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Leadership Training on the Program at Insight Communication

Leadership Training on the Program at Insight CommunicationsInsight Communications (made a part of Time Warner in 2012, who subsequently merged with Comcast in 2014) offered cable television and Internet service to more than 750,000 customers inPage 46 Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. One reason Insight was such an attractive investment for Time Warner was that the company had developed a good reputation for customer service. That reputation rested significantly on the hard work of the company’s customer care teams, including call center employees, service technicians, and sales representatives.The supervisors of these teams did not always know how to ensure that their employees delivered excellent service. Insight tended to select people for the supervisory jobs based on excellent technical skills—choosing people who performed well as customer service representatives or service technicians. Once in their new positions, these supervisors had to figure out for themselves how to lead others. And of course, they were not always sure how to do that.Insight therefore put together a leadership training program for its supervisors. By exploring the idea with professional organizations, the company found that no existing training program targeted supervisory-level employees in cable companies. So Insight hired one of the organizations, the Cable Center, to develop a program for the company’s needs. The Cable Center created a two-and-a-half-day class, and Insight tried it out on five supervisors as a test.The program’s content included information about how to set goals, measure results, and develop employees, as well as about leadership skills. The supervisors who participated in this pilot program were pleased with what they learned about leading others. Matt Stephens, a technical operations supervisor in Ohio, found the assessment of his personality to be especially helpful. With greater self-knowledge plus ideas for task-oriented management and ideas for coaching, Stephens reported feeling he was much better prepared to serve as a leader.Higher-level managers agreed that the leadership training was helpful. Gregg Graff, Insight’s senior vice president of field operations, says that when he monitored customer-service phone calls of employees whose supervisors had been trained, he noticed that the quality of assistance had improved. He attributes that improvement to better coaching by the supervisors. The company credited better customer service for increases in Insight’s number of customers and level of earnings. Insight Communications promoted employees with good technical skills into supervisory positions and then taught them leadership skills. Is this the best way to get supervisors to lead well? Why or why not? Identify three principles of leadership from this chapter that you think would be most important to include in the training for supervisors. Briefly explain why you selected these principles. Supervisor Matt Stephens felt that he knew more about leading, and managers see improved performance in the trained supervisors’ teams. If you were one of the supervisors, how else would you be able to tell if you were leading effectively?

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