Qualities of a Great Manager
In the call center environment we are often only as successful as the people we hire. While our front line employees are critical to our business, choosing the right managers powerfully impact your success. So what makes a good manager? Ask 100 people and you might get 100 different answers. While the behaviors that make a great manager may be open to interpretation, there are some competencies and corresponding questions, which stand the test of time.
I think the face of business has entered an era of global mobility and flexibility. To be a successful manager in today's business world you have to be able to shift gears and cope with change effectively. You have to be able to make decisions without knowing all of the details or be able to see the big picture. Today's managers have to be able to function in an atmosphere of ambiguity in order to be successful.
Learning how to deal with ambiguity is no small task and some managers are more comfortable with it than others. You can discover a candidate's comfort level with a few questions that assess how well they handle ambiguity.
Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without having complete information. What did you learn?
Tell me about a time when you were not given clear instructions regarding a task to be completed and how did you handle it.
Given that we face an ever-changing market place, effective managers must have strong Business Acumen. They have to be aware of the competition, best practices and market trends to stay ahead of the game. Today's managers must not only think about getting the job done today but must focus strategically on what it will take to get the job done tomorrow. They have to be able to track data, trends and information with an eye on how it is, or will, impact their business.
Can your management candidate synthesize information and make appropriate decisions based on the data available to them?
How do you stay up to date on your competition? What are their strengths? How do you attack them? What do you see happening with them in the future?
What are your key sources for business information? How frequently do you need/use them? Give me an example of how you have used information gained from this material in a sales situation?
What global factors are currently affecting business here in the United States? What has been the cause? How are companies/industries responding to these factors?
Having Customer Focus is more important now than ever. Customers have more choices about whom they do business with. A manager that can establish effective relationships with customers is able to create customer loyalty and build trust. Interaction with the customers allows managers to garner customer information to use it for improvements in products and services. Businesses that act with the customer in mind have proven to be more successful.
Does your management candidate interact with customers? Do they have customer service experience that can drive your call center performance? How do you know they will be able to resolve customer issues that may arise? You might ask them about several customer service experiences.
Tell me about two customer related situations, which were personally difficult for you? What made them tough to deal with? What did you learn?
How do you get and keep up to date information from customers and what do you do with it?
Today's global economy requires that managers be able to interact and understand all kinds and classes of people. They must manage diversity dealing effectively with all races, nationalities and cultures. Managers today need to be confident in hiring variety and diversity by supporting equal and fair treatment for all.
Managers who can work effectively with divers groups are becoming more and more necessary. How will you know if your candidate has the skills you need to grow in a global environment?
Describe a situation in which you were able to effectively "read" another person and guide your actions by your understanding of their needs and values.
Tell me about the most difficult or frustrating individual that you've ever had to work with, and how you managed to work with them.
A significant part of being an effective manager and producing results is being able to Motivate Others. Effective managers are able to create a climate in which people want to do their best. They make people feel as if their work is important and they empower people to contribute ideas, make decisions, and share ownership. Managers are able to deduce individual motivators and use them to increase performance.
Motivating people is about tapping into their ego, their desires or their future goals. Finding someone who can readily motivate people can be challenging. You will need someone who can build relationships and who also understands that different people need different motivators.
Tell me about some of the motivational factors that you see as pertinent for effective team development? What kind of team was being developed? What did you learn?
Tell me how you have increased workers morale and what was the benefit?
Describe for me your most successful motivational effort.
Today's managers must also be able to take raw talent and develop direct reports. Setting clear goals and directions, assigning work fairly and providing timely feedback, accomplish this. They must be able to deal with problems effectively and provide ongoing development plans. Effective Managers are aware of their people's career goals and provide challenging and stretching tasks in order to help them reach those goals.
An effective candidate will have the ability to provide ongoing coaching and feedback that improves performance. They will understand how people learn and will set clear goals and outcomes for ongoing development. How will you know if your candidate can develop people? Look for answers where they were in a developmental role even if they weren't a manager of direct reports.
Tell me about a time when you worked with someone to help them learn a new skill. What steps did you take? What was the outcome?
Tell about at time when you set objectives or goals that forced others to stretch in order to accomplish them.
Give an example of when you maintained two-way dialogue with others about work and work results. What was the result?
Very few people in today's business world are responsible for providing the end product or service alone. Managers need to be able to build effective teams and relationships in order to accomplish business priorities and goals. They define success in terms of the whole team's performance and will allow people to be responsible for the work they do. They must balance that with the ability to provide the information their team members need to do complete their tasks while helping them feel good about the work that they do. Informing is a critical task in productivity and team building.
In call centers a manager often leads a team, while participating as part of a team. Can your candidate build effective team relationships?
Tell me about a time when you perceived that someone was not happy on your team. How did you find out they were not happy and what did you do about it? What did you learn?
Give me two examples of when you used different modes to convey the same information.
Tell me which of the following is your favorite mode of communicating at work, written, oral, or email. Give an example that shows why it's your favorite.
Tell me about a time when you initially did not feel good about being a team member, and what you did to change your feelings. What did you learn?
Let's be realistic, today's business needs to be productive, competitive and profitable. An effective manager has to be able to Drive for Results and exceed goals. Companies won't be in business long if they cannot keep an eye on the bottom line while pushing for results. In order to create a successful business, great managers first must understand their business, their customers and their people and be able to take that information and use it to mold results.
Today's competitive environment requires a manager that can think on their feet, motivate others and create success despite the odds. Can your can candidate provide examples that encourage you to hire them?
Tell me about a time when you got results even though some significant factors were working against you (competition, internal customer differences, budget, etc.). What did you do that made you different from the others?
Tell me about occasions where you far exceeded expectations. What were the expectations and what did you do to exceed them?
Give me an example of a business situation in which you had to think and act quickly. What was the problem? What alternatives did you consider? What were the results of your decision?
Finding a candidate with the perfect balance of all of these competencies might be difficult. Decide which results are most important to you and your organization, determine which competencies best match your needs and consider asking the related questions in your interview process. Look for individuals with the best mix of attributes and skills. With the proper competencies in mind choosing the best candidates will be an easier task. You can be confidant about the people and develop and be at ease to be judged by how good they are.
If you are interest in leadership theory and practices then you need to visit: http://www.righttolead.com. Carole Sue Jones is a contributing writer and thinker for our organization. In addition, as a leader you may be interested in http://www.myleadershipsuccess.com.
Problem Solving the Problem Solving Meeting
We go to meetings to share information, to report on project status, to make decisions, to get the free lunch, and because we were invited. (Sorry that I digressed). This is only a partial list ? there are many other valid reasons for holding meetings.
We all are on a quest for knowledge. Whether its information that will make our lives easier or just small packets of data that in a trivial way allows us to sort out "why things are the way they are on this planet." As intelligent beings we are constantly receiving and sorting information, in most instances, we are overwhelmed. Therefore, when relevant information arrives that is meaningful, concise and thought provoking, we have a tendency to reflect on this data for the principles and guidance that it offers. Here are seven insights that are worthy of the title Profound Knowledge.
Does Your State Like To Keep Your Workers Compensation Secrets Hidden?
Workers compensation secrets are hidden deep within piles and piles of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo. They are sometimes used as high priced paper weights for over worked government workers who may or may not be totally interested in seeing that you find the exact information that you are looking for. However, this is just an opinion. From what I've seen on the Internet finding information about workers compensation secrets can be confusing at best.
Why Businesses Need to Start Nurturing Collective Wisdom
COLLECTIVE WISDOM CAN BE AN effective tool for solving the problem of knowledge deficit, or the underutilization of organizational knowledge. If you are a small, medium or large business, and you don't have a method in place for harnessing and managing your organization's collective knowledge, you may be losing opportunities for significant revenue enhancement. According to a study by the Delphi Group, less than 20 percent of knowledge available to an enterprise is actually used. Furthermore,
The Comfort Zone
The Comfort Zone I have a friend named Gene, a serial entrepreneur who currently runs a software business. Like many people, last year was a tough one for his company. They survived largely by providing add-on services to existing customers - a decent response to difficult circumstances. They even grew revenues a bit. But here's something else that happened: They got comfortable. They decided they could exist on their base of customers, and then they "realized" there would be no new ones.
Training Managers and New Trainers
Training managers use many of the same interpersonal and analytical skills that other types of departments use. In particular, they need to be good communicators, and highly skillful in interpersonal relations. They need to delegate effectively, support their staff emotionally, give accurate and timely feedback, and set departmental goals that are consistent with organizational goals. Barbara L. Thornton, an independent training consultant in the St. Paul area, says that training managers need to exercise leadership skills in guiding their people. "[A good training manager is] a good coach," adds Robert Bertschy.
Having Your Phil
February 2nd, at approximately 7:30 a.m. local time on Gobbler's Knob in a small town in western Pennsylvania, 20,000 people and a national radio and television audience anxiously await the prognostication of America's favorite furry forecaster. In a tradition dating back 119 years, Punxsutawney Phil emerges from hibernation?and if he sees his shadow, it's back into the burrow for six more weeks of cold weather.
Tales from the Corporate Frontlines: Training is in the Eye of the Beholder
This article relates to the Training competency, commonly evaluated in employee surveys. It comments on the value of training to both the company and its workforce. The Training competency investigates how your employees perceive the available training opportunities and quality of training. Growing an organization's internal knowledge base is crucial to the success of any business and ensuring a growing knowledge base means investing in the training of your employees. A Gallup poll conducted in 1998 reported that eight out of 10 employees said they would be more likely to stay with their present employer if they were offered more or better training. Specifically, the questions included in this competency are written to measure the adequacy, availability, content of training, and satisfaction with the delivery of training within your organization.
How to Get Your Procedures Project Done
Wouldn't it be nice for business owners and executives to be finished with their policies and procedures project already? They know they need to get it done, but maybe it's taking too long. Or perhaps their people are staring at a blank piece of paper, and they don't know where to begin. Or maybe they're not sure what to write. Or they're just too busy.
10 Steps Towards A Stress-Free Introduction Into Management
Becoming a manager for the first time can be an unnerving and sometimes stressful experience. In many cases, organisations expect you to immediately jump into the role and begin to perform as if you have been there for years. Also, you may have been promoted "out of the blue" and as such have not taken part in any "succession planning" that would have prepared you for the management role.
The Ivory Tower Syndrome
"His cardinal mistake is that he isolates himself, and allows nobody to see him; and by which he does not know what is going on in the very matter he is dealing with. - Abraham Lincoln on his reason for relieving Gen. John C Fremont of his Missouri command. (September 1861)
Truth or Consequences: How to Give Employee Feedback
In the bestseller, Good to Great, Jim Collins discovered that, "the good-to-great companies continually refined the path to greatness with the brutal facts of reality."
Pricing Strategy for Retail Flower Shops
When you create your profit and loss statement to assess the health of your business, you will see:
Writing and Revising Your Life Story
Change is not simple. Why do we repeat behavior that doesn't work? Those actions that lead to stifling debt, disappointing careers, or stuck relationships? Then do it harder, yet expect a different result? Why is it not obvious that trying to exit an old story by simply writing a "better ending" only recreates the same story, and ensures that we remain in it? That a thousand better endings to an old story don't create a new story? That the past cannot be changed and is a settled matter? That too often, we see ourselves as the victims of the stories that we author and the feelings we create?
What Every Manager Should Know About How to Become An Effective Executive
In his book, The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker pointed out that the effective executive is the person who focuses on making a contribution.
Warning! Meeting In Progress; May Be Hazardous To Your Career
There ought to be a sign posted on every closed office and conference room door that reads: Warning! Meeting In Progress! May Be Hazardous To Your Career.
Twitch Speed: Reaching Younger Workers Who Think Differently
Every parent, educator, and manager knows that "Nintendo children"--those born after 1970 and raised on video and computer games, Walkmans, the Internet, etc.--are different. Unfortunately, the Gen-X discussion has focused mainly on the youths' supposedly short attention spans and attention-deficit disorders, ignoring or underemphasizing what is perhaps the most crucial factor--that this under-30 generation thinks, and sees the world, in ways entirely different from their parents.
Controlling Your Cash Flow
Sarbanes-Oxley and Section 404: Old Dog, New Teeth
The failures we have seen in the quality and integrity of financial reporting in corporate America are clear evidence that something was awry. It is the responsibility of corporate boards, managements, public accounting firms and regulatory agencies to put confidence back into the financial statements issued by our society's most significant entities. Although some would argue that Sarbanes Oxley went too far, it is also now evident that government action and the use of enforcement muscle was required, if for no other reason than to move toward rebuilding public trust. There is no doubt that Sarbanes Oxley, and in particular, Section 404, has increased the expense of doing business for public corporations; however, this is neither a new mandate, nor a superfluous one. All parties engaged in this process have previously ignored the mandate, and must now accept reality, and get past the complaining.
Success: A Wholistic Perspective
When I was growing up...way back in the 50s, a successful business person had an expensive car parked in their driveway, they had the house most could only dream of, and the beautiful wife as well. Things looked real good ... but that was rarely the whole story. They also had an ulcer, drank and smoked to handle all the stress, was often on medication and lived with endless stress symptoms. Yet by the old model, they were successful inspite of the fact that they were in big trouble on the inside. However, this was normal and accepted as the norm at that time.
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