In a 2015 Disney Institute blog post, we explored The Role Of Positive Peer Pressure In Workplace Culture--the idea that healthy peer-to-peer relationships contribute to a healthy workplace culture where individuals at all levels are comfortable holding each other accountable. In other words, it is possible to create a service culture where everyone leads by example.

Why is this important? Because exceptional service cannot be limited to front-line employees alone! In fact, at Disney Institute we teach students in our professional development training courses that, however complete your overall service program, your efforts will collapse if managers do not reinforce the right behaviors.

Reinforcing the right behaviors isn't just telling others when they are doing things correctly or incorrectly. Rather, we have found that when leaders also reinforce the right behaviors through their own actions, it sets the tone for high expectations throughout the entire organization and establishes a degree of accountability at all levels.

The good news is that this is achievable and sustainable.

Here are four ways to help leaders reinforce the right behaviors and support exceptional customer service:

  1. Build enough time into schedules for leaders to practice "management by wandering around." Simply being present in the operation allows leaders to both model service behaviors and proactively engage with the people and processes at the heart of the organization.
  2. Enable leaders to "walk in employees' shoes." At Disney, we use cross-utilization shifts, where leaders have an opportunity during peak periods to fill a front-line shift, serving Guests in an operating area. Leaders who do this invariably come back with stories of positive interactions with Guests and fellow Cast Members.
  3. Encourage leaders to intentionally look for opportunities catch other leaders and front-line employees doing their jobs well. Provide your team with the freedom and resources to reward great customer service when and where it occurs.
  4. Ensure that leaders actively participate in regular training events that reinforce the organization's values and update service guidelines. Playing an active role in training sends a massive signal to the organization about what leaders truly value.

How do leaders positively impact the delivery of quality service in your organization?


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