Team leaders and supervisors play a huge part in any contact centre or customer facing department. However, the amount of effort allocated to develop and support them in their roles is insufficient.
My suspicions were raised by an article in the ‘Financial Times’ at the start of the year. The article discussed how the Chartered Management Institute are putting more resource into developing the leadership skills of younger people. The initiative was to help fill the 1 million new leadership positions coming up in the UK over the next 10-years. The article implied that effort is needed as organisations have mixed records in supporting leadership development in their own operations.
In some contact centres there is almost an air of desperation among first line supervisory teams. Functions such as human resources, recruitment and project management have been cut. In one company, the Organisational Development team, which worked closely with team leader groups, has been reduced from three to one. At a time when more support is required, the opposite is happening.
Tom Peters writes:
‘Are you, Big Boss a formal student of frontline supervisor behavioural excellence? Do you have the best training programme in the industry for first-line supervisors? Do you formally and rigorously mentor first-line supervisors?’ (‘The Little Big Things’).
Tom goes on: companies should ‘start down the path to Matchless Supervisory Excellence by creating the best imaginable first-line supervisory training programme ASAP.’
I can’t help thinking though that the issue has gone missing on the radars of many senior executives.