There are so many forms and levels of leadership, but they are not equal in quality. Many are in leadership roles to be true leaders, others more so for the power, title and money. Being a true leader involves more than just telling people what to do and writing them up. Before I go any further into this, please note the experiences I’ll share with you are from the companies I have personally worked for. Any other company will be nothing but hearsay. I am also not saying I was the perfect leader, like everyone, I have my faults and things to work on.
This part will be mainly geared towards examples of great leadership. Part 2 will focus on examples of poor leadership and how it could have been handled.
In all of my years of working I must say I have moved into a leadership role at some point. The company I’m currently with, Everise, I haven’t applied for too many leadership roles yet. It’s only been a year, so it’s still early. The major companies I’ve worked for are Wal-Mart, Burlington, McDonald’s and Verizon. When it comes to leadership, I do believe Verizon call center had the best leadership out of all of them. The reason I’m not there isn’t because of leadership.
The actual definition of leadership is “the action of leading a group of people or organization.” As stated before, there are many types of leaderships and many ways to lead. Leading is very different than bossing. When leading, you are helping strengthen and grow the ones you are leading to help reach a common goal. Bossing, you’re just telling them to do what needs to be done. This does not mean leaders are doing the work for them. It means they are doing more than telling. They are training, encouraging, guiding, offering constructive criticism, and helping find a workable solution. If necessary and when needed they offer a helping hand. This typically help boost moral and confidence among those you are leading. How do I know this? Experience.
I worked at a Wal-Mart store where the store manager and co-manager (titles they had at the time) actually led the store in that manner. It was great for so many reasons. I was just coming out of assistant manager training and it was just what I needed. Being in class is a lot different than being on the floor. I believe that helped shaped me into the manager I wanted to be. Was there some rocky patches? Sure. Did we always see eye to eye? No. Until this day, those were some of the best managers and leaders I’ve ever worked for, especially in retail.
Working at Verizon was a completely different. It was my first true call center experience. The job itself wasn’t my favorite. However, the management was was simply awesome. They cared about their staff and wanted to keep morale high. They did activities and had fun with their teams. The company was always giving out free useful promo items. They feed us too. Not just fast food and stuff, but also healthy food and snacks. The call center customers, lets say were just as bad as some of the retail customers I experienced at Wal-Mart. However the atmosphere the management provided made it a bit more manageable. For the most part anyway.
What I truly liked about these two different types of leaders I had was the fact that if there was a question, they answered it. If they didn’t know the answer, they helped you find the answer. If an answer was still unavailable, they helped find a solution to the problem. There were not many problems or situations that were left up in the air. If something was wrong, they spoke to you like an adult, in a civilized manner. It didn’t matter if it was on the floor or in the office, they were ALWAYS professional. These managers respected your time away from work so you always had a nice work/life balance, which made it not so bad when you went to work. Another thing that I always admired were the fact that they took not just you work experience into consideration, but also your hobbies.
I couldn’t always see it at the time, but when I look back now, I see how much of a difference it made. The morale was higher than other places and it also reminded me to take a personal interest in the ones that were under me as well as my team. Yes, everyone is expected to do a job they are getting paid for. However, there is nothing better than your team going above and beyond because they understand that your success is their success. Leading by example and with respect is what makes any business and/or team successful. This was a key factor I’ve learned from each of my work experiences.
Have you had a great leader recently? What made them great?