Why Every Contact Center Leader Needs a Mentor (or Several)

By Jen Jackson | April 16, 2019

There is a school of thought that the difference between good leaders and great ones is an appetite for learning. Warren Buffet’s 500-page-a-day reading habit is a good example.

And I couldn’t agree more with author Simon Sinek that “great leaders are those who consider themselves students, regardless of their status.”

That’s why I’ve found mentorship to be one of the most valuable tools in my personal leadership toolkit. And it is why I think everyone should have a mentor (or several).

Here are four of the many benefits of mentorship:

You Get an Important, New Perspective

One of the biggest benefits of having a mentor is that he or she can give you a new perspective. For example, one of my mentors is a chief operating officer. Because he works outside the contact center, he offers a different point of view than the one I have from my contact center vantage point. While my dedicated focus on the contact center generally serves me well, it can also stymy me when an entirely new approach is the best solution to a challenge.

A different perspective also better positions me to provide support to other departments. I can better understand their focus and what’s important to them. It gives me broader awareness of what other groups need from me and my team, and what I can do to deliver value to the whole organization.

I also have a CEO, a chief customer officer and a vice president of finance as mentors. Each provides me with insights I simply would not have if I were operating exclusively from a narrower point of view.

You Can Leverage Outside Ideas

By sharing how they’ve overcome their own challenges, my mentors have helped me get unstuck from old ways of doing things, which just weren’t achieving the results I wanted. You might be stuck on something your mentors have already overcome, and they can share with you how they did it.

Similarly, it can be valuable to have mentors who work outside your industry. Some of the best ideas and insights are sparked by conversations that have nothing to do with the hot topics in your immediate world. These ideas and insights can be extremely useful to your team and organization, especially if you’re trying to innovate and make big improvements in how your contact center operates.

You Can Test the Direction of Your Career Path

Exposure to mentors and networks outside your industry is also an important means of confirming if you’re on the right career path. When you connect with leaders in other industries, and in other roles, it opens your eyes to different career options. It can spark the question, “Am I doing what I really want to be doing? Or would I be more inspired and effective doing something else?”

If you decide to make a professional pivot, a network of contacts in the area you want to pursue is helpful for initially finding a new position, as well as guiding you to succeed on your newly chosen path.

It Reinforces Your Value

I don’t hesitate to advocate for my team, but I’m sometimes reluctant to fight as fiercely for myself. I always give priority to my company, employees or customers, but usually not myself. This is another area where a mentor can help.

My mentors give me their perspectives on my value. They’ll point out when I’m shortchanging myself or the work I do, and they encourage me to get the recognition I deserve.

 Download the eBook

Successful leaders inspire others to adopt better habits and stick with them. By example, you extend the benefits of mentorship to your team.

Further sharpen your leadership skills by downloading a free copy of the Serenova e-book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Content Center Leaders.


Jen Jackson is Vice President of Customer Success at Serenova, where she leads the global team dedicated to helping customers achieve quantifiable business outcomes and exceptional customer experiences. Her career includes deep contact center experience and leadership roles at Dell, as well as emerging companies like Kinnser Software (now WellSky) and Neverfail Group. Jen is known for a people-first philosophy of leadership aligned with today's workforce and technology.