When things change fast and new challenges arrive, sometimes going back to basics is best.
When your team is in the same office, leading them is simple – everyone is there and usually available. In-person conversations benefit from body language cues to help you understand how your words are received. It’s easier to check how things are going because you’re all in the same place. There is a palpable connection when you speak face to face.
Now, we’re facing a hybrid world. Zoom meetings are here to stay. Some people are back in the office; some are at home. Maybe on different days. Sometimes your team members are visible and sometimes they are not. And there is a real challenge to staying focused in online meetings, which allow many distractions, especially if microphones are turned off.
Leadership skills for hybrid work
How do you lead in such an environment? It’s good to remember what being a leader is all about…
Leaders are strategists. They provide direction and meaning. They make choices about who and what to invest in; how to ensure that the focus of all the individuals in their team is aligned with the organisational goals and strategies.
Leaders are communicators and influencers. They build mutually beneficial relationships and work with key stakeholders both internally and externally.
Leaders are coaches. They mentor and develop every individual on their team. When they achieve their full potential, your business delivers results.
How to lead a hybrid team
Juggling all these roles is challenging; some will come naturally, others need a conscious effort, and some you may require support with. For instance, you might be a natural strategist, staying right on top of the progress being made towards your goals. But maybe there’s a bit more you can do to influence and promote your team’s accomplishments. Maybe the upheaval with hybrid working has meant creating a motivational environment and managing performance problems has been more challenging than normal.
During the pandemic and remote working, this third role – the coach – has never been more important. Research has shown that when team members feel isolated or anxious, good leaders look for opportunities to provide positive reinforcement and give credit where it’s due. This results in a team that is more motivated, productive, and confident.
This is unlikely to change with the shift to hybrid working and is likely to be a long-term outcome of the bizarre period we’ve all lived through. Getting really clear about your role – and focusing on the aspects that count — means that you can continue to deliver results no matter what challenges you face.
Learn about and explore what exemplary people management looks like in a hybrid working environment. Register for our upcoming three-part online series, People management in a hybrid world with Guy Boyd from 7 – 9 December, 2–5 pm online each day.
This series will explore leadership in turbulent times, provide an introduction to coaching, and help you provide actionable feedback to those you lead.
About the author
Guy Boyd has more than 25 years of experience in consulting and leadership. He has led teams in the healthcare, airline and safety consulting sectors, as well as worked extensively as an external adviser to organisations from SMEs to multinationals, helping them to transform their businesses and teams through the development of skills, expertise and mindset.
He has delivered numerous virtual programmes in leadership, sales, business development, and customer service excellence since the start of the pandemic, for a range of clients in sectors as diverse as professional services, construction, manufacturing, IT systems integration, and aerospace.