Leading Hybrid Teams: The Joy and Frustration
By: Patty Prosser
There are countless benefits for both employees and leaders, when operating in a hybrid work environment! And, just to clarify, what we define as hybrid is one where employees split or share their time between in-person work and remote work. For many companies, it’s an adjustment to figure out the best ways to navigate this type of environment- and the joys and frustrations that come with it. The role of a leader has never been more important, as hybrid work environments become a part of our everyday business reality.
We all enjoy a little flexibility and autonomy in how and when work gets done. However, many of our teams still must work together, and while that work sometimes occurs in separate places, collaboration and camaraderie can’t suffer. That’s why, as a leader, you must be intentional about creating and maintaining an environment where your team still feels “connected”. It is equally critical to make certain important and necessary information isn’t getting lost in the shuffle and productivity doesn’t suffer.
In this hybrid environment, it’s completely common to feel isolated and disconnected and even question your own role, and whether you and your team are really making a difference. Regardless of what you are personally feeling, your role requires you to create an environment where everyone can give their best and stay connected- whether meeting in-person or remote!
You can embrace the joys that come from managing and leading in a hybrid environment. Hybrid environments lend themselves to people being more creative, being more willing to share ideas and opinions, and speaking up to leverage their strengths more effectively. When your team can contribute, share ideas, and be empowered- lots of new ideas and process improvements can bubble up! This empowerment and creativity is fostered with greater connectedness,
Here are some key tips to help your hybrid team feel more connected and engaged:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! Express yourself clearly, effectively and concisely. Research shows that you have to communicate things six different times in three different ways, in order for people to fully absorb it.
- Trust your team members. Give your team the opportunity to take risks and try more innovative solutions to old problems.
- Provide frequent feedback, both formally and informally, in a timely fashion, as much as possible. Don’t let bad habits or bad attitudes go unchecked too long.
- Schedule frequent “check ins” and face time (with no agenda) with your team. The physical absence doesn’t have to take away from the connectedness, but the interactions won’t happen as organically as they would in person.
- Make certain to take time to share praise and compliments for individuals and the team. Share successes and make certain their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
- Look for co-working opportunities to work collaboratively on projects, both in-person and virtually on a group video call.
- Take notice when team members need help- whether they ask for it or not- and offer assistance.
- Don’t neglect accountability. Make sure to communicate expectations, monitor quality and measure outcomes. Confront problems before they get out of hand.
- Finally, find opportunities to make sure, when you are together in-person, you make time for casual and social interaction- not just work!
Hybrid work, is here to stay! As the leader, you need to understand your role, and embrace opportunities to show your team that supporting them, is your TOP priority! For more information, visit our website at www.cleindy.com.