In today’s fast-paced and hyper-connected world, exceptional customer experiences (CX) have become the holy grail for businesses striving to thrive in competitive markets. And at the forefront of this quest stands inspiring CX leaders, the driving force behind transforming mundane transactions into memorable interactions.
Often, the leaders we remember the most are the ones who inspire us to take action or to better ourselves and make an impact. Many leaders aspire to achieve the goal of being inspiring, but it’s a skill that doesn’t always come naturally to those who attempt it. Recently, a Gallup survey showed that only 22 percent of teams think their leaders have a clear direction of where to take the company.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how to get on the right path to becoming an inspiring CX leader and how this trait can benefit you, your team, and your company overall.
A Delicate Balance
In an ambitious endeavor to unravel the enigma behind truly inspirational leaders, Bain & Company embarked on a groundbreaking research program that kicked off with a comprehensive survey involving 2,000 people. Contrary to popular belief, it appears that sheer inspiration alone is insufficient to forge a remarkable leader.
While leaders who solely prioritize delivering outstanding performance may incur costs that organizations are reluctant to bear, those fixated solely on inspiration often discover that their ability to motivate their teams is undermined by lackluster outcomes. A delicate balance must be struck.
The secret lies in the art of inspirational leadership—an art characterized by the adept utilization of unique strengths to motivate individuals and teams, propelling them forward. However, true inspirational leaders do not stop there. They go one step further, ensuring that their teams remain accountable for the results they produce. By doing so, they not only inspire but also unlock the untapped potential for elevated performance, embracing empowerment over traditional command and control tactics.
The core essence of inspirational leadership lies in this harmonious fusion of qualities—a fusion that not only sparks motivation but also fuels the fires of ambition and accountability. An inspiring leader is passionate, confident, emotionally intelligent, decisive, and strategic. These qualities exist in their words, their actions, and their energy. Inspiring leaders give people purpose, motivate them to action, and provide more fulfillment in their professional careers.
When employees go beyond mere engagement and become truly inspired, organizations witness remarkable breakthroughs. Inspired employees exhibit exceptional productivity and ignite a spark in their colleagues, encouraging them to reach even greater heights.
Inspiring CX Leaders Share Their Failures
Embrace your failures as a leader and share them with your teams. It’s about having the courage to be authentic. True leaders inspire by taking risks and standing up for their beliefs. They lead by setting a genuine example. Additionally, they remain adaptable and are willing to change direction when necessary.
Embody Your Brand Values
The most inspiring action a leader can take is to personify their company’s values. For many organizations, their fundamental belief is centered around “People First.” This means prioritizing employees and customers above all else. This belief is put into practice daily by actively listening to individuals.
Leaders can nurture this ability by taking gradual and consistent measures, which will make a meaningful difference as they persevere.
Genuine leaders inspire by being true to themselves, fostering genuine connections with others. They openly share personal stories, including their backgrounds, the obstacles they’ve overcome, and their aspirations for the future. There’s no pretense or artificiality about them, which earns them a higher level of respect from others.
They take pride in their identity and don’t feel the need to conceal it. Crucially, they consistently exhibit the same authentic behavior regardless of the circumstances, whether at work or during leisure time.
An empathetic leader recognizes and acknowledges the emotions and perspectives of others and takes them into consideration when making decisions and taking action. Empathy is an essential part of many leadership styles, from democratic to affiliative, because it is what allows us to build connections and influence others. Yet until recently, it was overlooked as a soft skill rather than a necessary one.
Inspiring CX Leaders Are Passionate
Effective leaders not only possess inspiration but also demonstrate a sincere passion for their work and objectives. They approach their vision or mission with enthusiasm and vigor. Passion has a way of spreading, and when a leader genuinely cares about their endeavors, it becomes evident and can even resonate with others.
It is beneficial when leaders communicate their reasons for being passionate and emphasize the importance of everyone aligning with the broader vision.
Cultivate a Customer-Centric Culture
Building a customer-centric culture starts from within. Ensure that every member of your team understands the importance of CX and how their contributions impact it. Encourage a sense of ownership and pride in delivering exceptional service and recognize and reward employees who go above and beyond to delight customers.
A skilled and inspiring CX leader acts as the maestro of customer-centricity in an organization, similar to a conductor guiding an orchestra. They define the symphony that is customer-centricity, ensuring that every employee follows the same score, using the agreed-upon tools and methods. They empower everyone to excel in their role while holding everyone accountable for taking action.
In this context, it’s crucial to remember that CX is not limited to a specific department; it is an overarching attitude that permeates the entire organization.
When we envision an inspiring leader, we often focus on their ability to communicate effectively. However, it’s equally important for leaders to excel in listening. Without this skill, how can they truly understand and acknowledge the thoughts and perspectives of others?
Inspirational leaders create space for people to express themselves, valuing their ideas and taking time to reflect on them rather than dismissing them as insignificant. By demonstrating attentive listening, leaders inspire others to wholeheartedly join their journey. Listening serves as a powerful means of establishing genuine connections with people. It demonstrates that you are fully present and genuinely interested in their thoughts and opinions.
Lead Transformative Change
Inspiring CX leaders foster an environment where employees can thrive personally and as a team. Research shows that when employees feel inspired, they demonstrate higher productivity and stronger dedication to their organization. Moreover, teams led by an inspiring individual who provides positive support and clear guidance have a greater chance of surpassing their objectives.
Want to learn more about inspirational leadership? Join us in Nashville for Customer Response Summit (CRS) on September 20-22, 2023.
Keynote speaker Carolyne Truelove, Vice President, Reservations and Customer Relations at American Airlines, will be addressing how to: “Ignite the Leader Within: Embracing the Power of Inspiration for Extraordinary Results.”