5 Skills for Leaders in Hybrid Work Environments

The pandemic made remote and hybrid work environments more popular than ever before. However, the location of your team isn’t the only thing that changed in the past few years. Remote and hybrid work has sent ripple effects through the workplace, impacting productivity, employee needs, and how these collaborate. As a leader, you will need to adapt to these changes.

Skills for Leaders in Hybrid Work Environments

New skills for the hybrid work environments

Here are a few skills to develop and new ways of thinking to consider as you look to become an even better leader.

Measure productivity in achievements

If there’s only one mindset change to make in 2024, choose to rethink how you measure productivity. Too often, leaders attach value to the amount of time their staff spends on projects. They’re either impressed by how quickly the job gets done or how late a team member works to complete it. This is particularly true in an in-office setting. Here, managers can physically watch their employees come and go from the office.

However, time doesn’t equal quality. Furthermore, in hybrid work environments you can’t track your employees’ movements in and out of the office. This is why you need to retool your thinking around how you evaluate the achievements of your team members and the value of the work.

To do this, take an outcome-based approach. Did the project get done by the deadline? Was it done well? Was it successful? This is ultimately what matters—not when it got done or how long it actually took them. Everyone works differently and now is the perfect time to honor that individuality.

Encourage autonomy

Autonomy allows employees to make their own decisions and take the best course of action based on the information available. In an autonomous workplace, your team members feel empowered to do their jobs without being checked on throughout the day. As a leader, you will always be there to help them—but you also trust that they’ll make the right choices.

There are many ways to build autonomy as a core value in your workplace. For example, you can give team members the option to set their own priorities and deadlines where possible. Or, if you have to work around strict deadlines, let your employees decide when and what they do to reach those deadlines.

Ultimately, the goal is not to overhaul the way you manage your team, but to take small steps to create a more autonomous team. As your employees become more empowered to make decisions, both you and they will feel more comfortable in their roles.

Embrace the Year of Trust

Some business professionals are calling for 2024 to be the Year of Trust, or a period where leaders and team members restore belief in each other. As a leader, you need to trust your employees.

Evaluate where you mistrust your staff and why. This can be a hard thing to do because you  might judge yourself for the beliefs you’re holding onto. For example, you might have insecurities as a new leader, so you feel the need to micromanage to make sure they do well so you look good.

Once you understand where your trust stands and what needs to be addressed, you can take steps to better trust your employees, who can then trust you.

Develop a culture of communication

Just because you embrace autonomy and trust doesn’t mean you let you stop talking to your employees. Teams can communicate just as often while investing in these core values.

Like many components of hybrid work environments, communication is a two-way street. While you communicate your expectations and needs to your team members, they share their feedback and concerns with you. Together, you move forward with a focus on problem-solving and mutual understanding. Here are a few questions you can use to practice open communication with your team:

  • What do you need from me to be successful in this project?
  • What problems do you foresee in completing these tasks?
  • Do you have any recommendations to improve our current processes?
  • Can you walk me through your decision-making process?

Each of these questions allows you to listen to your team members and support them however they most need it. Your staff will still make mistakes, but through open communication, you can understand where they went wrong and how everyone can improve in the future. Hence, always keep communication flowing, especially in hybrid work environments, where the process is even more complex than usual.

Make work-life balance a core value

This has been a focus within company culture for years—and yet, some organizations still haven’t mastered it. At the end of the day, it’s up to leadership to create a workplace culture that empowers employees to create balance in their lives.

Here are a few good habits to encourage a culture of work-life balance:

  • Don’t email your team members on weekends or at night. This pressures them to respond.
  • Measure productivity by achievements, not the time spent at the desk.
  • Support employees using their vacation time. Let your staff know how important time off is and encourage people to use their accrued hours.

You may be thinking: but what if we’re on a tight deadline? What if something needs to get done? Then they may need support in getting this work done.

Grow your leadership skills

Everyone has had to adapt to hybrid work environments, from interns in their first work experiences to seasoned workers preparing for retirement.

As the world continues to embrace this, you can make the hybrid model work by shifting your leadership—which in turn impacts everyone who you support.

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