21 Leadership and Customer Service Tips from Author Ken Blanchard

Ken Blanchard is an American author and management expert with over 60 published books on the subject of management and customer service tips. His titles include The One Minute Manager, and Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service.

We’ve compiled 21 leadership and customer service tips from Ken’s books, tweets and other resources that managers and owners of mobile service companies can use for inspiration.

1. You Are Not Your Performance

You are fabulous! But you’re human, so your performance is going to vary. Remember to keep your results in perspective.

You don’t always make the sale or achieve the goal. Remember: You are not your performance. You are a wonderful human being who just didn’t get the results you hoped for.

2. Too Many Priorities = Stress

I’ve had seasons during my career where I’ve let myself become overwhelmed with too many priorities and I’ve found myself in fire-fighting mode. Fortunately, through experience, I’ve learned how to get myself back on track. If you currently find yourself stressed-out because you’ve been cast adrift in a sea of too many priorities, follow these three steps to get back on course:

i. Acknowledge you’re not serving yourself or your team
ii. Assess where to focus your energy
iii. Act—You have to take action and make decisions about where to invest your time and energy.

3. True Leadership is Not About Your Org Chart

When anyone influences others by unleashing their power and potential to impact the greater good, they are leading at a higher level. It has nothing to do with one’s level in an organization.

4. Your People and Your Customers Matter

You have to make money to be in business, but there’s more to business than making money. The well-being of the people you work with and the clients and customers you serve is of equal importance to profit.

5. Poor Customer Service Costs More Than You Think

A new infographic published by The Ken Blanchard Companies identifies that poor customer service costs organizations in excess of $300 billion dollars annually:

customer service tips

6. “Servant Leadership” is the Way

The following quote from one of Ken’s books is actually from Simon Sinek:

“All good leaders practice servant leadership. It is a teachable, learnable, and practicable skill. And the more the servant leader practices that skill—the more they create an environment in which people can feel vulnerable at work—the more trust, loyalty, and cooperation thrive. Where weak leaders demand trust be given to them, servant leaders inspire it.”

7. The Glass is 100% Full

As humans, we often tend to look at the dark side of things. For many of us, the proverbial glass is always half empty.

There’s nothing wrong with identifying negative situations and working to make them better. The trick is to keep your eye on the positive. No one expressed this better than retired basketball legend Michael Jordan, who said:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

8. Keep Your Praise-to-Criticism Ratio at 4:1 for a Healthy Workplace

“I was involved in a corporate study where criticisms and praisings from managers to direct reports were tabulated and the reactions measured. The study concluded that in a healthy workplace environment there need to be at least four times as many positive interactions as negative ones between manager and direct report—a 4:1 ratio.

“When there was one praising for each criticism (1:1), people perceived their relationship with their boss to be negative. When the ratio was changed and there were two praisings to one criticism (2:1), people still saw their manager as being all over them. It wasn’t until there were four praisings to one criticism (4:1) that people responded that they had a good relationship with their boss.”

9. This is the Most Important Decision Every Leader Must Make

I would argue there is one decision more important than any other you face, and the way you respond to that decision will shape the course of all the others you make. What is that decision? It’s the decision to trust.

We all have moments of trust where we can decide to move toward connecting, engaging, and trusting one another. Or we can decide to move away from one another by choosing fear, distrust, self-protection, control, or ego. Since a large degree of leadership is about accomplishing work through others, leaders must trust and depend on people at some point. It’s impossible to do everything on your own, and besides, it’s undemocratic and boring to do it all yourself!

10. Savor Some Solitude

In the age of information and round-the-clock news, many of us feel swamped by obligations that constantly require our attention. We can all relate to feeling bogged down by responsibilities. It’s only human to feel that balancing a job, a family, and flooded inbox makes taking time for yourself an impossible luxury.

It’s true that taking time for solitude in a busy world is challenging. In the rare moments where we have time to ourselves, relaxing can feel unsettling because we are used to doing, not being.

Solitude helps us know ourselves. When we know ourselves, we’re able to make decisions that match who we are and what we value. If we don’t take the time to know ourselves, our decisions are often based on what’s popular, rather than what’s best.

11. Apologize, Already!

Time and again, I’ve noticed that many of us have a lot of trouble apologizing. I’ve observed this in myself, as well. One reason it’s hard to take responsibility for our bad behavior is that doing wrong is inconsistent with our view of ourselves as ethical people. As a result, many of us avoid apologies like the plague.

What I’ve realized is that difficulties apologizing are tied to pride and ego. When we sincerely apologize, we are taking our egos out of the equation and being honest. We are practicing integrity when we apologize because we are acknowledging that what we did or failed to do is inconsistent with who we want to be.

Despite the challenges they pose to our egos, sincere apologies are one of the most powerful tools we have.

12. Do What the Team Needs

13. Catch People Doing Something Right

When was the last time you praised a direct report, a colleague—or your boss? I’ll bet many of you can remember when you praised a direct report, but you may have to think long and hard to remember the last time you recognized the efforts of a peer or leader.

Catching people doing something right is a powerful management concept to use with direct reports. It can also be a great way to build trust and camaraderie with others. Think about the last time you were recognized for your efforts. I’ll bet you felt pretty satisfied and encouraged to keep up the good performance. No matter what your role, you have the power to ignite that same reaction in others.

14. It May be Time to Revisit Your Vision

Multiple priorities. Duplication of efforts. False starts. Wasted energy. Do any of these working conditions sound familiar? If so, it may be time to revisit your three-part vision:

What is your purpose?
What will the future look like if you are successful?
And what values will guide you as you work toward your picture of the future?

15. Success is Not Forever and Failure Isn’t Fatal

16. Set Goals

customer service skills

17. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

18. Influence, Not Authority

Leadership is an influence process where you empower people to be part of the solution. As a leader, do you want to serve or be served?

19. Make Time for Your Team Members

20. Take Your Customer Experience from Ordinary to Legendary

An increasingly complex business environment requires an engaging and easy-to-understand service vision says Vicki Halsey, co-author of Legendary Service: The Key Is to Care.

Halsey and Kathy Cuff talk about legendary service in this 43-minute podcast.

21. Say Those Three Little Words

Life is short. Tell people you love them every chance you get.

*All content is from the Ken Blanchard Companies. 

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