80% of contact center agents leave because of their relationship with their immediate supervisor.
Your Supervisor today is like that elementary school teacher that you are still in touch with and will most likely be in touch with for the rest of your life. While you might work for this person for a short time, maybe a year or less, you are building a relationship that has a much bigger picture.
You never know how that supervisor, that you see almost everyday, will impact your life. Who will they introduce you to? What opportunities might they guide you towards? You must have people in your life who can speak highly of you, talk about your professional capabilities, who can recommend you to others. Your supervisor can potentially be the person who has made the greatest positive impact in your life.
I’ve supervised in contact centers and been supervised myself and I’m still in touch with with some of them. I’m often asked for references, recommendations, or participating on calls on their behalf. And I’m happy to do it.
Here are some tips to help you show the love to your Supervisor:
1. Win the race
You can talk to any contact center supervisor and they will all say it’s a great feeling to see people coming to work on time and being ready to work at the scheduled time. Busy supervisors need people to rely on, to depend on. The more trust you generate with them, the more opportunities they will send your way. When you are a consistent face that your supervisor sees in the morning and can rely on, it’s a great thing.
2. Plant a seed
Your relationship with your Supervisor isn’t going to be the relationship you have with them a few years from now. But are you approaching it as something that can grow? When you work for someone the relationship has to be planted, fed, and attended to in order for it to bear any reward. Eventually, you will both move on, but did you do anything to help the relationship to survive? Do your best tending now.
3. Respect the difference
Some will be great and others not-so-great. It’s most often and a personality thing and what you can tolerate and accept. Just as some supervisors will notice some things about you and others will notice other things. Your personality can rub one supervisor the right way but another one another way. This is true in all aspects of our life.
4. Don’t let your Supervisor’s quirks taint you
The best thing you can do is be consistent in your words and actions. Even if you aren’t a person that experiences mood swings, you can’t change someone who is. Be aware of your Supervisor’s mood and then move on. The best thing you can do for your supervisor’s mood is act as you normally do. Be the consistent person they can rely on. You have no idea what kind of pressure they are dealing with.
5. Don’t wait to be recognized
Whenever people tell me they are waiting for recognition, it often feels immature and foolish to me as they describe. Having a need to have someone tell you that you are doing a good job reflects your ineffectiveness in communicating to find out what’s expected of you. If you don’t know what good looks like then what are you work towards each day? Some people get so falsely caught up in waiting for praise that they get frustrated when it don’t come around. Learn your expectations and role and be confident in your abilities. Your Supervisor does not read minds and expects you to do a good job and to do good work–that’s part of the employment agreement. If you’re not clear on what it’s supposed to look like, go seek clarity.
6. Be preemptive
Surprises for Supervisors are often not of the welcomed kind. Lighten their burden. Provide as much advance notice as possible when you are needing to make an adjustment to what is routine and accustomed. Time of, late arrival, early departure, medical procedures, family events can all cause your Supervisor lot of administrative and mental grief. Be a reliable, consistent, thoughtful, and considerate employee that’s going to remove burden, not add it.
7. Embrace their communication style
One of my children’s most frustrating teacher was due in part to their understanding everyone’s communication style. There are supervisors who explain everything flat out and there are those who don’t explain anything. There are supervisors who ask for something the day they want it and there are people who ask for things days in advance. There are some they tell you how to do it and there’s some that just ask you to get it done. There are some that are gentle and some that are harsh. There are some that sarcastic and some that are empathetic. It just takes some getting used to. It takes time to learn how everyone functions. When you start a new job, ask your supervisor boss about their communication style.
8. Don’t be their friend
They don’t need to know everything about you or your personal life. Unless your Supervisor sends you a friend request, don’t be Facebook friends. It’s okay to follow your Supervisor on Twitter or Instagram, but don;t be bummed if they don’t follow back. But if they block you…you might have a different issues to address.
9. Put a spotlight on them
10. Go toe-to-toe
There will come a time when something happens and you need to confront your Supervisor. But you should not look to pick a fight or be aiming for a confrontation every day. Some people start talking back and arguing with their supervisor and it just escalates. Always approach the situation with respect and you most often times get it in return.
11. Be ON their team
Let your Supervisor and your colleagues know that you are on their side. If you are ever in a situation where people are bad-mouthing your Supervisor, even your teammates, let them know that’s not acceptable. If it continues, let your Supervisor know. Nobody wants to be part of a disloyal bunch of bandits and you need to take the lead and squash that bad behavior. Adults want to work in a respectful and open environment and adults need to police the environment.
12. Turn out the lights
If your shifts align, never leave before your Supervisor. Just relax, organize your things, work ahead, or do training. You don’t want your Supervisor coming around your desk and seeing you on social media ever.
You want to do whatever you can to develop a solid, long-term relationship with your Supervisor. If nurtured properly, this relationship will last a lifetime and you will forever have them on your team. Many of my friends, peers, and colleagues take their former direct reports and supervisors along with them when they’ve found incredible opportunities.
So, show supervisors some love and get ready to be loved too.