leaders

Customer Service: 21 Tips to Make it Easy for Customers


Leaders, does your vision of company success include the phrase easy for customers With so much spent on customer loyalty research, it is surprising to see so little focus put on the basic customer service request — make it easy for me!!


In the B2B world, you do hear leaders saying “we’re easy to do business with”!  Yet in the B2C (business to consumer customer) world, you don’t hear it as much.  There are some exceptions like Staples Office Supplies who have made Easy their brand.


When you give customers value and ease, they have little reason to go to your competitors. Easy and valuable builds loyalty builds because it is hard to leave! Are you ready to move past the customer loyalty research and into the zone of true customer loyalty?


Customer service: Image is button that says "easy".

Customer Service: Customers want it easy & valuable. Image by: Spackletoe




Basic Beliefs You’ll Need

  • The customer is your pathway to success — not your enemy. Trust don’t mistrust.
  • There are things all customers need from you to give you their loyalty: value, ease, positive memory, gratitude.
  • The opposite of easy is difficult not high status. Some businesses believe that complexity makes their brand seem more valuable. Yet the finest hotels and restaurants make customer service easy for the customer not complex and difficult.
  • Making customer service easy costs you little and brings you much.






Easy Customer Service: 21 Things Customers Will Love!

  1. Be attentive. “Stop doing other things while you’re helping me.” Stop texting, stop talking to your coworkers about other things, stop picking up the phone and serving other customers, stop watching the video playing in the room, etc… Be present and attentive in customer service.

  2. Be friendly. Friendly makes it easy and it doesn’t have to delay value. “Smile, be open to questions, show me you care.” It costs nothing and speaks volumes in gratitude.

  3. Be adaptable. “I’m a person. Not a cog in your process wheel.” Strict scripts in customer service make life difficult for the customer. This doesn’t mean you must throw out all processes and let each customer run your company. It does mean your processes must be flexible to make customer service easy for each customer.

  4. Be timely. “if you here I’m urgent, get to the point. If I’m laid back, don’t push me.” There are some cultures where fast is rude because it seems like you don’t value the customer as a person. Other cultures value time and want you to respect it.

  5. Be proactive. “Use your expertise to prevent my problems.” Anticipate customers needs. Not that hard to do if you are listening. So throw away the script, listen to what the customers are saying, and make it easy for them. Anticipation communicates care which breeds loyalty. You may even sell them more as you anticipate their needs!

  6. Be creative. “Do something to help me even when I have an unusual request.” Creative problem solving or creative fun (depending on your product/service) makes life easy for the customer. It also energizes employees’ commitment to your brand and the customers!

  7. Be resilient. “Don’t treat me badly because it’s the end of your shift.” The customer needs care even when you are tired. Be as caring to the customer at the end of your workday as you were to the ones at the beginning. This makes it easy to be loyal to your brand.

  8. Be balanced in a storm. “You’re my lifeboat. Stay calm to ease the storm.” Things happen. Handle them with ease and make customer service easy for the customer. This builds trust and loyalty. Don’t tell the customer to calm down. It makes you look like an uncaring inept control freak.

  9. Be transparent. “Remove my doubt.” Pre-purchase or post purchase, being able to trust your brand makes life easy for the customer! Smoke and mirrors, hidden clauses, and surprises that deny service make it difficult for the customer to stay and easy for them to leave!

  10. Be virtuous. “Show me your brand has integrity.” Make your brand a brand of no excuses! Deliver the fix. Don’t defend the trouble. Make it easy for the customer to trust you! Remember, mistrust is a powerful engine.






  11. Stop asking the customer to repeat themselves. “Hear me.” Contact centers are notorious for torturing the customer through repetition — especially when connecting the call to others departments. Stop this madness. Listen, take notes, and be the customer’s advocate! Why would anyone be loyal to a brand that tortures them?

  12. Stop hiding! “What’s your phone number?” If a customer can’t easily find your phone number, they are not likely to give you their loyalty. Even in today’s high tech environment of online service, customers want to know that calling you is an option when needed. If you hide your phone number on your website, your message is “don’t call us”. Hmmm… hardly a strategy for customer loyalty.

  13. Stop the jargon! An airline agent asked the customer: “What’s the fare basis on your ticket?” The customer snapped back: “I don’t know. I don’t speak airline.” Jargon makes life difficult for the customer. It also makes a brand seem full of itself.

  14. Work as a team. “I don’t care that it’s not your department!” Silos, personality conflicts, turf wars in companies are the opposite of easy customer service. It makes life difficult for customers and once again tells them you don’t care enough to work as a team.






  15. Welcome the customers’ questions. Questions are a sign of interest. Don’t misconstrue them to be questioning your authority. Build loyalty — don’t expect blind trust. The healthcare community seems to struggle with this. They send the message “ask questions and be active in your healthcare” yet they get impatient when patients ask questions. Remember, customers are easier to deal with when you make it easy for them to build trust in you.

  16. Welcome the customers’ view of customer service. Hotels that have a true customer satisfaction policy build loyalty. Hotels that rigidly define what they think is great customer service lose out. To some customers, safety is absolutely #1. To others, it’s access to the internet. To others, it’s a firm bed. Personalize customer service and you will see customers return.

  17. Welcome the customers’ real feedback. Does your customer feedback survey give customers opportunity to tell you in words what they think and what they would like next time? Having a voice makes it easy for them to come back to you. If you have primarily a numbers based survey, you are telling them you care only about the overall ranking — not what they think.

  18. Satisfy customers before they complain. Customers don’t like to become angry. They want things to be easy and easily addressed. Let them know upfront you will help them. BAM! Easy. Rebuild the trust.

  19. Hire people who like to serve. Yes, they do exist. Then train them, empower them, support them. It’s easy for employees to satisfy customers when leaders aren’t using the reps to limit service to the customers!



  20. Be grateful. Every word you speak, every action you take must tell each customer: “You matter individually.” This makes it easy to come back to you. What human doesn’t want to be valued? Even those that play it kool and claim they don’t care about gratitude, actually love it.

  21. Deliver on the most basic human need — love. Customer loyalty is pretty simple. If you want customers to love your brand, love your customers!


Make it easy for customers! Appreciate them, their time and value to your company. They are not numbers, demographic segments, dutiful servants, idiots waiting for your wisdom, nor puppets for profit.


Respect. them. Care for them. Each — and every one of them.




Invitation: Add your tips on easy customer service? I welcome your comments below.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™


Grateful to these Google+ and Twitter connections for their input: Hoda Maalouf, Adam Toporek, Mike Schoultz, and Khara Ashburne.
Grateful for image by: Spackletoe via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Related posts:
Super Customer Experience: Feelings Aren’t Random
Inside Customer Service Video Series: Kate Nasser
10 Winning Beliefs for Super Customer Experience

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Customer Service Tech Support Leaders: Portray People Skills Needed!

Customer service tech support leaders, when you are looking for new agents what job description do you advertise?  If it doesn’t describe the people skills needed for the job, you are leaving success up to chance.

As I train customer service tech support agents in people skills, many seem surprised at what the job truly involves.  Some rise to the occasion. Others don’t.

Want to get the best hires for customer service tech support? Here’s a very different list to include in the job description you advertise!



Customer Service Tech Support: Image is words Need Help?

Customer Service Tech Support: Attitudes & People Skills Needed.

Image licensed via Istock.com.

Customer Service Tech Support Agents: Attitudes & People Skills Needed

  1. Desire and ability to help others succeed.
  2. Ability to empathize with customers even the upset ones.
  3. Stays cool under pressure while still showing care.
  4. Defuses upset customers and meets their needs.
  5. Follows-through and demonstrates strong accountability.
  6. Is curious to know it all without being a know-it-all.
  7. Works to find the right solution for the customers without the need to be right.
  8. Can live within rules and also adapt to customers as needed.
  9. Strives for excellence yet doesn’t expect perfection from customers.
  10. Sees service work as a profession, not as servitude.
  11. Believes technology is a means to an end — not the end goal. Customers care about their goals, not technology.
  12. Strong cross teamwork and negotiation skills to work with other service teams.

  13. What is your #13?



Customer service tech support is a demanding job needing far more than technical skills and basic courtesy. Too many of the job descriptions do not accurately portray the job and its people skills demands.

Leaders, use the above list as a starting point and add other behaviors, skills, and attitudes that are needed for your particular environment. Don’t leave hiring up to chance. Portray an accurate picture of the agent’s job to attract those who truly want to be in service to customers.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Customer Service: Use People Skills to Deliver Not Defend
Customer Service People Skills Create Profitable Connections

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Employee Appreciation: Simple Logic

Employee Appreciation: Picture of Food

Employee Appreciation People Skills: Simplest Reason Image via Istock.com.

Image licensed from Istock.





A couple of years into my business, a training company executive called and asked if I would step in and teach one of their courses as a subcontractor. One of their instructors had suddenly left and they were in a jam. I taught the course for them and everyone was pleased.

When he asked me to do more subcontracting for them, I thanked him yet declined. I explained that I had transitioned out of doing subcontracts and did that one as a colleague to help them out.

He replied: “Kate, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

In that short statement, he made me doubly glad I had declined his offer. He had no understanding of collaboration or partnership.

It was clear that he saw himself as powerful. He who had the opportunity was feeding others. It never occurred to him that when I taught as a subcontractor for them, we were feeding each other. It was a two-way work relationship not alms for a starving person.

Implications on Employee Appreciation

I reflected on this recently as I prepared an employee appreciation workshop for new leaders. Some of them had worked for leaders who didn’t believe in showing appreciation. Since they had no model for employee appreciation, it was important to explore its value. In order to inspire, engage, and lead effectively, employee appreciation is essential.

Why? Because leaders and employees need each other.

That is the the simplest reason for leaders to show employee appreciation. When leaders treat employees as paid resources rather than valuable, essential relationships, they are guaranteeing turnover. They starve the organization of the very talent needed to succeed.

Companies and leaders are not feeding employees. All employees in an organization feed the success of the whole. It’s the simple logic of employee appreciation.



Question: What employee appreciation story and lesson learned will you share with us here?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related posts:
True Employee Engagement: Appreciate & Recognize
Leaders, Employee Engagement is Uniquely Personal

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

People Skills: A Single Word Can Make the Difference!

 

As The People Skills Coach™, I often coach and teach about words that make or break communication in professional and personal relationships.

 

Unfortunate is one such word.

 

The dictionary listing of unfortunate wouldn’t make you think it could cause people skills trouble.

Unfortunate …

1. suffering from bad luck
2. unfavorable or inauspicious

 

But when our words offend people or actions harm others, labeling it unfortunate can be a deadly people skills mistake.

 

People Skills: Image is the word "OOPS"

People Skills: ONE Unfortunate Word to Change

Using the word unfortunate in this case is insulting to those we’ve hurt because it underplays the impact of what we did to them.

 

It sounds like a mere oops.

 

By trivializing the impact, we put the relationship at risk.



Replace that one word — unfortunate – with any one of these words:

Deplorable or
Terrible or
Wholly unacceptable or
Very bad

… to take ownership of the impact and remove confusion.

Although the dictionary has those meanings listed third:

3. regrettable or deplorable

 … few people think of or hear this meaning when someone says:  “That was unfortunate.”

 

People Skills Lesson – Be Clear & Caring

  1. Be clear about your remorse. Care about their feelings. Be accountable for the impact you had on others. It shows that despite your hurtful actions you want to re-secure the relationship.
  2. Conversely, trivializing the impact puts the relationship and trust completely at risk.


Before speaking, ask yourself which you would want to hear if someone hurt you? “Sorry, that was unfortunate” or “What I did was terrible – I’m very sorry.”


 

Professional and personal relationships are slowly built and quickly broken.

Even ONE word can make a big difference!

 

Question: What other words/phrases have you found break trust quickly?

 

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Image licensed from Istock.com.

Related posts:
People Skills: Integrity & Authenticity
Words can woo or wound; create bonds not scars.

©2011-2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, workshops, keynotes, and DVDs that turn interaction obstacles into interpersonal success for customer service, teamwork, and leading change. Kate fills the gaps of diversity with business wins. See this site for workshops outlines and customer results.

Leadership people skills are critical to success. From inspiring and engaging to communicating and resolving conflicts, leadership people skills are at the heart of it all.

Regarding employee engagement, leaders often ask me for people skills guidance. One of the most common questions is: “How do I know when to show my strengths and when to hold back to engage theirs?

 

Leadership People Skills: Image is Statue of Greek Woman Goddess

Leadership People Skills: Lead Quietly w/ Courage to Roar Image by: elycefeliz

Grateful for image by: elycefeliz via Flickr Creative Commons License.

My leadership people skills advice to them is …

 

To engage others, lead quietly with the courage to roar.

 

Leadership People Skills to Engage

Leading quietly with the courage to roar …

  • Doesn’t mean silence or speaking. It means conversing to explore vs. giving orders.
  • Doesn’t mean denying your leadership talents. It means unearthing their talents dynamically with yours.
  • Doesn’t mean huge risk from their inexperience. It means mentoring and coaching them with the courage to jump in and act when necessary.
  • Doesn’t mean weak leadership. It means the strength to trust others.


Leadership People Skills Engagement Challenges

Sounds simple? Well if it were that simple, engagement would be consistently high and it isn’t. When engaging with leadership people skills, balance is tough to find.

  • Your personality type


    If you are a strong driver, your extreme desire for quick results may lead to you to direct vs. engage.
    Solution: For drivers the issue is pace and time. With your teams, identify the vision and also the pace needed to achieve success. When you put this issue on the table you are less likely to drive and more likely to engage their talents.

    If you are a strong amiable, your high need for bonded relationships may lead to you to recoil from the tough conversations.
    Solution: Understand that bonds are not built on avoidance nor broken through honest conversations. Use your ability to empathize to have the tough conversations with care.

    If you are a strong expressive, your high expressive style may cause others to remain silent. They can’t find a moment to speak. Hard to believe yet it’s true.
    Solution: Use a simple leadership people skills rule: the 30 second maximum. If you have been speaking for 30 seconds, pause and wait for input. Better yet pause after 20 seconds. This simple technique turns monologue into dialogue.

    If you are a strong analytic, your high focus on ordered thinking often shuts out those who think creatively or from the big picture. As you stop them mid-sentence for the logic and data, they hear you telling them to be you — not them.
    Solution: Once again timing is both the issue and the solution. Instead of demanding they use only logic and data, allow them to express from their thinking. Then discuss the logic and data. Two steps instead of one. It engages diverse talents and still leads to the success you envision.


  • Your leader sees engagement as weakness

    When your leadership people skills are focused on engagement and your boss sees engagement as weakness, it may cause you to engage your teams less. Don’t fall into this trap. Solution: Ask your leader what specifically does s/he see as a weakness? Have you and your team missed a critical objective? Specifics and an open discussion can lead to an effective change. It prevents you from reverting to directing instead of engaging.




Leading to engage means assessing the teams strengths and needs every time you interact. This is why leadership people skills are at the heart of employee engagement. Leading quietly with the courage to roar doesn’t require that you be silent and withhold your strengths.

It means that as a leader you contribute from an awareness of what will bring out all the talents. Quiet doesn’t mean silent. It means being aware of team members’ strengths rather than always directing with yours.


With great leadership people skills, you use your strengths as needed instead of directing most of the time. Set the vision, teach, guide, mentor, challenge, spur change, build bonds, and model greatness.


It’s all quite achievable when you lead quietly with the courage to roar.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related posts:
Employee Engagement: Breed Accountability Not Blame
Leaders, 6 Steps to Be a Buoy & Engage Employees

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Leadership People Skills Spark Team Agility!




Leaders engage me to help them develop team agility.  After all, agile organizations soar by easily adapting to changing business conditions. So how do you spark and kindle team agility?


Image licensed from Istock.com


Resistance to change can be high. It is often one of the greatest challenges leaders face. The good news is leaders’ daily interaction with the team — leadership people skills — can spark agility.

Leadership People Skills: 5 Essentials to Spark Team Agility!

What does agility include? Foresight, willingness to change, ability to adapt, and actually moving forward. Leadership people skills can spark and kindle it!



  1. Interact through creativity.

    Creativity develops a culture of change and sparks agility. A culture that focuses primarily on facts and data suppresses agility by grounding everyone in today.

    When team members use foresight to create new ideas, some leaders immediately respond with “where’s the data showing we need to do that?” This stifles agility. First show interest and appreciation for the foresight. Then ask them how to test out the ideas. That sparks and kindles agility!

    Tapping creativity every day gives team members frequent practice in envisioning and creating something new and different. Thinking of change becomes the norm not the dreaded surprise! Do your leadership people skills get the team exploring tomorrow — today?


  2. Applaud initiative instead of rebuking it.

    Initiative is agility in action! Leaders in large organizations with many silos unknowingly stifle this. If spirited team initiative breaches organizational lines, leaders often say “don’t do that again”.

    Instead, applaud initiative. Then discuss how to work better with other teams and their leaders. It engages employees in cross teamwork for success. It keeps agility alive!

    Do your leadership people skills applaud initiative and kindle team agility?


  3. Empower decision making.

    Decision making is also agility in action. When the team weighs different factors and takes a step forward, they move the team into tomorrow. Leaders often talk about agility yet hold the reins too tight to allow it.

    Do your leadership people skills empower others to practice agility through decision making?


  4. Untie the “nots”.

    Fewer rules spark agility. Beyond mandated rules (i.e. legal, safety, and so forth), untie the team from needless don’ts, can’ts, and not’s. They keep agility tied up in knots.

    The easiest way to find the needless “nots”, is to consider all the don’ts that exist because of organizational politics. When leaders work together to eliminate the needless “nots”, they spark and kindle agility.

    Do your leadership people skills untie the “nots” and release the team from knots that bind?


  5. Focus on greatness not the best!

    Agility means accepting some risk to keep moving forward. When leaders focus and talk about growing to greatness, they spark and kindle agility. When they talk mostly about proven “best” practices, they stifle agility.

    What message are you sending your teams? “Be careful. Do only what’s safe and proven.” Or “let’s learn, make informed decisions, and keep growing to greatness!”

    Do your leadership people skills kindle fear of mistakes, fear of failure, and fear of change? Or do they spark agility?



Leadership People Skills: Image is catepillar.

Leadership People Skills to Spark Team Agility. Image by BijouBaby.

Leadership People Skills Image is monarch butterfly.

Leadership People Skills to Sustain Agility. Image by aneye4wonder.














From safe & slow to agile and successful.



Use leadership people skills to spark agility in teams and soar to the heights of greatness!



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Grateful for image of caterpillar by bijoubaby and for image of monarch butterfly by aneye4wonder via Flickr Creative Commons Licenses.

Related Posts:
Leadership People Skills: Adaptability is Genius & Generosity
Change Leaders, Is the Beloved Bully of Habit Stopping You?

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Leadership People Skills: Words of Inclusion Engage!


When employees feel that the leaders value everyone, they engage and create magical results together. The words and actions of leadership people skills create inclusion — and inclusion engages.

The popular belief is that actions speak louder than words. Yet words speak volumes to those they exclude.

Leadership People Skills Image is "Quotation Marks"

Leadership People Skills: Inclusion Engages & Words Matter Image by: MatthewRad

Image by MatthewRad via Flickr Creative Commons License.



Not sure about this? Try this simple exercise. Read through published quotes that use the word “man” to mean “human”. Now re-read them using the word “human or humankind”. For example,

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ~Voltaire

“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.” ~Goethe

What’s the message? Now, how does the message change with the word human instead of man? When the words change, the message changes. When the message changes so does the impact and subsequent results.

A leader’s words of inclusion matter. Leaders and teams communicate to produce successful results together. So let’s look at some words of inclusion in leadership people skills.

Leadership People Skills

Leaders, do your words include and engage or exclude and disengage?

  • The Best.

    In the quest for success, leaders often use the phrase “the best”. Can you hear yourself saying, “Who will produce with the best idea today?” You have good intentions; you want to inspire excellence. You want to lift the team from average performance to winning results! Then why exclude everyone except the one person whose idea meets the challenge that day?

    “Who will produce the best idea today?” excludes and disengages.
    “How many great ideas can we produce today?” includes and engages.


  • The Rankings.

    In the customer service and call center industry, I’ve heard leaders announce: “Here are the top 10 performers in our organization.” Their thinking is that through ranking, they make others work harder.

    This only works if the others are motivated by competition. If they are motivated by collaboration, your ranking words disengage them. Since customer service requires teamwork, it is better to highlight specifics of great performance than to rank some and disengage others.

    “Here’s the top 10 performers” excludes and disengages all but ten people.
    “Lee, Pat, Chris, this week you improved our results a great deal this week. Please share how you did it!” This includes and engages everyone with valuable information. Without the emotion of being labeled a success or failure, all can focus and engage on what actually created that success.


  • The Boxes.

    Artificial categories exclude and disengage. When your words label employees, that label puts them in a box and excludes them from acceptance in the larger picture.

    Think about it. What is the persistent wish of all employees? Personal and professional growth — especially the millennial generation. Why? Because it includes them in success.

    “You’re an agent not a supervisor. Escalate all policy exceptions to me.” This limits, excludes, and disengages commitment.
    “Here’s how I assess policy exceptions. If you’re not sure, just ask me.” This statement from a leader includes, engages, and develops employee talent.




Inclusion validates people for who they are and says “You all matter.” Inclusion taps the spirit of collaboration. It intensifies the desire to contribute their talents and mentor each other with those talents.

Exclusionary words communicate there is only one road and they all have to out race each other on it. Words of inclusion inspire employees to explore the multiple pathways to success.


GEN Y already thinks this way. They’ve grown up with technology that has communicated this very philosophy: collaborate through many networks and find answers through diverse resources. This is inclusion in action!

They have been living in and had access to a global world from the day they were born. Exclusion simply doesn’t make sense to them.
When you try to lead them the traditional way, they disengage.

If you need everyone’s commitment and effort to reach success, then it makes sense to use words of inclusion to engage everybody. Instead of ranking people, highlight what behaviors increase the team’s success. Instead of boxing them into categories with labels, develop them to contribute more each day.


Your words as a leader communicate whether you believe success comes through collaborative inclusion or competitive exclusion. Which do your words say?


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Post:
Leaders, Are You Engaging Employees Foresight?

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Leadership People Skills: Why do tough and gruff leaders easily show people empathy in the face of natural disasters?


Leadership People Skills: Image is a Heart & a Hammer

Leadership People Skills: Tough Leaders Embrace Empathy

Image licensed from Istock.

 

Picture Tough and Gruff Leaders. Their people skills are far from great. They tend to work on people instead of with people. Many people tolerate their non-empathetic style amid the hope of larger success. If their organizations succeed, people applaud these leaders despite their poor leadership people skills.

There is a down side to it however. These leaders also create resistance and divisive camps. They disengage others. Collaboration and teamwork suffer. Resentments percolate and impact the future. Their poor leadership people skills negatively effect the organization’s potential.

 

Now Picture a Natural Disaster & Human Catastrophe. These same leaders with poor people skills and generally little empathy surprise us with their show of compassion.

 

Why? And what can we learn about leadership people skills from it?

 

Tough & Gruff Leaders Show Empathy When …

  • The enormity of human suffering is clearly present.
  • Empathy and compassion is the only truly acceptable response.
  • They think others will clearly see their empathy as strength for others.



Leadership People Skills: The Lessons Learned From This

  • Empathy creates powerful bonds to success even when there isn’t severe suffering.
  • Empathy is always an acceptable response. It doesn’t mean agreement. It means: “You matter, we matter, this matters! Let’s work it out!”
  • Empathy builds deeper trust and connection through the confidence and strength it shows. It achieves far more than any hammer or proclamation.





Interestingly enough, once tough and gruff leaders show their empathetic side they are often seen as even stronger. We see depth and dimension we never saw before. It becomes clear they have more than a hammer in their tool kit. It builds trust and belief that they can lead in different ways in different situations.


So leaders, why not show your empathetic side sooner and more frequently? You become a buoy of inspiration, strength, and balance.


Your leadership people skills will connect, engage, inspire, and strengthen the will to collaborate and solve any problem. You will engage employees to greater commitment, less resistance to change, and maximum contribution. Want help? I’m here.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™


Related Posts:
Leadership Employee Engagement: Appreciate & Recognize
Never Confuse Humility & Humiliation
People Skills: Empathize Before You Analyze

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Leadership is about change. We lead to create the future not to maintain the status quo. One trap that can detour success is confusion about change vs inconsistency.

 
Those who resist change will often mislabel change as fickleness and inconsistency. Knowing the true difference between change and inconsistency can avert this detour and sustain the momentum of change.


ChangevsInconsistency


Leadership: Change vs Inconsistency Image is a Changing World

Leadership: Change vs Inconsistency Image by: MMcDonough

Leadership: Change vs Inconsistency Image is an Incomplete Circle

Leadership: Change vs Inconsistency Image by: Marco Buonvino




















Change image by MMcDonough and Inconsistency image by Marco Buonvino via Flickr Creative Commons licenses.


Let’s Compare Change vs Inconsistency.

Leading change includes …

  • Clear vision.

    It’s not mucking about in the dark. It is preceded by exploration and some determination of the new picture.

  • Purpose.

    It’s not random. It has a goal.

  • Direction.

    It doesn’t swirl around endlessly. It moves forward.

  • Momentum.

    It’s not just words. It pulses with action.

  • Integrity.

    It doesn’t contradict itself. It corrects missteps and gets back on course.

  • Engagement with expectations.

    True change leaders engage everyone with expectations of involvement. They don’t allow resistors to create stagnation w/ claims of inconsistency.


Inconsistency is characterized by …

  • Different messages about the same situation.

    This inconsistency creates the swirl of inaction instead of the pulse of action.

  • Daily redefinitions.

    With inconsistency, the goals constantly change within a very short timeframe. With change, there is evolution over time toward a goal.

  • Confusion.

    Inconsistency leaves people in a fog. Change sheds light as it evolves.




What truly distinguishes change vs inconsistency? Clear vision and communication!


Clear consistent messages about the change reassure those who must make the change happen. Clear vision & communication help everyone to overcome the comfort of habit and the status quo. It gives them perspective on the skills they must develop to help create and live in the new world.

As leaders, we must distinguish change vs inconsistency so that demands for consistency don’t mistakenly keep us in the status quo. Consistency of vision, clarity of communication, and integrity of character can lead all through the tough times of change.


Be ready when the change resistors raise the flag of inconsistency. Ensure that their resistance doesn’t hijack the momentum of change or detour success.


Reinforce that consistency (of quality) is not the same as constancy — things remaining the same. Underscore the vision, clarify the message, and continue moving forward!


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Post: Leaders, Is the Beloved Bully of Habit Stopping Change?

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

People skills — especially empathy — connect us. Empathy transcends the ego. It closes the gap between us and creates infinite possibilities. It can turn mistrust into trust, doubt into confidence, pain into courage, and happiness into joy.


Empathy is one of the most powerful people skills for it replaces the distance of diversity with bonds of connection.  It is strongest when it comes from the heart.


This is true in our personal lives and in leadership, management, teamwork, and of course with customers. It is a universal connector IF we remember one people skills principle.


People Skills: Empathize Before Analyze Image is: Mind and Heart

People Skills: Empathize Before We Analyze Image by:Nastassia Davis

Image by Nastassia Davis via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Empathize Before You Analyze



Sound odd to you? Are you wondering, “How can I empathize unless I first analyze whether I agree?”

People Skills Tip

Empathy is not about judgment nor agreement. It’s feeling someone’s emotion — positive or negative. Analyzing is great for solving. Empathizing is the connecting before the solving.


“If we analyze to solve before we empathize to connect, we remain at a distance.

This choice limits what we can achieve.”



Imagine the possibilities of connecting through empathy & people skills!

  • Exploring different perspectives because empathy made it safe to explore
  • Collaborating because empathy built mutual regard
  • Sharing knowledge because empathy first shared a generous heart
  • Working through difficult moments with customers because empathy showed commitment instead of lobbing blame
  • Inspiring employees during the tough times of change because empathy connected to the truth
  • Reaching a solution with the apathetic and disaffected because empathy said “you matter”



Empathizing doesn’t mean agreement. It doesn’t delay or detour progress. Empathy is the universal connector to the new and unexplored — if we empathize before we analyze.

If we analyze first, it seems like judgment and builds barriers. If we empathize first, it creates a shared exploration to a better place.


Note: When two analytic personalities get together, they may find that analysis is the bond. It is their universal connector. When different personality types interact, this is not the case.


Question: What great things have you achieved through empathy? What surprising results will you share with us?


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related post:
People Skills Empathy: Do We Show It or Project Our Needs?

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Leaders, 3 Steps to a We Culture  Image is: Two people connecting.

Leaders, 3 Steps to a We Culture. Image licensed from Istock.com.

Leaders and managers there are three often overlooked factors critical to building a WE culture.

 

I write about them in my latest guest post on Desk.com blog, Turn Your Company Culture From “I” to “We”.

 

I look forward to engaging with you today on this topic at Desk.com and I welcome your experiences, perspectives, and feedback in their comments section.


Thank you Alex Hisaka at Desk.com for this wonderful invitation and opportunity to write for your customers, followers, and collaborators.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Leaders often ask me, how long should we coach a bad attitude? Simple answer: You don’t.

When you hire someone, you are hiring the skills and talents of the individual AND a positive attitude toward work. Great employee attitude is the foundation for success.

Leaders great employee attitude is essential, not negotiable.



Define the basics of a great attitude and have your teams add to it!

A great attitude is …

  • Giving
  • Helpful
  • Contributory
  • Positive
  • Realistic
  • Reasonable
  • Resilient


A great attitude isn’t …

  • Disinterested
  • Drowsy & lethargic
  • Pessimistic
  • Head in the sand
  • Extreme rose colored view
  • Entitled and demanding
  • Greedy and self-absorbed



Leaders ask: what if the organization is going through difficulty? Is it still appropriate to expect great employee attitude? Yes and engage everyone to solve the problems.

An employee who uses these occasions to justify a bad attitude is taking you, the team, and the organization down. How does it help to allow this attitude to burden everyone? Success is tough enough to achieve; it’s impossible without great employee attitude.

What Must You Do to Model a Great Attitude

  • Empower them — for real. A great employee attitude needs to be used for something great.
  • Breed accountability not blame
  • Inspire them everyday. Be a buoy — not the buoy!
  • Listen when they have problems. Ask what resources they have and/or need to resolve the trouble. This empathizes without approving of a bad attitude.



It isn’t cold and draconian to set a basic standard of a great employee attitude. It is helpful to all involved.

    In teamwork, bad attitudes can destroy good ones.
    In customer service delivery, bad attitudes destroy revenue, customer loyalty, and sometimes the brand.
    In leadership, bad attitudes create a toxic culture that can take years to undo even after a leadership change.



A great employee attitude is essential. It’s not negotiable.


Your organization can achieve greatness, productivity, and profit — even in the toughest times — when you lead, model, and expect a great employee attitude.


Question: What other attributes would your teams add to the great attitude list?


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

In leadership people skills foster team success.  Why? Because leaders’ people skills make it easy to gather and interact for success.

No matter what the challenge and  the competencies of the team, people must metaphorically and literally gather for success.  They will want to gather because of your outstanding leadership people skills. 

The unfortunate opposite of this is talent leaving a bad boss with horrible leadership people skills.

Leadership people skills: Image is many hands.

Leadership People Skills Easy to Gather Image licensed via Istockphoto.com.

Image licensed from: Istock.com

Leadership People Skills – Make It Easy to Gather for Success!

Successful leaders draw employees together to mix their talents for unique success. They prevent the following unnecessary and useless obstacles to interaction.

  • Comparing people to their predecessors.

    Avoid statements like “You have big shoes to fill”. They don’t gather people for success. They reflect the leaders’ fear of failure. This is a worthless and unnecessary detour.

    Stay on the road to success. Gather everyone today for an even better tomorrow. Leadership people skills: Engage the talent for who they are not for who they aren’t. “We have great challenges and great talent here.” When you express your belief in them, you make it easy to gather for success!


  • Labeling struggle as childish.

    As pressure mounts and employees voice complaints, don’t show your frustration with the statement “Stop whining.” This mislabels and embarrasses adults. How will they save face and gather for success? By avoiding you or shutting up when you’re around? This is another unnecessary obstacle to success.

    The truth is complaints and whines are not the same thing. Complaints are the precursor to solutions. Whines are a child’s cry of unhappiness. Leadership people skills: Empathize with the struggle, reaffirm their talent, and elicit their solutions! This is how you make it easy to gather for success.


  • Using competitive philosophy w/ collaborative types.

    Leaders who are motivated mostly through competition often make it hard for collaborators to gather for success. Replace: “Which one of you will come up with the best solution?” with “How many great solutions can we generate?” This makes it easy for competitive and collaborative types to gather for success. Competitors will naturally see the challenge they crave and collaborators will see the connection they need.



Leaders, to ensure your people skills make it easy to gather for success – first check your beliefs.

Successful leaders believe:


  • Emotional intelligence engages people for success; it doesn’t entangle, detour, and strangle results.
  • Inspiration brings out everyone’s best; embarrassment and threats stifle the creative spirit and amputate talents.
  • Collaboration promotes an exchange of diverse views to produce one tremendous result; competition shuts out interaction in the hopes of reaching the best result.

Leaders, what are your beliefs? How comfortable are you abandoning the traditional model of hierarchy and competition? Embrace engagement, collaboration, and emotional intelligence and you will make it easy to gather for success!


Question: Leaders, how have you made it easy to gather for success? Please add your experience in the comments section below.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Leadership People Skills: Wise Leaders Choose AND not OR
People Skills: Integrity vs. Authenticity

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Leadership Challenge: Image is Bag w/ Question Mark

Leadership Challenge: Humility in Leadership Image by:Paurian via Creative Commons License.

Leadership challenge for you: You are a leader. You believe in and practice humility in leadership.

Those you lead love your style. It honors and elevates their talents to collaborative success. Your humility in leadership is free of hidden agendas, political game playing, and power struggles.


However, your leader sees your humility as a weakness. Now what?


Read my latest > Humility in Leadership Challenge: Myths, Fears, Truths

I have guided many leaders through this leadership challenge and do just that in this international leadership blogathon post.

Pose your questions and comments there and I will respond!




My thanks to Todd Nielsen and his production team for mounting this leadership blogathon and including me in it! It will continue throughout March with leadership insights from the around globe.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Engaging employees is all about connecting with them where they are — to lead to a more successful place. The more you ignite their thirst to contribute right now, the stronger their engagement to create the future.

It’s worth the effort. Engaging employees yields much that the traditional “follow orders & comply” approach cannot. Employee engagement delivers hundreds of talented eyes seeing strengths and weaknesses and anticipating opportunities and threats (SWOT).

Engaging employees taps both their foresight and perspective to consider and address the total picture. This is a competitive advantage! When every employee visions the future, they work in the present to wisely create it.

Leaders, are you engaging employees’ foresight?


Or unknowingly trapping them in the present?



Engaging Employees Foresight - Image is Radar

Engaging Employees Foresight – Image by: Happy Via

Engaging Employees – Foresight

Here is a simple effective way to tell.


Do you use the word foresight regularly?

  1. Is it mentioned at all in their job descriptions?
  2. Do you bring it up in meetings?
  3. Where do your strategies, plans, discussions, and collaborations include anticipation and forethought?
  4. When do you play ‘what if’ with them both for innovation and precaution?




Or do you …

  1. Lose patience with their innovative thinking?
  2. Mislabel their identification of weaknesses or threats as emotional worrying?
  3. Focus predominantly on current data and details?
  4. Tell them that foresight doesn’t exist? Last year I wrote about leaders engaging foresight and a very well known leadership management expert replied: Actually foresight doesn’t exist!




He was evidently referring to the definition of foresight as prescience — being able to foretell the future. Well unless you have employees who are or claim they are psychic, it’s doubtful most employees will interpret foresight this way.

    Narrow vision and pedantic discussions can sideline employees from thinking ahead to create success.



When employees identify threats and you respond “don’t worry” or “not to worry”, you trap them in the present with an emotional label.

    I worked for a leader once who responded this way — mostly to the women. He then grew frustrated when people stopped raising important issues.
    If the threat is already being addressed — say so: “Good insight. We are working on that one already.” Better yet, ask them the impact of the threat and how to remove it.



Sharing control — instead of patronizing to stay in control — ignites and sustains employee engagement as you show respect for the talents you hired.


How will you engage employees foresight today for tomorrow’s success? I am ready to help you now.



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Post:
Leaders, Engage Employees Through Entrepreneurial Spirit
Grateful for image by: Happy Via via Flickr Creative Commons License.

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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