15 Essential Habits of Amazing Contact Center Team Leaders


15 Essential Habits of Amazing Contact Center Team Leaders

Becoming an amazing team leader takes a lot of work, and it’s certainly not always easy. But, the surprising thing is it isn’t the hardest thing in the world either—especially if you learn and adopt the positive habits that top-performing team leaders consistently apply every day!

Over the past 35 years, I’ve been involved with call centers either as a call center owner, consulting with businesses, or coaching and mentoring managers and team leaders. I’ve seen the best habits in action that amazing team leaders use to successfully nurture, coach and lead winning teams!

And I promise: If you learn these habits and effectively apply them every day, in a few quick months, your bosses and team members will recognize you as a truly amazing team leader.

Habit 1: Knowing Their Numbers

Amazing team leaders are obsessive when it comes to knowing their team metrics. They know these numbers are how they are measured every hour, day, week and month, so they keep track of where their team is in relation to their key performance indicators (KPIs) and sales targets—every day and every hour of the day.

Habit 2: Setting Expectations

Amazing team leaders always remember that they are leader, coach and mentor. They set the direction and expectations for their team and individual members early and often. They set expectations on key performance metrics and other areas like work behaviors and even dress code.

They also set expectations on what the team will get from them, be it coaching, extra training, or being a cheerleader and celebrating team and individual achievements.

Habit 3: Walking the Talk

They handle calls each week to stay sharp and on top of any issues the team may be facing to show the team they’re invested in its success. They know that taking or making calls earns the team’s respect, and also helps them in other ways, because if the team knows their team leader can do the job, they’re more open to being coached and listening to suggestions and tips.

Habit 4: Clearing Roadblocks

Amazing team leaders find out what is getting in the way of their team members hitting their targets and doing a great job. They know it’s their job to try to address these issues and fix them.

And for any issues they can’t fix, they let the team know why because they know the team will accept an issue once they know why it can’t be fixed.

Habit 5: Helping Team Members Be Great

Amazing team leaders remember how scary it was and how unsure they were when they first started on the phones—how much there was to learn and take on board. They remember how they needed reassurance and support from their team leader, and how they wanted and needed constant feedback, especially in the beginning.

So amazing team leaders evaluate their team members’ efforts often and give corrective feedback and reassurance to help team members become really good at their jobs.

Habit 6: Effectively Onboarding New Members

When a new team member joins the team, the first thing amazing team leaders do is get feedback from the training team to get an understanding of what the new-hire was good at and what help is still needed.

They also want to check on the new team member’s attitude, their attendance, how they participated in training and how they interacted with others to get a sense of what still needs to be worked on.

And amazing team leaders ease new-hires into the role by having them sit with an experienced agent for a few shifts to get comfortable with the job by watching and listening to how the job is done. They provide new team members with a safe place to ask questions or bring up any concerns they may have regarding the job, and to make connections with others in the team.

Habit 7: Getting Extra Help When Needed

When amazing team leaders notice a gap in certain call activity, procedures or processes, they look for help from the training or quality assurance teams by having them listen to extra calls or by giving extra training to the team to help them fill the gap.

Habit 8: Managing Absenteeism

Amazing team leaders work on absenteeism every day, seeing it as a trip wire, warning them there may be a team member who is struggling, unhappy or thinking of leaving.

Apart from being concerned for their team member’s welfare and their duty of care to them, they see this as a great opportunity to fix a problem early before someone decides to leave. These leaders understand that frequent absences often may be related to a more serious problem that can affect the whole team, so they want to find out what’s going on and, if they can, fix it as soon as possible.

Habit 9: Showing They Care

Amazing team leaders demonstrate a high degree of emotional intelligence by constantly showing that they care about their team members by being genuinely interested in their lives inside and outside the workplace.

Habit 10: Recognizing Good Effort

Amazing team leaders know that genuine recognition and appreciation for hard work, even if someone just missed out on a target, is very rewarding, and it can be as simple as a pat on the back.

Habit 11: Keeping Their Team Close

For the better part of their shifts, amazing team leaders manage by walking around—being available to answer questions, give tips or quick training sessions, and fixing any problems that come up.

They know that it’s more efficient and easier to be accessible by being nearby, because when someone really needs help, they need it right away!

Habit 12: Being Prepared

Amazing team leaders work to schedule for the upcoming week, and follow their schedule.

They build their schedule with the weekly activities they know come up every week, including regular meetings with their boss and other meetings. They schedule their admin tasks, such as answering emails, reading and/or updating reports, outside of peak calling times.

They especially schedule time to listen to recorded calls and coaching sessions to provide corrective feedback!

Habit 13: Efficiently Running Pre-shift Meetings

Amazing team leaders always have quick, positive meetings for five to 10 minutes before a shift begins to share where the team is tracking against KPIs and targets, and share any information on changes or updates to processes, systems or products the team needs to know about. They also use this time to hand out award certificates and provide recognition.

Habit 14: Learning Why a Team Member Quit

Considering all the time and effort they’ve invested in their team members, amazing team leaders really want to know the reason why someone quit and whether it could have been avoided. They follow-up exit interview feedback to correct the issues and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Habit 15: Investing In Their Personal Development

Amazing team leaders want to enhance their skills and take advantage of any training opportunity or leadership seminars the company provides. They also further their personal development by getting their hands on as many books, articles or videos to expand their skills.

They speak with other team leaders and senior leaders to find out what books, courses or training materials they would recommend, and join online call center communities and call center associations to learn more and improve their skills.

The quicker a team leader adopts these habits and applies them every day, the faster their team’s performance will improve. And soon, they’ll be recognized as an amazing team leader who effectively coaches, nurtures and leads a great team—someone worthy of greater responsibilities and promotion!

Marc Carriere

Marc Carriere is Managing Director of Marketing Tactics. With 35 years managing teams that have won three Silver and three Gold “Ardy” awards, consulting with businesses mentoring and coaching their call center managers and team leaders, and having owned a call center, Marc is well aware of the difficulties call centers face consistently meeting their targets and KPIs.