Hybrid working is now the norm for many of us, and leaders need to adapt their approach to lead effectively in this new challenging climate. At Taylor Clarke, we have been reflecting on what we have learned in our own business and from supporting the development of hybrid leadership in our clients. Below, are some of the key approaches we believe leaders need to have in their kit-bag to ensure success:
Clear expectations - ensure your team members have a crystal clear understanding of their role, their responsibilities, and what you expect of them. ‘Clarity is King, or Queen’ in today’s hybrid world: set clear expectations of outcomes and targets, and review progress against these, more regularly than before.
Trust and autonomy – trust your team members to do their work. Give them the autonomy to work in the way they find most effective. Instilling, and maintaining trust in your team members, who you meet twice a year, or have perhaps never met, is challenging for many leaders but to trust, and be trusted, is at the core of effective leadership.
Feedback and recognition – feedback and recognition are key motivators for your team members. In a hybrid environment these are even more important, and for some the frequency may need to jump-up a notch or two to underpin effective, hybrid work relationships, to motivate and inspire others. Providing ‘virtual’ constructive feedback for improvement is not easy, but it is essential to do it, to let people know how they are performing.
Communicate, communicate, communicate – do it often, use different channels that may be most effective for others. Some channels work better for formal communications and others support social interaction and help to ensure everyone stays connected and informed. Two key themes that maintain and grow an effective work climate are ‘Clarity’ - your people are clear of what their roles are, and what deliverables are expected of them; and ‘Standards’ - quality of outputs and services provided are maintained, and even improved…performance is strong!
Regular catch ups – one-to-one catch ups help individuals feel valued and give them an opportunity to share any concerns and frustrations. Regular whole team catch-ups provide an opportunity to ensure your team members are clear about targets and performance and can discuss how to resolve challenges. A mix of virtual, and face-to-face, catch-ups for one-to-one, and team meetings works best.
Social interactions – whether meetings are face-to-face or virtual, they are an opportunity for people to come together socially, at least for part of the time. Encouraging time at the start of meetings for social interactions, is an opportunity to reinforce team spirit, cohesion and unity.
Performance metrics – identify clear performance metrics that tell you and your team what is working well and what you need to focus on. Using consistent metrics and reviewing progress against them regularly, whether virtual or face to face will give the team and individuals the information needed to perform effectively.
Work-life balance - encourage a healthy work-life balance for all team members; looking for signs of team member fatigue or low involvement. Remind your team to set boundaries, take breaks, and manage their work hours. Let them know how much you appreciate their commitment but rest, and other activities, are important for their work-balance and well-being.
Being a leader in our hybrid working environments is here to stay! Expectations on leaders continue to rise. Delivering results through your team requires buckets of flexibility with, and laser focus on, the key actions and approaches that support engagement, and building a high-performing, and energising, climate.
At Taylor Clarke, we believe effective leadership in a hybrid environment requires trust, communication, adaptability and a clear focus on outcomes for both individuals and the team as a whole. We think it is important for leaders to take time to reflect on how effective they are, sharing challenges and strategies that are, or are not, working for them. We facilitate discussions with managers, and complete teams, often as part of broader leadership development programmes. We also coach individual leaders at all levels and support them to improve their effectiveness as leaders; meeting the challenges of leading in a hybrid working environment are often an area of focus.
If you would like to talk to one of our experts about how we may be able to support your leaders, please contact Neil Paterson on email@example.com