There are unique challenges leaders face as they lead a hybrid team. Leaders need to focus on common issues that occur in hybrid teams like inclusion between the hybrid employees and the in-person employees and offering support that provides unique needs for each employee. Leaders today need to be more authentic, more empathetic, and much more real. Now is the time to demonstrate the authenticity that our team members have always wanted at work, and remember that bringing your authentic self to work is good for business.
Have you seen the same resilience in the workforce in reaction to COVID that you’ve seen in children as they adapt?
The workforce has shown tremendous resilience. The managers who are regularly checking in, offering support and encouragement to their staff, seeing how they’re coping are doing well in building resilience on their teams. These leaders are embracing this new normal, which is anything but normal, and understand that things are going to be different.
The leaders who are struggling now seem to be the ones who struggled before the pandemic. They are the ones who didn’t have relationships with their employees, hadn’t built trust and misperceived their team members as robots.
Lead A Hybrid Team By
Focusing on Inclusion –
Make sure everyone is on the same playing field. Not everyone is ready to go back to the office right now. Even though you have some people in the office, and even though we all recognize the value of face-to-face communication, we still need to be having Zoom meetings so that one person isn’t left behind. We’re all on the same playing field when we do this. You need to make sure everyone is on the same playing field.
Discover Your Unconscious Biases
Remote employees will exacerbate your own baggage and biases about particular employees. Who you think is your star player you could tend to give them the benefit of the doubt more often than your average player. You need to make sure that you are constantly asking yourself, are there people on your team that you have not given a fair share to? And what would that look like if you did? Ensure that you are not just reinforcing your own biases and predispositions about particular employees. These biases are now diving into who’s remote and who is staying home? You must be aware around all places.
It’s kind of like parenting, each child needs something different, and it’s an ebb and flow. There are some children that are just going to be needier no matter what. As the leader, it’s about you being fair and giving the benefit of the doubt to some employees versus other employees. Leaders need to remember the social issues, particularly minorities and let them know that you are there for them and that you get it.
To offer support to your team right now:
Leaders should be seeing changes in people and being in tune with them. Make sure they know that you’re thinking about them and that you get it. Leaders need to look for signs of burnout. Are you noticing employees who are acting differently? Are you giving them time to talk about their personal life? Are they now quick to anger when before they were calm and composed? Are they now quiet when they use to be very outgoing?
Be More Authentic
Bringing your authentic self to work is good business. Know your employees as humans not as robots. Younger leaders are really thriving because they’ve been able to bring in this authenticity that they’ve always wanted to bring into work. We spend a lot of time at work, and to have to feel like you need to be someone else is hard, it gets old and it’s uncomfortable. If you’re not authentic, you’re not able to do your best work.
Now this begs the question, who are you? Who is your whole self? It’s requiring reflection from many leaders and workers and some are struggling with it more than others. We have to redefine ourselves.
Just like any other new experience, learning how to lead a hybrid team brings its own set of unique challenges. But reviewing and focusing on these points will help you bridge the gap between your remote employees and in person staff to help create one cohesive team.
About Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight is a freelance journalist in Boston who writes a regular column for Harvard Business Review. Her work has been published in the New York Times, USA Today, and the Financial Times.
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