The shift to a hybrid workplace means leaders will need to leverage intention and foresight to overcome remote challenges and build trust among dispersed teams.
Challenge 3: How to strike the right balance of remote and face-to-face work
The third challenge for leaders in a hybrid environment is striking the right balance between remote and face-to-face work. Deciding how to run tasks in a hybrid setting is not always easy.
Begin by scrutinizing what you’re trying to achieve. Examine the precise nature of the task, your objectives, and the importance of things like efficiency, effectiveness, camaraderie, well-being or mental health.
From there, ask yourself these practical questions to ensure your interactions effectively build trust and create impact.
Should this be a meeting?
Or could the time be better spent thinking, writing, planning, or engaging in other projects? Link this question to your overall objectives.
Are my meeting goals relationship-based or task-based?
Task-based goals often don’t need to happen in person, while more challenging relationship-based conversations—while they don’t have to be—are often better to address face-to-face. Check with your team to determine what goals people are comfortable handling remotely.
How complex are my objectives?
Is it a thorny issue that needs an in-depth discussion or a routine briefing?
Should this meeting be in a different format?
There’s now a world of meeting possibilities, such as asynchronous recorded meetings, walking meetings, or virtual collaboration on an interactive whiteboard—like Miro, Mural, or a Google Doc. Expand your horizons to find the best fit.
What type of meeting will be most inclusive?
Inclusivity is the biggest advantage of going virtual—no travel expenses, no accessibility, and those juggling family and work-life can attend more easily.
Does the facilitator have the right skills and tech set up to pull off a successful hybrid meeting?
Poor hybrid meetings can alienate participants. Engage everyone by establishing clear principles and expectations around how to contribute. Also, be sure meetings don’t include elements that would require people to be physically present to benefit.
Effective hybrid leadership, with these challenges in mind
Lead by example and model your decision-making processes. Your team will look to you and follow your lead. Remember to experiment. See what works—what doesn’t—and adjust and adapt over time. Most importantly, communicate what you’re doing and how and why you’re doing it. Celebrate your successes as a team and learn from your mistakes together.
The idea of openness in leadership loops us back to a final point from Tsedal Neeley—the need to share yourself as a leader.
“The more you learn about someone, the more you will probably like them and the closer you feel. Without such sharing, especially in remote work, you end up with a one-dimensional transactional relationship that is only about the task in hand.”
Sharing parts of ourselves is something that we often did naturally during the pandemic—talking openly about our experiences and challenges and quickly building emotional trust. Combined with finding new ways to articulate and lead with impact, sharing is something we need to be more intentional about as we aim to become effective hybrid leaders.