Leading a “hybrid” team…welcome to the new world!

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What a difference a pandemic makes…professionally as opposed to from a health point of view!  Home working, the shrinking capacity of offices, this is here to stay.
The irony of course is that if you don’t trust someone, why employ them! Given that most of our roles/projects/ expectations are measured, the outcomes of our contributions are virtually all measured! Naturally communication needs to change hence the way that we lead.
Consider the following points, and then reflect on how you are leading your teams.

  1. How we measure contributions and work needs to subtly change. Some adaptability & experimentation may be needed…just in the standard office environment, people will all have different emotions, needs & requirements. Adapting goals from being the number of hours worked to milestones reached and deadlines met is a more productive way to measure progress by workers’ output rather than their input.
  2. Given the reduced face time with one another, there are all sorts of non-verbal cues and communication that are missed out on (body language), as well as more informal chat at the coffee machine that can both help team members to feel more connected and valued, but also cross team/departments togetherness…for this reason feedback also becomes more important.
  3. Encourage goal setting, team exercises, and engagement between team members. For many people, working remotely can lead to feelings of alienation, disconnection, and being alone. Fostering connection, engagement, and communication between employees is vital.
  4. Make yourself available as much as is practically possible…check in with employees to make sure that they everything they need, and while this is likely to be via phone or a video call, make sure that you give your full attention. Don’t be distracted.
  5. With the hybrid model here to stay, there may be a need to consider recruiting people who can self-manage and work independently.
  6. Lines of communication and processes may need to be considered, so that everybody in the team is clear on how to react and whom to communicate certain situations. Without having colleagues around you, it could be easy to leave people out of the loop when new information, changes, or updates need to be communicated.

Learning to trust employees and not to micromanage, becomes ever more important to help them to remain productive and feel engaged.
Employees are re-evaluating their relationship with work, and combined with the new generation of workers coming into the workforce, placing trust in employees is one of the most important things you can do as a leader of a hybrid team. Now more than ever is a time to lead, and not manage!

“Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work”.

Warren Bennis