Effective Hybrid Team Leadership: The New Performance Factor For Successful Companies – Forbes

Posted: October 28, 2020 at 6:54 pm

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Variations in employee circumstances, preferences or requirements within the same workforce could lead to the rise ofHybrid Teams, which areteamsin which some members work in the one co-located workplace while others work remotely.

JP Morgan Chase led the way calling certain employees back to the office. Now Googles CEO has alluded that his company will follow suit, even after announcing earlier that employees could work from home until the summer of 2021. Covid-19 cases are rising in 21 states and there still isnt a vaccine, so many people are probably wondering, why the sudden shift to return to the office?

Researchers at the Martec Group, a market research firm, know why. The research firm conducted an Emotional Intelligence survey of 1,214 individuals across various industries, demographics, and seniority levels and found that employees reporting good mental health has dropped from 62% to a mere 28%. Productivity has also taken a hit. 40% of employees saying their productivity has worsened at home, 42% say they have less focus and 42% also say their stress has increased.

With so many companies facing this move towards a hybrid in-office and work-from-home approach its critical for leaders everywhere to get clear on what needs to be implemented, changed and supported.

The good news is that Hybrid Teams arent necessarily new. Companies that have leveraged global and satellite teams have been working with Hybrid Teams for years. Though there are some easy lessons to glean from their experiences, there are some unique factors when it comes to Hybrid Teams in todays climate.

Leaders need to understand and plan for the key factors that will impact Hybrid Teams. Due to the pandemic, there are levels of risk, emotion and compliance that make the management of Hybrid Teams more complex.

The mass and rapid transition to a remote workforce has surfaced these key issues:

Technology & Resource Reliability Unreliable internet service, equipment that doesnt match the office space quality and the lack of home space to ensure distraction free work.

Personal Obligations Individual familial and personal obligations or health concerns are no longer separate from their job obligations.

Rapid Pace of Change Rules and regulations are shifting constantly from a federal, local and internal company level.

Increased Complexity of Change Lack of clear-cut solutions that can meet the demands of the various nuances such as health requirements, scheduling, availability and deadlines.

Health Risks & Protocols Multiple gray areas and evolving guidelines regarding workplaces and in-person interaction.

Ensuring staff feels and is safe by following all health and safety protocols issued at the federal, state, county and company level is going to pose its own challenges. But leaders will also need to level up their skills and approach to ensure they are able to effectively build the synergy and productivity in their blended team.

Chuck Bean, Chief Marketing Officer with the Martec Group shares, The logistics, though they may be challenging, are easier to solve for because theyre tactical. Leaders will have to navigate a lot of the grayer areas to break down the dichotomy of in office and at home team dynamics.

Key areas to focus on include:

Self-Awareness Getting honest about their preferences regarding working in the office or remotely is critical to ensuring they arent penalizing the members of the team operating on the opposite side of their work biases. This means if you have a preference for seeing people working in the office, youll have to combat the urge to discount work done by those working virtually and not as visible to you. Or you may have to work harder to connect with the in-office team members if you prefer the virtual side of work.

The managers preference can no longer be the guiding force on managing Hybrid Teams. Its critical for leaders to be able to foster trust and productivity across all team members. Well need to really listen to our employees the way we listen to our customers to set us all up for success, advises Bean.

Purpose Driven Decisions Its more critical today than ever before to have a vision for the team. Its also critical that everyone understands the purpose behind operating as a hybrid team that goes beyond logistics. Discussing with the team the benefits to morale, creativity, availability and engagement should also be clear to everyone.

Interpersonal Skills Managers can no longer let office tensions slide, assuming time will work things out. Without the opportunities for frequent engagement, resentments tend to grow and spread. Mediation skills will be paramount, as well as the ability to foster a culture of dialogue, feedback and candor.

Communication Rituals In the midst of chaos, its critical to have some predictable moments of engagement, in particularly regarding feedback, expectations and collaboration. Creating these anchors for the team ensure that people feel comfortable bringing up issues as they show up vs. waiting for things to blow up. It also helps to connect the dots and ensure everyone is making decisions with the bigger picture in mind.

Culture & Team Building A proactive and intentional effort needs to be made to ensure teams are not developing a we vs. them mindset due to the different experiences of remote to in-person work. Taking intentional measures to bring team members together across work location will ensure there is a cross-section of communication. However, the leader will be key in setting the tone that everyone is one team by the way they speak to and talk about the team as a whole.

Coaching for Growth & Development Managers will need to ensure career-conversations, skill development and growth opportunities are the cornerstone of their management approach vs. seeing it as a nice to have when there is time. Ensuring individuals drive their own development will help tailor the types of conversations being held. However, leaders need to make it a policy to have one-to-one conversations on an annual or bi-annual basis with each of their direct reports, regardless of their performance levels or work location. This ensures an objective and consistent approach to growth and development across the team.

Though figuring out the different compliance issues, rearranging desks and installing plexiglass guards will be the topics most people focus on during this pendulum swing to the middle ground of blended work environments, its the people side of leadership that will make the biggest and most long-term impact.

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Effective Hybrid Team Leadership: The New Performance Factor For Successful Companies - Forbes

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October 28th, 2020 at 6:54 pm

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