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Hybrid Teams: 8 Pitfalls Leaders Need to Watch [part 1/2]

Last update: March, 21st, 2024

This article is the first part of a series of 2 articles. Also available: 9 keys to successfully leading hybrid and remote teams.

What is a hybrid team?

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.

Managing a hybrid team can be challenging

It is a reality that the leadership skills that apply in a virtual environment differ from those we need in face-to-face situations. Leaders will need to adjust to those changes and learn an additional set of management skills that span both office-based and virtual environments.

Hybrid teams are the new teams
How to manage and motivate hybrid and remote teams

In this article, we are addressing:

The 8 pitfalls leaders should watch when managing hybrid and remote teams

In the next article we will offer you:

The 8 pitfalls leaders will need to watch when managing a hybrid and/or remote team

1. Playing favourites with office-based employees

You may pride yourself on your impartiality. However, it is a reality, that you will create stronger bonds with the talents you work with face to face. When working from the same office, you will benefit from more interactions with your team members, you will also be able to see your people and observe their body language, their postures, and facial expressions. With all those clues, it becomes easier to connect, bond and check on more your office-based talents than your virtual ones. Be mindful of this natural tendency to give everyone the same chances.

2. Keeping remote teams uninformed

You are engaged in multiple projects with both your talents working from home and at the office. When communicating information, it can be tempting to do it directly and to the people around you. The issue here is obvious: the team members working from home will miss out on crucial information. As direct communication is simple, fast, and efficient, remote teams will not be informed of many things discussed at the office and some of that information could be essential for their work on the common projects. Aim for inclusive communication and ensure that the remote team members are kept informed. This can be done directly by you, or you can share the responsibility with the office team.

3. Unfair repartition of work

With some team members returning to the office, it will appear easier to delegate complex tasks and projects to them rather than to the remote teams. Watch your tendency for easy and quick interactions with the office-based talents and be sure to equally involve everyone in exciting new tasks and projects.

4. Inaccurate evaluation of the levels of development

You haven’t seen your teams for some time now and the distance may have influenced your ability to assess the level of development of your talents. With employees returning to the office, it can be fast to readjust your assessment, while the challenge will remain the same for working-from-home team members. Being aware of that will help you put more effort into the evaluation of remote team members.

5. Failing to adjust your management style to delegate effectively to both office-based and virtual teams

You may have noticed the limits virtual communication creates and enjoy returning to more direct communication. In the process, the risk is to fail to continue the extra efforts you made during the pandemic to assist the growth and development of virtual teams.

6. Engaging in micromanagement or under supervision

Directly linked to the leader’s ability to assess the level of development of their talents, being able to provide employees with the right amount of guidance or autonomy is essential. Leaders will want to be aware of their tendency for under or over-supervision of on-site or remote team members in order to adjust their style.

7. Failing to create a sense of belonging for all talents

The past 2 years have been hard on everyone and many professionals are still struggling with mental health. Not everyone feels ready or can come back to the office and leaders should be aware of that and not ignore those talents. Leaders and organisations need to do everything possible to reinforce the sense of belonging for all employees. You will also want to keep in consideration that introverted professionals will need more time to feel comfortable returning to the office than extroverted ones.

8. Not seeing the signs of demotivated talents and facing high levels of turnover

Talents returning to working from the office are not necessarily the most motivated ones and the employees deciding to stay at home are not necessarily at “flight risk”. Everyone is different and will need time to adjust to the new normal. As a leader, your role is to facilitate the transition for all. In the process, you will need to check on your team members and their level of motivation and be aware of the warning signs. Stay connected to the level of productivity of each individual you manage and immediately address any productivity loss.

Use the 8 elements above as a checklist: which of those pitfalls for leaders of hybrid teams can represent a risk for you and your team? Once you identified your pitfalls, establish your action plan.

>> To assist you in this task, you can read the second part of this article: 9 Keys to Successfully Lead Hybrid and Remote Teams.

Maud Vanhoutte

Discover 3 training courses to support your hybrid and remote teams

Click on a course below to learn more and take the next step in enhancing your team's skills:


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