What Is the Right Leadership Style for a Call Center?
Starting a leadership journey can be a crucial turning point in a person’s career. This journey often involves adopting a distinct leadership style. Numerous things, including personality qualities, past experiences, and the company’s particular needs, might have an impact.
According to these aspects, the appropriate leadership style can vary from call center company to company. So, it is tough to say what leadership style suits a particular call center. Most of the time, multiple leadership styles will work well for the call center.
Although each virtual executive assistant is different, there are eight typical leadership philosophies in the workplace. Understanding these patterns can help with efficient management, especially in dynamic settings like call centers.
This article will discuss the eight most popular leadership styles and offer examples, an overview, and pros and cons. Moreover, you will get:
- Some unavoidable leadership skills for call center
- 5 tips to be more effective as a call center leader
Let’s jump into the deep.
1. Servant Leader
Effectiveness: Most Likely to Be Effective
Servant Leader prioritizes the needs and growth of their team members above all else. This leadership style is rooted in a selfless approach, where the leader is a facilitator. He also empowers individuals to reach their full potential.
The Servant Leader strongly emphasizes collaboration, empathy, and fostering a supportive environment. They value agents’ opinions, exhibit empathy, and promote group decision-making.
- Encourages team collaboration and a sense of community.
- Enhances employee satisfaction and morale.
- Promotes individual growth and development.
- Builds solid interpersonal relationships within the team.
- It may require retraining
- Decision-making can be perceived as slow in certain situations.
- May face challenges in assertiveness and making tough calls.
- Success relies heavily on the team’s alignment with the leader’s values.
A fundamental change in conventional leadership styles can be seen in the Servant Leadership style. Servant leaders change the norm from authoritative leaders who exercise power from above by prioritizing the needs of their team. This method views leadership as an obligation to support and encourage people rather than a position of strength.
At its core, a Servant Leader catalyzes collaboration and community within a call center team. They actively listen to team members, understand their concerns, and empathize with their challenges. The leader tries to foster an environment where every voice is valued. This style is a deliberate departure from autocratic decision-making.
Moreover, the Servant Leader is a champion of individual growth. This involves recognizing team members’ professional aspirations and actively supporting their journey toward those CSAT goals. The leader becomes a mentor, guiding each team member to unlock their full potential.
- Time-consuming decision-making process
- Requires a shift in mindset
- Risk of being taken advantage of
- Difficulty in balancing service and leadership
- Potential for decreased respect or authority
- Resistance to change
- Need for ongoing development and support
2. Democratic Leader
Effectiveness: Likely to Be Effective
Also Called: Participative Leader
Democratic or participative leadership is a style where leaders involve their team members in decision-making. It encourages open communication. It also values each team member’s input, accelerating the sense of inclusivity and shared responsibility.
- Enhances team engagement and commitment.
- Utilizes diverse perspectives for more robust decision-making.
- Fosters a positive and collaborative work environment.
- Promotes individual growth through involvement in decision processes.
- Increase the call center CSAT performance.
- Decision-making may take more time.
- Not suitable for situations requiring quick, decisive action.
- Potential for conflicts arising from differing opinions.
- It’s not appropriate for a remote team.
The participative leadership style functions well when agents exhibit above-average CSAT performance and are skilled and engaged. The participative style is likely to work well for call centers with any degree of CSAT performance because it is proven to assist in boosting agent engagement, job satisfaction, and CSAT.
This approach is not just about making decisions collectively; it’s about empowering individuals. Strong communication abilities enable this leader to involve agents in CSAT goal-setting and decision-making processes that impact them.
Additionally, a participatory leader gives agents the tools to perform better and meet CSAT goals. They also accept helpful criticism and direction to help them stay on course.
Participatory leaders also collaborate with agents and communicate frequently and constructively. Therefore, participative leadership is the best approach for many managers and agents.
In the meantime, this leadership approach may not work well with inexperienced agents or those who need to perform better to obtain high FCR or CSAT. This approach can be complex if a leader needs to decide fast, and there needs to be more expertise among the agents or staff.
- Balancing inclusivity with efficiency in decision-making.
- Addressing conflicts arising from differing opinions.
- Navigating situations requiring quick and decisive action.
3. Transformational Leader
Effectiveness: Occasionally Effective
A Transformational Leader inspires and motivates their team to achieve extraordinary outcomes by establishing a sense of purpose and excitement.
This leadership style goes beyond managing day-to-day tasks. It aims to transform individuals and organizations, encouraging continuous growth and innovation.
- Inspires and motivates team members to grow.
- Encourages creativity and innovative thinking.
- Builds a strong sense of shared vision and purpose.
- Enhance a positive and dynamic organizational culture.
- Overemphasis on vision may lead to more attention to day-to-day operations.
- High expectations may result in stress for some team members.
- The continuous need for innovation may lead to burnout.
A transformational leader emerges as a beacon of change and inspiration. This leadership style transcends the conventional managerial role. It aims not just for organizational success but for a profound transformation of individuals within the team.
A transformational leader paints a compelling vision of the future. It instills a sense of purpose that extends beyond daily tasks. Furthermore, these types of leaders frequently possess solid morals and principles. Additionally, agents are motivated by this leadership style to act in ways that advance the common good as opposed to their self-interest.
With this approach, a CSAT call center in the 3rd or 4th quartile can go up to the first quartile. Regrettably, most cold calling service provider companies’ transformation initiatives fall short of goals or are unsuccessful. Because it is challenging to transform a call center that performs poorly in terms of customer experience (CX), the transformational method is, therefore, only occasionally successful for continuously raising CSAT.
Successful transformative leaders are frequently seen as charismatic role models others aspire to follow. Furthermore, a successful transformational leader understands the need for a well-executed business plan to achieve excellent customer experience and increased agent engagement.
- Balancing visionary goals with day-to-day operations.
- Addressing stress and burnout among team members.
- Sustaining innovation without overwhelming the team.
4. Transactional Leader
Effectiveness: Occasionally Effective
Also Called: Result-Based Leader
A leader that employs the transactional leadership style uses incentives and punishments to get the best possible performance out of their agents.
This leader focuses on maintaining organizational order and stability through a structured and goal-oriented approach. This leadership style operates on the premise of a transparent chain of command.
- Clear structure and organization.
- Defined expectations for performance.
- Efficient in stable and routine environments.
- Quick decision-making process.
- Limited flexibility in adapting to change.
- This may lead to a need for more creativity and innovation.
- Relies heavily on extrinsic motivation.
- Potential for strained employee relations.
In call centers, Transactional Leadership demonstrates a systematic, result-driven approach characterized by clarity and organization. They often possess a directive and action-oriented style. Agents know how they will be rewarded for reaching the leader’s goals.
This leadership style suits the average or lower-performing call centers for CX delivery and agent engagement. Nonetheless, the transactional leadership style can be helpful and is the best option for call centers that perform in the 3rd or 4th quartile of CSAT and wish to enhance CX delivery rapidly.
Sometimes, transaction leadership seems similar to autocratic or strict command-control style. Some people believe that transactional leadership is the appropriate leadership style for the call center. The reasons behind this transaction leadership include a standardized operating process to deliver a consistent CX.
This leadership style can function effectively if there are genuine rewards and gritted, not threatened, consequences for weak performance. Transactional managers use agent discipline and tips to manage daily operations.
- Adapting to change in dynamic environments.
- Fostering a culture of creativity and innovation.
- Addressing potential strains on employee motivation and relations.
5. Commanding Leadership
Effectiveness: Typically Ineffective
Also Called: Autocratic Leadership
Commanding Leadership is a directive and authoritative style where the leader issues clear orders and expects swift compliance from team members. In this approach, decision-making authority is centralized, and the leader controls agents.
- Efficient decision-making process.
- Clear direction for the team.
- Quick implementation of directives.
- Maintains order and discipline.
- Limited space for input from team members.
- This may lead to decreased morale.
- Potential for stifled creativity and innovation.
- It may create a hierarchical and rigid work environment.
Commanding leadership is a decisive and authoritative style where the leader assumes a pivotal role akin to a guiding force. In this model, the leader issues clear directives and expects prompt compliance. They create a structured and disciplined work environment.
This approach is convenient in scenarios demanding swift decisions and immediate action. The essence of Commanding Leadership lies in its top-down organizational structure, streamlining decision-making and execution.
The leader takes charge, providing explicit instructions for the team to follow. While efficiency is a plus point of this style, it’s crucial to acknowledge the potential trade-offs. The limited space for team input may impede creativity and dampen individual motivation.
Striking a delicate balance is essential to ensure that the authoritative direction provided by commanding leadership remains effective without compromising the team’s engagement and innovative potential.
- Managing decreased morale among team members.
- Navigating resistance to a top-down approach.
- Fostering creativity in a directive environment.
6. Hands-off Leadership
Effectiveness: Typically Ineffective
Also Called: Laissez-Faire Leader
Hands-off or Laissez-Faire Leadership is characterized by a minimalistic leader, allowing team members significant autonomy and decision-making freedom. In this style, the leader is a facilitator rather than a director, trusting the team to manage their tasks independently.
- Fosters creativity and innovation.
- Encourages individual and team autonomy.
- Promotes a relaxed and flexible work environment.
- This can lead to increased job satisfaction.
- Potential need for direction and focus.
- Challenges in maintaining team cohesion.
- This may result in slower decision-making.
- Requires a highly skilled and self-motivated team.
Hands-off Leadership, often referred to as Laissez-Faire Leadership, is a management approach that emphasizes autonomy and minimal interference. In this leadership style, the leader assumes a facilitative role.
They provide a framework for team members to navigate their responsibilities independently. It’s a leadership philosophy that thrives in environments where creativity and self-motivation are paramount.
This approach is rooted in trust, allowing team members to make decisions and contribute to the creative process. Hands-off Leadership is particularly effective when working with a skilled, self-motivated team that seeks independence.
However, the dynamic nature of the Hands-off approach requires a delicate balance. While it can lead to increased job satisfaction and creativity, there is a risk of potential challenges. They can maintain focus and decision-making speed. Successful implementation hinges on cultivating a culture that embraces both freedom and responsibility.
- Maintaining a cohesive team without direct oversight.
- Balancing autonomy with the need for occasional guidance.
- Navigating potential conflicts arising from differing work styles.
7. Strategic Leadership
Effectiveness: Most Likely to Be Effective
Strategic Leadership is a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach. In this leadership style, leaders align organizational goals with strategic actions. Leaders also focus on long-term objectives, anticipating and navigating challenges.
They inspire a shared vision among team members. It involves a deep understanding of the business area and the ability to make decisions contributing to the virtual assistant’s overall success.
- Aligns organizational goals with strategic actions.
- Fosters a shared vision among team members.
- Encourages adaptability and resilience.
- Enhances decision-making based on a long-term perspective.
- Requires a high level of strategic thinking and foresight.
- Implementation may take time, delaying immediate results.
- Success hinges on accurate analysis of the business environment.
- May encounter resistance to change from team members.
Strategic Leadership is a visionary and proactive approach to guiding organizations toward sustainable success. It involves an intricate blend of foresight, adaptability, and effective decision-making. Leaders in this capacity function as architects of the future.
Strategic Leadership requires a profound understanding of the business area. Leaders continuously analyze market dynamics, assess risks, and make decisions that resonate beyond immediate outcomes.
Strategic Leadership is comparable to a chess master who responds to the board’s current state but anticipates and prepares for future moves. While offering the potential for sustainable growth and resilience, it demands a high level of strategic acumen and the delicate balance of immediate needs with enduring objectives.
So, successful implementation propels organizations into a position of strength amidst an ever-evolving business landscape.
- Resistance to change among team members.
- Ensuring accurate analysis of the business environment.
- Balancing short-term and long-term goals effectively.
8. Conscious Leadership
Effectiveness: Most Likely to Be Effective
Conscious leadership is a mindful and values-driven approach. The leaders prioritize self-awareness, empathy, and ethical decision-making.
In this style, leaders are also attuned to the well-being of their team, the organization, and the broader community. Conscious Leaders foster a positive and inclusive work culture. Besides, they emphasize the importance of transparency, authenticity, and sustainability.
- Enhanced employee engagement and satisfaction.
- Greater organizational resilience and adaptability.
- Development of a positive and inclusive work culture.
- Ethical decision-making and corporate social responsibility.
- Requires a commitment to ongoing personal development.
- Decision-making may take more time.
- Potential resistance in traditional or hierarchical environments.
- Challenges in measuring the impact on financial metrics.
Conscious leadership is a transformative approach, transcending conventional leadership models by emphasizing self-awareness, empathy, and ethical decision-making.
Leaders adopting this style become champions of a holistic vision that extends beyond profit margins. It encompasses the well-being of individuals, the organization, and the broader community.
Conscious leadership fosters a positive and inclusive work culture. Leaders prioritize transparency, authenticity, and sustainability, creating an environment where team members feel valued and aligned with a shared purpose.
While Conscious Leadership contributes to enhanced employee satisfaction and organizational resilience, it necessitates a continuous commitment to personal and corporate growth. This transformative style redefines success by intertwining the prosperity of the individual, the organization, and society.
- Resistance to the shift in leadership concept.
- Balancing the focus on well-being with achieving business goals.
- Integrating Conscious Leadership in traditional organizational structures.
- Measuring the impact on financial and performance metrics.
What Is the Leadership Skill You Should Choose for Call Center
There are various leadership skills to be a leader for a call center. These skills will help you make the best decisions for operating your company. Here are some leadership skills you should choose for your call center:
Ability to Communicate: Effective communication is essential in a call center setting. Leaders must convey instructions, listen actively to team members, and ensure smooth communication.
Resilience: Call centers can be high-pressure environments. Leaders must exhibit stability to navigate challenges and bounce back from setbacks. They also maintain a positive outlook, inspiring their team to do the same.
Creativity: Creativity is essential for problem-solving and process improvement. Leaders should encourage innovative thinking among team members to address issues creatively and enhance the overall efficiency of the call center.
Humility: Humility is crucial in fostering a positive and collaborative work environment. Leaders who demonstrate humility are approachable, open to feedback, and capable of building solid relationships with their team.
Flexibility: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is vital. Call centers often face unpredictable situations, and leaders need to be flexible in adjusting strategies, processes, and priorities to meet evolving needs.
Optimism: Maintaining an optimistic outlook is contagious. Promising leaders contribute to a more motivated and engaged team, even in challenging situations.
Self-awareness: Leaders should possess self-awareness to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and how their actions impact the team. This skill enables continuous personal development and effective leadership through a deeper understanding of oneself.
5 Extras for Being an Effective Call Center Leader
1. Be Creative
Never consider one style of leadership to be the best or the worst. The ideal course of action is to adjust to the circumstances, occasionally changing directions and styles. Here, you must be creative to solve the problems you sometimes face. This will help you to be more dynamic in your leadership position.
2. Keep Patience
Finding a leadership style that is totally on the right track is very rare. It is okay with some errors and trials. It takes a lot of work to assume the proper technique. So, you have to experiment with different styles, and you should gather data from the analytics and collect the employers’ feedback.
You can get good results from brainstorming with call center managers. Most importantly, to find the best leadership style, you have to keep patience. With patience, you have to try for exemplary leadership.
3. Develop Empathy
This applies to both call center agents and customers. A small amount of empathy goes a long way in an industry with a high turnover rate. Any leadership style will be more effective when it is blended with empathy.
So, customers and call center agents should develop empathy to make effective calls. It will help the leader to run the leadership process.
4. Accept Your Errors
You can only sometimes be correct. Sometimes, you need the right solution. In this situation, it will be best to be honest. Besides, it will be okay to show your lack of it. But, be careful not to be always. Your colleagues and agents will respect you more if you accept your errors.
5. Embrace a Tech-forward Mentality
Nowadays, adopting the tech to reduce your burden is mandatory. It will be a wrong decision if you don’t use the tech. Leadership is a multitask job. So, for many purposes, you should use SaaS tech. It will also help you to reduce the burden of your work.
When you use technology for your work, your leadership will be more organized and error-free. So, adopting tech is also an excellent move for your leadership.
Effective leadership in a call center demands a dynamic blend of communication, resilience, creativity, humility, flexibility, optimism, and self-awareness. The ability to communicate, navigate challenges with strength, foster creativity, and maintain a positive and flexible approach is essential.
Besides, strong team relationships are facilitated by humility, and an enthusiastic workplace is produced by optimism. Self-awareness guarantees ongoing development on a personal level and effective leadership.
By embracing these leadership characteristics, call center managers may successfully manage their operations, create a positive team culture, and negotiate the sector’s complexity. So, the right leadership style depends on these aspects.