Earlier this past summer, my professional colleague, friend, and widely-respected customer service strategist Jeff Mowatt wrote a guest post titled How to motivate younger employees. His contribution was received with such interest that I asked him if he would guest again, and I was delighted when he agreed. His column today is about the importance of the positive, confident energy that leaders should create and model in their organizations, and it follows below.
P.S. I am excited that Jeff and I will be sharing the platform later this fall at the Customer Service Leadership Summit in Calgary. We’ll both be delivering mainstage keynotes at this November 15 event, and if you are thinking about attending, you need to act now because this event is already tracking to be a sellout. Early bird pricing is still in effect so get your tickets while you can. More information about the Summit is at the end of Jeff’s post below.
How would Others Describe Your Energy?
Having worked with literally hundreds of managers and business owners who’ve brought me in to provide customer service training for their teams, I’ve discovered that when it comes to a leader’s vibe, there is a magic mix. To inspire others, a leader needs to be positive and optimistic while also being realistic. And your energy needs to be higher than average without being frenzied. In other words, the most effective leaders are those who exude quiet, confident energy. Easier said than done. Here are 3 tips for setting the kind of tone that positively engages teams.
1. Start strong
How you conduct yourself the first 90 minutes of the workday reveals if you are a clerk, a worker, or a leader. Clerks work on administrivia, workers handle customer requests, and leaders focus on strategic projects that steer the team towards long term success. That’s where you should focus the first part of your day. By working on long term success tasks, you’re preventing problems and keeping the organization on track. Doing this for the first 90 minutes of your day means that when proverbial fires flare-up, you’ll have the comfort of knowing you’re already addressing the underlying issues. You are genuinely calmer and your team members will sense that things aren’t as bad as they seem. That’s the kind of tone that everyone appreciates.
2. Blow off some steam
If your job is stressful then I suggest you acquire the habit of working-out before arriving at work. We all know that if you experience high stress levels without counterbalancing with physical exercise, then eventually your job will kill you. Not to mention your staff and your family will worry (with good reason) about your job having an adverse effect on your heath. So do your customers, your staff, and your family a favour – skip an hour of TV at night and go to bed earlier. Get up earlier and work-out. Everyone around you will be put at ease by your more relaxed, yet energized presence.
3. Lighten up
A former neighbor of mine, Judge Peter Levesque, made a habit of raising the spirits of employees in family law court where he presided. At Easter, for example he would don a bunny suit and hop around chambers passing out chocolate eggs to the staff. You can imaging the belly laughs when “Judge Peter” became “Peter Rabbit”. As a leader, self-effacing humour demonstrates that you are optimistic, you don’t take yourself too seriously, and you believe work should also be fun. Those are strong values that serve to recharge your team’s energy and earn their affection.
Bottom line – If you have too little energy as a leader, your team will sense a lack of direction. Giving off too much energy makes them worry that you’re not calm enough to be thinking strategically. The middle ground is the only one that’s sustainable. I hope these tips helps you to more consistently exude calm, quiet confidence.
I mentioned earlier that Jeff and I (and two other exceptional mainstage speakers) will be headlining the Customer Service Leadership Summit in Calgary later this year on November 15. In one power-packed day you and your leadership team will learn smart practices and fresh ideas to attract new customers, and turn current customers into raving fans. Enrolment is limited so register early. I’m giving you fair warning, this event is on its way to being sold out, so don’t be disappointed!! Early bird pricing is in effect right now.