Last update: March, 21st, 2023
This article is the second part of a series of 2 articles. Read the first part here: The 8 pitfalls leaders will need to watch when managing an hybrid and/or remote team
Definition of a hybrid team
As a reminder, we define hybrid teams as the contemporary working teams operating between multiple locations; including at some co-located office spaces and from other locations such as working from home. In the past 2 years, we have seen the workplace shift from a traditional workforce to a mostly remote one. With more and more organisations partially returning to the office worldwide, tomorrow’s work scene will be nothing like what we were used to. Hybrid teams are the new teams.
We recently shared with you the 8 pitfalls leaders will need to watch when managing an hybrid and/or remote team:
1. Playing favourite with office-based employees
2. Keeping remote teams uninformed
3. Unfair repartition of work
4. Inaccurate evaluation of the levels of development
5. Failing to adjust your management style to delegate effectively to both office-based and virtual teams
6. Engaging in micromanagement or under supervision
7. Failing to create a sense of belonging for all talents
8. Not seeing the signs of demotivated talents and facing high levels of turnover
Once mindful of those 8 risks and pitfalls for leaders of hybrid teams, the next step is to effectively implement a strong strategy to cater for tomorrow’s teams. We are offering you 9 keys to successfully leading hybrid teams.
The 9 keys to successfully leading hybrid teams
1. Connect to your talents’ career goals
No matter how much effort you put into motivating your team members, if you fail to connect to their career goals, you will not be as successful as if you know what matters to your employees. Understand their vision and connect it to their ambition to motivate them and boost their growth. Together with your talents, draw the steps of their career progression and seek internal opportunities.
2. Do not project your ambitions
You may have great ambitions for your team members but are those ambitions aligned with your team members’ personal visions? Are your talents happy with the level of development they finally reached or are they already looking towards the next step of their career? Support the development and growth of your team members but do not push your ambitions on them; that will only lead to increased occupational stress and a high risk of burn-out.
3. Find their motivators, hear them out
Not everyone is motivated by the same things. The best way to understand your team members’ motivation is to ask them directly. What do they want? What motivates or demotivates them? What is important, and what matters to them? How to create the best productive environment for everyone in the team? Through a collaborative and flexible approach, you will find creative ways to maintain a high level of motivation among the team.
4. Remain flexible
The pandemic left us no choice than working from home. With the offices opening back, professionals and organisations are now facing a choice; it is essential to navigate through this transition wisely. “Forcing” your talents to return to the office 5 days a week may push your employees to look for new opportunities with more flexibility.
While working remotely, many professionals discovered the benefits of uninterrupted work and will need to continue to work remotely, at least, partially.
5. Keep the communication open
Communication is key to collaboration, strong teamwork and excellent team bonds. The communication needs to go both ways and in the same way, they need your direction and feedback, your team members should be able to share constructive criticism with you.
You will benefit from adopting a collaborative approach for both individual and team discussions. Your goal as a leader should be to aim for the best for each individual, the team, the project and the organisation. Ask your talents for their thoughts and suggestions, they need to be part of the solution and connected to the “why”, the bigger picture.
6. Build bridges: understand your talents’ needs and respect their vision
Your experience and competencies are making you a unique professional and the same applies to your team members. Trying to push on the team a certain way of working or a certain vision will not be as effective as hearing them out to understand their needs and vision in terms of growth, development and career opportunities. Respect the differences in learning speeds, needs and vision.
7. Plan for regular catch-ups including the full team
Individual meetings and catch-ups are great; meetings with part of the team for certain projects can be necessary. But, be sure to call for meetings that will involve the full team. It can be tempting to exclude some remote talents located in different time zones and involve in different projects for practical reasons but it will greatly impact their sense of belonging and the team bonds created with other team members.
8. Structure effective team meetings and individual catch-ups
Regular unprepared meetings are costing your team’s productivity and motivation a lot. All meetings need to be well prepared and structured with a clear shared agenda. Don’t give your talents a chance to come unprepared or to remain passive through your catch-ups, ensure that everyone is connected to some expectations and understand the best way they can contribute and add value to the discussions. Always clarify/get the team to clarify the action items as a conclusion.
9. Organise team bonding events to reinforce teamwork
Most of the professional social events have been put on hold in the past 20 months. Leaders and organisations have tried to maintain online get-togethers. However, with most professionals being exposed to video calls for long hours, the appeal quickly faded.
As many countries are easing the restrictions and allowing employees to return to the office, it will be essential for companies and leaders to resume those events. More than ever, our team members need to meet, connect, laugh and play together. From training sessions to amazing races, find the best event to bring your team together again. Be inclusive, and finally welcome the new team members.
How to position yourself as a leader?
Will you return to the office daily, weekly, or monthly? Do you need to lead by example?
Some leaders will feel the pressure to return to the office 5 days a week to lead by example. As much as the idea can be great and work in some organisations, it is essential to connect to your personal needs. Leader or not, you are a professional with certain needs and expectations. If working from home worked for you, you may find it difficult to focus and work from the office full time.
As per our first article, use the 9 shared keys as a checklist: which of those tips can help you and your team? What do you already apply and what could be implemented?