How job simulations fast track leadership development in call centers


As successful contact center managers know, agent job performance is often not the best predictor of future success as a team leader. In fact, organizations often make the mistake of promoting the best agents, only to discover that they are uncomfortable or ineffective managing others. At that point, the contact center not only has a leadership issue—it also has lost its top performing agents.

So what is the answer to predicting leadership talent and helping the right agents advance? It may be easier than you think! Here are three keys.

1. Discover which agents have true leadership talent, and which do not

It is not difficult to find agents who have an interest in becoming team leaders and have a proven performance record. What is difficult is knowing which of those agents actually have what it takes to manage and lead others.

As we’ve highlighted in recent blogs, it takes a unique blend of personal attributes, skills, and behaviors to succeed in contact center leadership. That’s why, based on 20+ years of contact center research, we created a simulation specifically designed to assess and develop these key success factors.

Our  award-winning EASy Simulation® for Team Leaders immerses participants in the team leader role where they must inspire, coach, and motivate agents to achieve peak performance. The simulation is scientifically proven to predict top-performing team leaders, identifying people who are 2 to 5 times more likely to:

  • Effectively resolve work problems
  • Successfully negotiate compromises
  • Balance business needs with individual and team needs
  • Communicate with clarity and enthusiasm
  • Take quick and strategic action
  • Set a positive example for their teams

2. Outline a clear transition strategy for top candidates

Once you have identified agents that possess strong leadership potential and have expressed an interest in advancing to a leadership role, you can begin working together to create a clear path for their career development.

Contact centers often help current agent transition to their new role by splitting their time between agent responsibilities and team leader tasks. Clear expectations and effective communication are especially important at this critical stage. As one new team leader states in a recent article,

“. . . the amount of responsibility I have has increased substantially from when I started as team lead, so it’s important to have ongoing dialogue to make sure you and your manager are in sync.”

To help make this dialogue as simple and clear as possible, we designed our team leader simulation to automatically create personalized coaching and development guides, based on each candidate’s individual assessment results. These guides serve as a discussion document to encourage open communication between the agent and mentor, and prescribe specific on-the-job activities agents can do to prepare for a team leader position.

For more information about activities that prepare agents for team leadership, check out these 10 tips from

3. Engage leaders in their own development

In his article, The #1 Reason Leadership Development Fails, Forbes contributor Mike Myat states, “I have always said it is impossible to have an enterprise which is growing and evolving if leadership is not.”

So even after agents successfully transition to leadership, it’s critical to continue the focus on development. And, as Myat points out, the number one leadership development mistake organizations make is confusing training with development. Training focuses on content and curriculum, while development focuses on people and maximizing potential.

The key to transformational leadership is keeping team leaders engaged and involved in their own development. So, it’s critical to look at the performance level of existing team leaders as well as those who are transitioning into this new role.  EASy Simulation for Team Leaders can be used to diagnose performance levels at all stages whether the goal is identifying potential leaders, or identifying the development opportunities of established leaders.

The simple fact is that employees advance faster and remain longer in organizations that invest in their personal growth and career development. Armed with an objective assessment of leadership potential and a strategic plan tailored to the needs of each candidate, you will be well on your way to developing the best new leadership talent for your contact center.

To learn more about our team leader simulation, or to take a free-test drive, click here. Or contact us to set up a time to discuss ways to maximize leadership potential within your organization.