Team Leader – Am I Wrong?

Thinking Concept Am I Wrong
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Team Leader – Am I Wrong?

I work for an inbound call centre. I was promoted in July as a Team Lead from an Intake Specialist. My primary duties as an Intake Specialist was to, of course, answer the phones. We have a high turnover rate and are currently short-staffed.

As a Team Leader, I find that I am still required to be on que all day (for reference, all Leads are required to be on que all day, not just me). That means that I am currently still taking back-to-back calls most of my day in addition to helping my Intake Specialists with their calls in between my calls.

I have expressed dis-satisfaction with this and was told, “Well, that’s the job.”. No….the job is to manage employees, which I cannot do if I am stuck in que myself. Besides, I took the promotion in part to get off of the que and only take overflow. Would anyone in their right mind take a promotion in a call center to only be stuck on the phones.

Am I wrong? Do I need an attitude adjustment? It’s been five months and we are still short staffed.

Question asked by K

Tough One

That’s a tough one. It is the job of a team leader to do whatever is required, so that does involve taking calls, but the job is also to support the team.

The trick is to do what you can with the recruitment and training of new staff, and to do what you can to provide a supportive atmosphere to your team so that they do not leave.

With thanks to Jonty

Seems A Common Issue

I previously worked as a call handler and moved to the Team Leader then Business Analyst roles and unfortunately this was common for years within the business.

Team Leaders were seen not just as the overflow but as core agents during peak times, and whenever volumes uplifted to the point of unmanageable they just became full time call handlers and still pressured for all the TL tasks.

I would suggest you have a meeting with senior staff. You are an inbound call centre so you should have forecasts of call volumes.

If you aren’t staffing to those levels then you have a big problem that needs to be addressed – the business model should at the very least be revenue neutral to staff to demand otherwise it’s not a viable business and you need to get out asap.

It may just be the case your struggling to get the staff and given the current pandemic and the change in people’s priorities this is a harder challenge but its something you can overcome by hiring remote workers on mass.

I think you need to have an honest conversation, as a Team Leader they are presumably paying you more money.

This is because the value a Team Leader provides to overall efficiency and quality has a higher revenue value than the person servicing the calls back-to-back. A good team leader group can reduce agent attrition and improve efficiency dramatically.

The issues are definitely at a higher level than where you sit and all you can do is engage openly with your concerns, ultimately they will choose to listen to you and make positive change or they won’t. You then need to make the decision if you are happy to continue as a call handler on the higher salary or if you need to move onto a different opportunity.

With thanks to Michael

Team Leader – Am I Wrong?

Poor leaders will only focus on the ideas that back up their own perspective. They will disregard differing opinions and will not engage when the person they disagree with is speaking. They will avoid having open discussions with those around them and will instead revert to their own opinion when making all decisions.

With thanks to Patricia

The Business is Viable

Michael Clarke – Thanks, the business is viable – I believe it is due to the pandemic. I have spoken to my boss informally, but he is swamped and is trying to work with HR to staff our department. Thank you, everyone.

With thanks to K

All Hands to Deck

It seems to me you are being exploited. The only scenario I can imagine when this would have(and its been happening for 5 months) is when the call centre is unable to handle the volume of calls that hit the board, at that point in time, which might be, say for 1/2 hour period, “All hands to deck”.

With thanks to Maninder

Role of the TL

The purpose of the Team Leader role is to optimise the performance of a team. If you are not getting a chance to do that, you are not being a Team Leader.

With thanks to Dan

Author: Jonty Pearce

Published On: 12th Apr 2022 - Last modified: 4th May 2022
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