Remote or hybrid work is the new normal. It is not a temporary transformation but a paradigm shift. Leading remote and hybrid teams has become the talk of the town. In response to the growing frequency of hybrid and remote work, organizations have implemented flexible working policies that permit at least a portion of home working in the post-COVID workplace.
Organizations are taking the necessary steps to ensure that their hybrid and remote teams are equipped with what they require. Unfortunately, many leaders and managers cannot handle remote or hybrid teams. However, such leaders are highly interested in figuring out how to be ready for this new hybrid and remote workplace disruption and what they can do to succeed. Leading hybrid and remote teams present many opportunities and challenges for leaders, a characteristic of transformative leadership.
It is recommended that leaders should cultivate new working models and capabilities to lead their teams effectively. Organizations that purposefully promote leadership skills and competencies such as empathy, flexibility, and resilience, among others, will acquire a competitive edge.
Let us look at the challenges and solutions of leading remote and hybrid teams to score maximum benefits for the organization.
Leading Remote and Hybrid Teams – Challenges and Solutions
No doubt, remote and hybrid work is quite different from on-site workplace situations. Therefore, leading remote and hybrid teams comes with its own set of challenges, each of which calls for a solution that is one of a kind.
Here is the list of challenges and best practices to effectively lead remote and hybrid teams.
Discussing or conveying messages in a traditional workplace setting is effortless with a quick announcement for a team or near a workplace water cooler. But in a remote or hybrid work setting, gathering input from all the team members and knowing what each person is working on is critical. Furthermore, it is challenging to encourage open conversation.
Leaders or managers can overcome the communication challenge by creating a dedicated channel for team communication. Slack, MS Teams, and Skype are the best channels to meet online and share ideas. Leaders must ensure that communication between teams is happening regularly. It is recommended that leaders must block some time between the shifts so that every team member can share the day-to-day activities or any vital information. In addition, leaders should share their available slots with the team members who want to connect for a discussion during work hours.
As a remote or hybrid team leader, are you aware of how much work is completed and at what rate? Or do you know which team member needs supervision in their tasks? Many leaders and managers may not clearly understand the answers to these questions. Suppose a leader cannot gauge an employee’s productivity when working remotely in a remote or hybrid scenario. In that case, it might be tough to determine if the resources are being underused or if they are not doing their share of responsibilities.
Productivity in every job is dependent on predictability and structure. It is recommended that leaders develop such a structure by defining clear roles and responsibilities, creating precise deadlines, defining KPI metrics, and keeping everyone informed about who is doing what. The only thing that must be taken care of is to avoid micromanagement, as it might reduce employee morale.
Just because employees were clear on their job responsibilities at the time of onboarding or while working in a traditional setting doesn’t mean they are clear about their new responsibilities in a remote or hybrid setting. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, 47% of colleagues feel that a lack of a clear vision about work in post-pandemic work is a cause for concern. Clear directives on objectives and expectations are expected from a leader leading the remote or hybrid teams. For instance, when to attend a meeting or when and how to respond to a communication.
Early and consistent communication of expectations by leaders is essential, particularly with objectives, accomplishments, and goals. A well-documented structure with the procedure is a smart way to establish realistic expectations and boundaries. For improved workplace outcomes, the cadence of attending meetings and replying to work-related emails and messages after work hours should be well documented.
For a very long time, leaders have had a very tough time developing the credibility and trust of their workforce. Management is concerned that employees are not finishing tasks, while employees are apprehensive about various issues, including salary payment, fair judgment on tasks, etc.
Transparency may help to create trust among all team members, especially while working remotely. Leaders can build a culture of trust by being transparent about the working hours, expectations, status, deadlines, etc. A leader who thinks for the betterment of their teams always has a team with high success, productivity, and trust rate.
One blog post would not be sufficient to cover all of the challenges of leading hybrid and remote teams. The abovementioned recommendations cover the fundamentals for removing typical roadblocks to successful hybrid and remote team leadership.
Hybrid and remote work are here to stay; leaders must take due measures to manage, engage, and build efficient remote and hybrid teams. Introduction of team building activities, setting clear objectives and expectations, implementing new processes for the workplace, and enhancing team communication will prepare remote and hybrid teams for the future.
We recently hosted a webinar on Leading Remote and Hybrid Teams. Dan Rust, Vice President-Leadership & OD Practice at Infopro Learning, provided an extensive toolbox of recommendations, best practices, suggested processes, and operational norms to help leaders effectively lead remote and hybrid teams.
Are you interested in knowing what was covered during the webinar? Please drop a comment below with your email id; our leadership and development expert will connect with you.