Here’s something you might not know about me: I’ve been leading hybrid teams since long before the pandemic made it necessary.
Are you a manager? A team lead? An entrepreneur?
If so, then I know you’ve also been making this transition. And that it probably hasn’t been that easy.
Remember back to March 2020? We were told we were gonna be inside for 2 weeks. So we all went home, took a deep breath, and collectively said “it’ll be hard, but we can do this for 2 weeks!”. And then it was 2 weeks more. And then 2 months. And now we’re here. 2 years later.
And you know what happened? Because we originally thought this was all temporary, we didn’t think too intentionally about how our practices would need to change in a remote and hybrid world. We had plenty of other things to deal with. And we figured we’d be back to “normal” soon enough, so why spend time and effort (that we didn’t have in big supply) to optimize for the hybrid world?
As a result, as I just read yesterday, the number of meetings has increased by 250% (!) since before the pandemic. (It’s no surprise, then, that my “Making Meetings Better” workshop has been one of the most popular in the past year, and that all of my clients are excited when we do a “meeting audit” of their calendars! But I digress.)
Suffice it to say, leading in a hybrid world is something I’ve been thinking about A LOT, as I’ve helped leaders through this transition to a hybrid world over the past couple of years. Time management isn’t just about managing your own time! And with more and more companies staying fully remote, or moving to a permanent hybrid solution, it’s time to be a bit more intentional about how we do things.
So, if you’re a leader, or an aspiring one, trying to get it right and help your hybrid team be happy, productive and engaged, here are the things you’ll want to consider (or reconsider):
- What are the challenges that you’ve seen arise with this hybrid model of work? And what are the benefits?
- When you ask these questions, you can pinpoint what’s not working, so that you can experiment with targeted solutions until you find what works. And you can also double down on what’s working super well and share those wins with others, to them them succeed as well.
- How psychologically safe is your team?
- Has this changed since we went remote? Do folks feel comfortable asking questions, making mistakes, and showing up as their true selves?
- Has not seeing your team, in the flesh, turned you into a bit of a micromanager?
- Do you constantly check up on people? Are you worried they might be wasting time? (Be honest!) No one likes to think of themselves as a micromanager, but let’s face it, when you are no longer seeing all your employees in person, it can be a natural instinct to want tighter control. But that doesn’t mean this practice is without consequence. When people feel micromanaged, their engagement, morale and productivity go down. The exact opposite of what you want!
- How is communication going on your team? Are communication breakdowns more frequent these days?
- I think most people have found that it’s trickier than expected to communicate while remote. Unfortunately, we can’t just move from “Room to Zoom” and assume that we’ll be understood. We no longer get communication through the osmosis of overhearing others’ conversations. But the good news is that we’ve never had access to more tools and strategies to help us streamline our communications while keeping everyone in the loop.
- And what about collaboration?
- Do your Zoom brainstorming sessions instill dread in everyone, as you all talk over each other, or try to get noticed to get a word in? What tools can you use to ease collaboration without increasing the number of meetings?
- Are remote and onsite employees being treated equitably?
- I’m sure you’ve heard that remote employees are sometimes feeling as though they are treated as second-class citizens and not getting the same opportunities for recognition and advancement as those who get more in-person face time with leadership. Are you sure that’s not happening on your team? What practices, or doublechecks, will you use to make sure that employees are treated fairly, regardless of their location?
- Sick of those Zoom happy hours yet? Culture building is hard even when we’re all together in a room.
- But it’s harder, and requires more intentionality when you’re hybrid. What are you doing to build a cohesive company culture, with a diverse and distributed population. How do remote new hires, who you’ve never met in person, become a part of the group? How are you ensuring that each employee is a “culture add” (while rooting out the dangerously discriminatory idea of “culture fit”)?
- And lastly, how does performance management need to change for your hybrid team?
- Have you been guilty of giving constructive feedback over Slack? Or not at all!?Performance management can be difficult in the best of circumstances. And something this important, and fraught, needs to be retooled in a hybrid world.
Now, if you’ve just read the above and are thinking “Well, Alexis, you’ve just given me a whole lot to think about, but you didn’t really give me any answers”, never fear!
I’m excited to share with you that my brand new online course, Hybrid Leadership: Essential Skills to Lead From Anywhere, was just released. And you can enroll right now.
Are you struggling to transition to leading your hybrid team? Or do you simply want to beef up your management skills for the hybrid future? Or maybe you’re not a leader yet, but you want to be ready when the time comes.
If so, this course is for you!
Whether you’re in the midst of transitioning to a hybrid model of work, or you’ve already transitioned, but you’d like to improve your skills, this course is designed to address, and provide actionable solutions and techniques, for the challenges you may face when you “go hybrid”.
But you don’t have to take my word for it! Here’s what some of the early reviews are saying:
”This course provided straightforward and concise steps to manage in a hybrid environment. Alexis covered not only items in a hybrid environment but clarified and explained management styles that help in any environment. I recommend this course.”
“Alexis’s course provides thoughtful, bite-sized lessons for successfully managing a hybrid team. I really appreciate the simple scripts and templates she provides for conversation openers.”
“I appreciate how Alexis communicates complex workplace dynamics in an easy, straightforward manner. I see particular benefit if multiple team members watch the course, as the language Alexis shares can provide an anchor for team discussions around workplace variability.”