People & Transformation

5 top tips for managers leading hybrid teams

As the pace of vaccination programs increase, and offices begin to open, momentum is building around a hybrid model of working. Organisations are increasingly aware of the need to address the post-pandemic future of work and are becoming publicly vocal about their plans to combine remote and on-site working into hybrid models. Amidst a lot of uncertainty, a common theme is beginning to emerge around greater choice and autonomy on where and how work is done. One key component to help support this transition to a hybrid model will be the role of the manager.

Here are five top tips for managers to consider as they support the transition to leading hybrid teams:

Listen

Within the parameters of an organisation wide policy, individual teams will have their unique needs and preferences when it comes to hybrid working. There is no one size fits all, its imperative managers create safe spaces for employees to express their views and opinions. To proactively stimulate open dialogue, team leaders must lead with empathy and ensure that listening is the first step to any decision-making process around a hybrid working model. Understanding what your team needs from you, irrespective of their work environment, requires them to feel heard and cared for.

Explain

Moving to a longer-term hybrid working model will require another period of adjustment for employees. With many elements of our daily routines continuing to shift, employees may naturally experience a lack of clarity and security relating to their roles and performance. Setting clear expectations on what types of activities can be done more effectively at home and what types of activities would be more effective carried out in the office, helps employees to make conscious choices. To help the team make better conscious choices, you will need to communicate clearly what is expected of the wider team, and explain what that could mean for their individual roles, doing this will help to reaffirm their focus and provide much needed clarity.

Empower

With some employees continuing to operate in distant environments and some choosing to go back into the office, leaders will need to juggle how to best support their teams.  Empowering team members is trusting them to do the right thing, it’s less about the task details, workplace presenteeism, or even how many hours teams have worked. It’s critical instead, that managers focus on their team’s outcomes and the quality of the work. It’s also important mangers take ownership of the team climate and their wellbeing. Are your team feeling fatigued, burnt out and/or disengaged? A supportive manager in a hybrid environment empowers team members to take ownership of their physical and mental health, and in doing so fosters a working culture that sets boundaries and prioritises a healthy work life balance.

Facilitate

Hybrid working will pose a challenge to spontaneous, water cooler moments between team members and encounters with colleagues outside of the team. There is also a danger those that are in the office are prioritised over those that are working remotely. Team leaders should actively maintain inclusion in a hybrid world and help to facilitate connections across their teams and the organization. Leaders should consider how hybrid working can open up new opportunities for the border team, and how the team can develop new ways of working that might even be better than before.

 

Highlight

Adapting to new ways of working naturally causes disruption for team members, they will need to be given time to adapt. To help them, employees will require additional support in understanding what good looks like in terms of behaviours. Managers should constantly be highlighting transferable lessons so that others can learn from and mirror. Public recognition and praise will help to validate and reinforce the right behaviours in what are unfamiliar circumstances for many. It’s also an opportunity to create a safe space for open and honest dialogue around what’s working and what’s not.

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.

©2021 FTI Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved. www.fticonsulting.com

 

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