Date Published: January 04, 2023 - Last Updated 82 Days, 2 Hours, 10 Minutes ago
Remember the magnet on your fridge? The one with the Oscar Wilde quote? “Life is far too important a thing to ever talk seriously about.”
While that may be true for life in itself, the actual act of taking charge of your life is too important to not talk seriously about. This is also true about your professional life as a contact center leader.
You may not realize this just yet, but you are enough. You are growing in your confidence and have many accomplishments behind you. You are finding out what leadership looks like and feels like to you – and that is the ultimate achievement in a professional journey. You are celebrating your growth as a leader and the contributions you make.
Know this journey isn’t without its struggles, so to help it be a smoother road, I want to share some advice:
Leadership is not about being the best.
It is about helping others be their best. When those you are responsible for shine, you will also shine. In the beginning, you’re going to be a rock star performer and you’re going to think being the best is how you create the best.
A better way to lead is to learn everything you can about the job, do every aspect you possibly can of the job, and then – as the ultimate leadership achievement – learn how to inspire others in finding their own way to succeed in the role. This will be hard at first, but it gets easier as you come to understand that everyone’s personal and professional journey is different. Each person will bring their own perspective, experience, and strengths into their work; if you focus on developing other people’s natural strengths, your team will be more well-rounded.
Leadership is not about telling others what to do.
It is about helping those you lead trust you and walk alongside you. You will want to (and you will) give advice whenever you think you can save someone time or discomfort from learning a lesson, but people often learn the most when they try something out for themselves.
Be willing to ask tough questions, and be willing to try new (and sometimes scary) things. It’s okay to let people learn from their mistakes. In fact, you will become a master of encouraging others to try things and allowing them to safely fail. Don’t beat yourself up over it if you fail from time to time. Learn from your mistakes and commit to being more intentional when you interact with your crew. Consider active listening: there wouldn’t be so many learning materials out there targeted to improving listening if we were all naturally great at it.
Leadership is not about being the same as every other leader.
You were not born to be someone else. No matter how much you think it can help you get ahead, trying to be like other leaders in your industry simply comes off as inauthentic. From time to time other leaders will give you well-intentioned advice, recommending you try to assimilate or to replicate how your peers present themselves. Hear them out, but don’t let it lead you to question your value. Sure, you can attempt to dress and speak like your peers but you’ll feel lacking on the inside because you’re not leveraging the genuine, unique leadership characteristics that make you you. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t worry too much about being different from other professionals. Just be you.
On a lighter note, you’ll find ways to make work both fulfilling and enjoyable for your team. Yes, it is possible to achieve great things and have fun, too. Don’t lose sight of how important this is for those who you lead – your passion in life can generate enthusiasm in others.
Those in positions of power who see you and recognize your potential will be willing to invest their time in your growth. Be warned: you may get impatient and there will be tough days, but you will be a better leader for having pushed through it all. Nothing, good or bad, lasts forever.
I’m already so proud of the leader you’ll become. You are up for the challenge; accept the offer when it comes, and continue to work to be a better version of yourself every single day.
P.S. Be sure to find someone (a friend or confident) who will take the time to tell you “it will all be okay” when you need to hear it.