A Successful Hybrid Team Has More Conversations than You Think

A Successful Hybrid Team has more conversations than you think Team Anywhere Leadership Podcast Episode 54
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In today’s episode we interview Dave McKeown, author of The Self-Evolved Leader. In this week’s episode, Dave talks about how successful hybrid teams need to have more conversations than they might think as we figure out the hybrid work environment. Additionally, Dave discusses how the pandemic shifted what leadership styles are working. The old “here’s my vision, follow me” approach no longer works as leaders are called upon to embrace the unknown and create a unified vision with their team. 

Successful hybrid teams will have to view the unknown future as a growth opportunity for themselves and their team members. These teams will recognize that embracing uncertainty is the best environment for everyone to develop. When these team members become Self-Evolved leaders, they will take the opportunity to reach out, ask questions, and challenge their team members as they all grow together and navigate teaming from anywhere. 

Leadership Styles Changed in 2020

Even before the brink of the pandemic, the older leadership style of the powerful and confident leader with the strong vision that called for others to follow was becoming less effective. The older style of “I know what the future is, follow me” caused a form of skepticism from realistic  employees. With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, that leadership style became irrelevant almost overnight. As employees began to work from home, not a single leader could say they knew what the future held. 

This caused a new leadership style to become more powerful – a leadership style that is more authentic and that embraces the fact that leaders don’t always know everything. The leaders that became more successful were the ones that were asking “How are you really doing” and “How can I help you right now”. The Servant Leadership style instantly became the new norm. 

Leadership today is about not being able to lead with true certainty. Leaders need to know how to lead with a degree of uncertainty and create a shared future over being the one with the vision.

In the hybrid workplace, our leaders need to focus on achieving goals and making sure team members are developing. Balancing these two focus areas is harder with remote work. Leaders need to be highly intentional about creating symbiotic conversations that create mutual relationships between remote and in-office employees. Because of this, leaders need to avoid the easy approach of returning to the office and then tagging on remote workers. Leaders are called upon today to create a whole new design for work. 

They Have Conversations that Create Team Flow

Conversations that create team flow should encourage teams to take on new tasks so that the leader can shift into a more strategic mode. This allows team members to take the load off the leader’s plate, and therefore allows the leader time and space to add value right back to their team members. Leaders should consider what tasks they can give away—even if it involves spending some time coaching others—in order to then gain more strategic space.

  • What tasks can give away, even if someone needs a little support so that they can grow, allowing you more time in the strategic space?

They Have Conversations that Create Shared Responsibility

The hybrid work environment simply can not rely on email. Hybrid teams must ensure they  have good tools and systems in place. The work has to be looked at, talked about and executed in a way that everyone can access at any time. In this way, there is a shared responsibility to get things done and fill in the gaps.

Shared Responsibility in Hybrid Meetings and Vision

One of the mistakes teams must avoid is conducting meetings that favor only office employees. Instead, they must become masters of hybrid meetings where there is equal focus on BOTH people in the office AND those outside the office. With equal focus on the entire workforce “from anywhere,” it is then easier to create a vision that encompasses the new hybrid environment.

Shared Responsibilities in Creating a Vision

If you haven’t already started to reimagine what your team and company is going to look like post pandemic, it’s time. Identify what has shifted and what hasn’t shifted. Begin to plan out for the next 18 months so that you get a head start on growth, and have a ruthless clarity on the next 30-90 days. Managing the next 18 months, and watching the warning signs, are going to help organizations get a head. 

Leaders Partner with Team Members through Tough Conversations 

When leaders have symbiotic conversations with their team members, they are able to approach difficult conversations easier. For example, as leaders approach team members who would prefer to stay remote and could possibly be looking for other jobs, leaders can ask,

“Rather than going to find a job elsewhere, what can we do to help you work here in a way that works best for you?”

When it comes to the new work plan, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but leaders and companies are being challenged to support each individual’s unique needs. 

There is a chance that some individuals may choose to leave the organization. This isn’t necessarily a bad outcome to get to. Sometimes it’s the best outcome as long as the process you went through honors and respects both parties. 

People quitting is the sheer nature of the labor market. But companies are now being challenged with potential employees wanting a clear approach on how they will be supported through hybrid work and work life balance. 

What is going to keep people with your company versus another company? We thought it was culture but it seems to have a lot more to do with humanity. Companies are going to have to pay employees a lot of money to leave a company where they feel valued, supported and cared about. 

Goals for Leadership Development

Typically leadership development occurs within organizations through a leadership training program. Self-Evolved leaders go beyond typical training programs and seek their own development by constantly seeking both positive and negative feedback and engaging in self-reflection. In turn, they challenge their teams to be more mindful and think in different ways.

How to Engage Your Hybrid Team

Engage your team by asking questions like:

  • How do we ensure we facilitate team flow?
  • What can we do to ensure work goes to the right places?
  • How are we continuing to connect with each other on a personal level?
  • Is there a way we can tackle this problem in innovative ways?
  • How can we create feedback loops to combine our intelligence?
  • What went well in how we tackled that project?
  • What didn’t work well in that project and what should we do differently next time?

About Dave McKeown

Dave McKeown helps individuals, teams, and organizations to lead with authenticity, purpose, and effectiveness. 

He has a wealth of experience in connecting individual and team performance to improved business results with a particular focus on fast-growing, complex organizations. As Founder and CEO of Outfield Leadership, Dave speaks, coaches and trains on the mindset, skillset, and toolkit needed to master the craft of leadership. His goal is to help organizations build a culture of real, authentic but ultimately results-driven leadership.

He has shared his leadership strategies at the Inc. 500 and Growco conferences, Bank of America, for the British Government, Entrepreneur’s Organization, Bamboo HR and countless others. He has worked with leaders at Spectrum Health, Renewal by Andersen, Akamai, NYSE and many smaller, fast-growing organizations.

Dave has a Free Guide: Six Secrets of Effective Strategic Planning. Discover how to set and achieve your strategic goals with ease which listeners can download from www.outfieldleadership.com

To learn more about how a successful hybrid team has more conversations, download this episode now.

Online Courses for Leaders Leading a Team From Anywhere:

Check out these online courses for remote leaders from the Team Anywhere Team.

How to Be an Effective Remote Manager | How to Build Virtual Accountability

A Successful Hybrid Team Quotes:

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