Recent research has noted that great leadership, and great leadership development, drive great customer experience. It might not be an obvious linkage – leadership development focuses on how managers work with their teams, not outsiders. And we don’t encourage our teams to “manage” our customers. Then why is leadership development of junior and mid-level managers a critical piece of your customer experience effort?
Teams With Great Leaders Are Better At – Well, Everything
Research shows that teams with great leaders significantly outperform teams with average or poor leaders. And they outperform them at whatever it is they’re doing. And that means that when they’re focused on customer experience, they’ll perform better than teams with worse leaders.
Great Leaders Promote Strategic Goals and Maintain Priorities
One hallmark of great leaders is that they ensure that their teams stay focused on the important outcomes, and ensure that their teams’ efforts and priorities align with corporate strategy. This means that great leaders make sure everyone on the team understands that customer experience is critical, ensure that their teams prioritize customer experience and understand what they can and should do to make a difference in the customer’s experience. Simply put, they make sure the team’s effort and resources are focused on customer experience, and that the team understands what kind of behavior makes a difference.
Employees With Great Leaders Are Positive and Energized
Teams with great leaders have higher engagement and job satisfaction, and are great evangelists for the company. This positive energy and enthusiasm, and desire to advocate for the company, translates into a great interactions with customers.
Teams With Great Leaders Are More Creative
Great leaders know how to bring out the creativity in their teams – they build trust and let team members know that they can take risks and try new things safely. Research consistently shows that great leaders have more creative teams, and that creativity expands into solutions for customers.
Great Leaders Set The Example
Great leaders tend to build trusting and supportive relationships with and between team members. Great leaders are focused on serving and supporting their team members. This servant attitude creates a culture of how team members should treat each other – and customers. In short, the behaviors that tend to characterize great leaders also drive great customer experience.
With all the research on the impact of leadership on performance, it shouldn’t be surprising that great leadership development is a critical piece of any customer experience project. But understanding the variety of ways that leaders impact customer experience is helpful to pinpoint the kinds of leadership and leadership development that are important. Leadership isn’t one-size-fits-all, and translating the leaders need back into a development program will ensure the greatest impact.
Todd Murtha is CEO of Careerwave. Todd is a former workplace psychologist and CEO of a 350-person internet company. He is a frequent speaker on leadership, coaching and technology.
Careerwave’s technology-based leadership coaching service is effective and affordable enough to provide a coach to every manager. Whether you need to coach 1 leader or 100, and whether you need a full program or just an addition to your current program, we can build a solution for you. To learn more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit careerwave.me.