Spending time recently at the airport on my way to run a training workshop, inspired this latest blog. To while away some of the hours I had due to a missed connection, I decided to have a coffee. I was left so deflated by my experience, or lack thereof, it left me wondering what is going wrong in today’s businesses. It seems to be a common theme in many service based industries that staff are disengaged and dissatisfied, with this lack of enthusiasm for their job being taken out on the customer. My experience is that bad service is becoming too commonplace, and people are desensitised to it. Not enough people speak up when they receive bad service, they just don’t go back and staff are not given any incentive or need to change and the cycle keeps going. I am one of the minority though, and I do speak up. The trouble is, not many staff knows how to handle feedback. I am regularly met with a blank face, grimace or they will just ignore me, seemingly because they don’t care and have no ownership of their role or part in the business. My question being, where is the leader and what are they doing to help their staff create a customer service experience people want to go back for, or tell their friends and family about? A leader’s role is to manage, motivate and inspire their team and create followers. In other words, lead the way with a powerful and meaningful example; clearly define the culture and model the behaviour they want to see on a daily basis. A good business gets the basics right. They have a clearly defined vision of their business, what they want to achieve and their values. A great leader takes these vision and values and makes them relevant to the staff by assigning their role in bringing them to life. If you are a business that prides itself on customer service, ensure the team knows what your customer experience should look like. Map out a process for them to follow, to ensure consistency and the team know what they need to get done and most importantly why. When you walk into a business you can sense a buzz in the air that a high performing team create; there is energy, professionalism and high productivity amongst the team. You can also smell lethargy and stagnation in the air of a business too. To create the former and rid your air of the later, it is vital to create and share your vision, as the leader, of how you see your team performing as a high performing team, regularly reinforce the teams purpose and the role they individually play in achieving the business outcomes, catch people doing things right, display their achievements for all to see and celebrate the successes. Leadership is powerful. It literally can make or break a business. It can be the difference between an average and an exceptional business. It really can inspire others to achieve their full potential. Leadership must be practiced but it will never be perfected. The road to successful leadership never ends, as the learning should never stop. Neither does the sense of fulfilment at helping people achieve their full potential.