Leading hybrid teams presents a whole host of new challenges and concerns for leaders. If you’ve recently joined a hybrid team or are about to transition to a hybrid team structure, this article is for you.
Read on to find out our best tips and techniques for leading hybrid teams.
The definition of hybrid teams
Before we get into it, let’s clarify what is a hybrid team. If you’ve never heard of the terminology before or are exploring your team structure options, this will be helpful. If you want to get straight to it, scroll on to keep reading our tips for leading hybrid teams.
Okay, ready? A hybrid team is a new form of team structure where a portion of a workforce work remotely whereas the other works predominantly from a shared workspace like an office or co-working space. Hybrid teams often go through cycles where people change their working environment from remote to co-located, and everything in between. Hybrid teams come up against challenges along the way, but when they’re thriving they’re able to mitigate the challenges and see plenty of benefits from the arrangement.
Leading hybrid teams | Tips and techniques for leaders
#1: Bring it back to purpose
In the early days of leading a hybrid team, disconnection and confusion can begin to bubble to the surface. When there’s so much flexibility and autonomy it’s easy to lose direction and focus, which can lead to lowered motivation levels and cause cracks in your team identity.
When leading a hybrid team it’s up to you to bring the conversation back to purpose, and to remind your people the positive impact their work has on others. This purpose should be connected to the work you do and how your organisation impacts its clients and the world at large. Your team’s purpose should be front and centre through everything they do, with your company values being an expression of that purpose.
#2: Maintain connection with clients
When moving to a virtual team structure, one of the activities that can fall to the wayside is maintaining relationships with key clients. As a leader within your organisation you can mitigate this by working with your teams to ensure there is always someone available to speak with clients and help them with any questions, challenges or requests they may have.
In a digital world, considering how you can create tangible experiences with clients and customers can be the thing that connects them with your team, regardless of where they are located. Posting them a hand-written card, a thought-filled gift, a celebration of a milestone they have achieved can be powerful connection tools.
#3: Clarify expectations with your hybrid teams
Hybrid teams have a lot of moving parts – literally and figuratively. From navigating the split between working remotely and from the office through to response times and performance outcomes. As a leader, you’ll need to clarify expectations around what autonomy looks like for us as a team, when flexibility is okay and when it is not okay, expectations around styles of communication, work hours, response times and performance in order for your hybrid team to excel.
#4: Look after the wellbeing of your hybrid teams
Workplace change of any kind can throw a spanner in the works of an individual’s wellbeing. When your team isn’t working at their best, it will have an impact on performance across the board. However, in the case of working in a hybrid team environment, your teams may find it more difficult to establish a set routine and recovery rituals to support their wellbeing. As we discuss in our Science of Recovery program, incorporating moments for recovery in order to re-energise throughout your workday can help you to reduce stress and maintain peak performance.