’re able to build positive relationships with people who quickly learn they can trust you and be open to your ideas and suggestions.

Building positive relationships is critical to becoming an amazing Team Leader. However, despite your best efforts sometimes things go wrong.

And, when they do the question is: Can you still maintain rapport with unhappy team members, other team leaders or your manager? Yes, you can - the key is how you communicate with them!

For example, think about those times when your team didn’t hit their KPIs. When that happens, you know at some point there is going to be a discussion about it with your manager, right?

Here are some ideas about how you can prepare for and manage that conversation.

Firstly, be very honest and clear with yourself about why your team didn’t hit its KPIs, and don’t look for excuses!

If you offer up excuses you’ll only look defensive, unaccountable or even unaware of what’s going on with your team. That’s the last thing you want people thinking.

Identify the real reasons why your team missed and ask yourself a few questions starting off with: How close were we from hitting our target?

If you were only off by a little, you can think about the things you need to do with your team to make sure they hit the target next time. It may just involve some simple coaching or training tweaks to get back on track.

Then ask yourself: What percentage of my team fell short? 

You have consistently strong performers and others that aren’t. And it’s really important to recognize the achievements of those that hit their targets to make sure they want to do it again and again - even if the team misses its target!

Ask yourself: Who fell short, and why? 

If a few of the team didn’t deliver, you can narrow down the people you need to work with to get them performing to at least minimal levels.

Think about why they fell short - Do they need more coaching or training on their call skills, product knowledge or processes?

Once you’ve figured who needs help and where they need it, develop a simple coaching plan on how you’re going to cover these short comings, and who would be the best person to help them with it.

If some team members need an ‘attitude adjustment’ be honest with yourself about that and figure out what their core problem is and how you should deal with those situations; and if you may need help from your manager or HR to help you correct poor behaviors.

When it’s time to have the ‘conversation’ with your manager… here are a few ways you can go:

If you don’t regularly meet one-on-one with your manager each week - be proactive and ask them for a minute to chat about your team’s performance.

But before you do… be sure to prepare a one page list of the things that went wrong, and the steps you’ll be taking to make sure your team hits their target next time. This will help you make sure you cover everything you want to discuss.

And, remember - you don’t want to come across as defensive by listing all the things that went wrong as ‘excuses’!

So, create your coaching plan in a positive way that demonstrates you’re accountable for your team’s performance; aware of what went wrong and what you’re going to do to address it and open to getting help.

When you start your chat thank your manager for their time and mention you’ve been thinking about why the team didn’t hit their target as you hand them a copy of the coaching plan you’ve created. By doing this you’ll be perceived as proactive and on top of the needs of your team.

Not to mention, it will be easier to remember all the points you wanted to bring up, and if your conversation gets cut short. At least your manager has a list of what you feel needs to be corrected and how you intend to do it!

If you regularly meet one-on-one with your manager each week, be prepared as mentioned earlier and if they start the meeting mentioning the poor team performance - don’t interrupt them, let them finish everything they have to say.

When they’ve finished, respond by reiterating their views to show that you’ve listened and understand their point of view. For example, you can simply say: You’re right, we didn’t deliver last week.

Then follow up with something like this: I’ve been thinking about what happened and prepared a list of what I think went wrong and a coaching plan on how I’ll correct things, and I’d really like your thoughts on this.

If your manager is the take charge type and kicks right in before you can get started; let them tell you what they think before suggesting any solutions and when they’ve finished you can say, as you hand them a copy of your action plan: 

Those are really good points. I’ll take them onboard and I have some ideas to help us hit our target next time that I’d like to get your thoughts on.

Now, when dealing with your team members, if you want to get the best results from them you need to be assertive.

And, let’s be clear - assertiveness is not about bulldozing your way through by disregarding people’s feelings. The key is learning how to express your views honestly and respectfully!

For example, when having a team huddle before the shift starts and you need to share some new development or one coming up, be sure to also explain why you need them to do certain things and how that would help the team and organization.

In today’s call centers team members really want to know the why behind anything that affects their jobs. Long gone are the days where you just told them what to and expect them to blindly follow your directions.

So, when sharing information always be open to their suggestions and always accept responsibility for your decisions, otherwise, how will your team members believe in what you say?

Obviously, it’s important for you to build rapport with each of your team members individually and others you work with too, and one way to do this is by understanding the way they prefer to process information.

For example, if they are a Visual Person, use graphs, pictures and videos to help them visualize your message.

If you’re communicating with Auditory People let them hear your message through face-to-face meetings and phone calls.

If they are a Feeling Person, get your message across by sharing personal experiences or experiences of others that speak to the point you want to get across.

Other communication tactics you can use to influence team members to get your message across effectively to get the outcomes you want or manage change are Push and Pull Influencing Styles.

Depending on the situation, you can use one or more of these influencing Styles.

One push style is to use Logic pointing out flaws in their thinking. However, when using this push style, be sure to fully hear them out first (you don’t want to get into ridiculous arguments); and only after you’ve heard them out, offer them logical solutions that highlight the best way for them to get the outcomes they want.

Another push style is the old Carrot and Stick. Show your team members the reward they’ll get if they comply and highlight the potential downside if they don’t.

And, I don’t mean for you to do this in a threatening manner, at all. Every action has an upside and a downside for doing it. Just help them see the benefits that are important to them and the consequences they want to avoid so they can make an informed decision on which way they should move forward.

Pull Styles are consultative styles which are good to use if your team members are committed and capable of offering ideas. With this style you engage them to move forward by using the big picture such as shared values, mission and life goals.

As I mentioned earlier, today’s employers and managers value Team Leaders who are able to grow personally and professionally.

This gives them the confidence they need to give a Team Leader greater responsibilities and challenges to help them grow professionally.

So, if you want to be, or continue to be an amazing Team Leader it’s important to effectively manage your self-development, and the first thing to do is identifying your career goals, then get started continuing your education and training to build on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.