Hybrid work models all have challenges leaders must face along the way. One of the biggest adjustments is learning how to be a good leader in a completely new medium. Some old practices just won’t work anymore, and there are particular skills and differences that you as a leader must embrace.
In this article, we will provide you with a few unfailing tips on how to be the best leader you could be for your hybrid work team.
Tip 1: Be Open In Communication
It shouldn’t be a surprise that communication is one of the most important things in good leadership. You’ve likely had experiences where you learned just how crucial communication is in a work environment. In a hybrid workplace, good communication is even more essential than before.
With people working from home a few times a week, you have to be sure that everyone knows what they’re doing and that they feel confident doing it. As a leader, you will have to make decisions for your company, including communication decisions, and it is best to master the art of good communication early on for the sake of your team and your company’s success.
Great communication consists of:
- Knowing your audience: Communication starts with knowing how to address the people you are speaking to, what motivates them, and what challenges and encourages them. This is a key skill to have in your hybrid workplace.
- Knowing what you’re trying to tell your audience: You may know your audience, but you should also know what exactly you are trying to convey to them. Make sure that when you address issues, have new projects, words of praise, or simply have news to share, that you do it in a constructive way that’ll get the point across and make your team listen and retain all the information you are giving them.
- Good up to date communication tools: Many companies are still using emails for all forms of communication which can be inefficient as many employees tend to have a cluttered inbox from too many emails with many messages getting lost. Emails have also been found to be bad for the environment, so instead, opting for a direct messaging mobile platform such as Slack might be the best idea.
- A communication strategy set in place: A communication strategy that is set in place could be a real-time and effort saver for your office space. Making sure that there is strong internal communication set in place is essential and beneficial to your team and yourself.
- Feedback: Good communication should always go both ways. You can’t always tell people what to do and when to do it without giving them an avenue to voice their thoughts and opinions. Make sure that you always leave room for feedback from your team, so that you can better understand their needs.
Tip 2: Learn to be Inclusive, Empathetic, and Equitable
A hybrid work model consists of big changes when it comes to leadership. The common mistake leaders make is evaluating performances the same way they were before the new work model came into place. This creates bias and can be a very dangerous aspect of the workplace. Becoming closer to the employees in close proximity is unavoidable; however, you must strive to create an equitable environment, where some employees don’t feel disadvantaged for not being in close proximity more than others.
How to achieve inclusivity:
- Evaluate job performances the same way for all employees: It is important to apply the same performance evaluation metrics across an entire team. In a hybrid work model, performances will no longer be measured on an input-based system but rather an output system based on objectives.
- Deliberately include all team members: You should aim to split your time equally between the remote employees and those in the office more often.
- Acknowledge the work being done: No matter where the organization’s staff has done their work from, be sure to acknowledge their hard work so that they don’t feel unseen and unnoticed.
- Use cameras for online meetings: A survey by Zoom found that 82% of people are more trusting when the video is turned on, which could nurture a trusting relationship between leaders and their teams.
Tip 3: Always Survey!
Giving your team a voice is a really important aspect of a hybrid workspace. What you may think works for them, may not actually work or be beneficial, but you will have no way of knowing that unless you ask for feedback.
You can ask for feedback on a regular basis, or even have an online space, perhaps a Slack channel, that will always be open and ready for employee feedback. You could also use special tools to survey your employees on a regular basis, such as Survey Monkey or Google Forms.
A good idea is to always ask for feedback when looking to implement a change, for example a change in schedule. This will help you understand what your team’s needs are and what they are feeling about your proposed change.
The most important thing you can do is to proactively ask your team for feedback. Some of your staff may not feel comfortable giving feedback if they feel like it’s unwarranted, which is why it’s important that you as a leader create a safe space for your leaders to feel as though they can voice their opinions.
Tip 4: Train and Even Re-train
You should have an established training strategy in place in order to train your employees and make the most out of their time and your efforts. Training goes beyond just showing your team how to perform a task or making them understand something. It means creating an open space where they will be listened to and understood.
Training sessions should consist of training in different areas, including technology training, company culture training, and leadership training, among many others. Ensuring that your team has the most up-to-date training can strengthen your company.
Tip 5: Make the most of your space
A problem to tackle early on is maintaining an optimized office space. It is good to know the different types of spaces you will be offering your team and make sure you can explain it to them. A well-designed space can lead to productivity and more engagement.
Examples of spaces you may have:
- Hot Desk Areas: This is a popular choice, as it is an area that people can book for the day where they are not assigned seating and instead they can simply choose a desk anywhere that has an open space.
- Assigned spots: These can be anything between desks, rooms, or cubicles that are assigned to certain team members and cannot be occupied by others.
- Casual meeting areas: These are areas that are made for employees to go into and meet with each other in an informal manner or even to take breaks. For example, it could be a dining area where people go to eat their lunch.
Making sure that your office space has the right kinds of spaces and is optimized is crucial. The types of spaces you choose depend on the size of your company, location, employee preferences, and so on. It is best to ensure you make the most of your space early on to avoid any inefficiencies later on.