The great work-from-home experiment is over, and what we learned is that hybrid work is here to stay. The old way of work is in the past, and the “Great Resignation” is well underway.
Happier at Home
A recent NPR article stated, “As pandemic life recedes in the U.S., people are leaving their jobs in search of more money, more flexibility and more happiness. Many are rethinking what work means to them, how they are valued, and how they spend their time. It’s leading to a dramatic increase in resignations — a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April alone, according to the Labor Department.”
The Atlantic noted that in fall 2020, “94 percent of employees surveyed in a Mercer study reported that remote work was either business as usual or better than working in the office, likely because it lacks the distractions, annoyances, and soft abuses that come with co-workers and middle managers. Workers are happier because they don’t have to commute and can be evaluated mostly on their actual work rather than on the optics-driven albatross of ‘office culture,’ which is largely based on either the HR handbook or the pieces of the HR handbook your boss chooses to ignore.”
Ensuring Managers are Equipped
As many managers are managing a remote team for the first time, their executives must ensure they are capable of leading a hybrid workforce effectively.
Here are seven tips to help train managers on effectively managing a hybrid workforce:
1. Out with the old ways! Help them see that the old ways of leading aren’t likely to help them or their team succeed in the future of hybrid work. Instead, they will need to shift their mindset to a new, more human-centered way of leading.
2. Focus on results. Encourage them to manage by results rather than by “being on.” Set clear expectations about what success looks like and provide enough detail to “paint done” (as Brené Brown says) while empowering them to figure out how to get it done on their own. Also, hold them accountable for getting the job done within the agreed-upon time frame. If that doesn’t happen, have a clear, honest conversation about what expectations weren’t met and how to shift moving forward to ensure success.
3. Embrace a growth mindset. Help them accept that perfection isn’t the goal but that things will evolve with time. Some managers may need reminders that just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it is how it should be done moving forward.
4. Inspire inclusion. Instill the importance of being co-creators of an inclusive culture. Ensure they know what that means and how to foster it, and provide practical tips and ideas on how to make it part of the way they work on a daily basis.
5. We are only human. Teach them how to lead in a more vulnerable, human way. Encourage transparency with their calendars, and encourage them to take well-being breaks and set boundaries to take care of themselves. Additionally, teach your managers techniques that help them get to know their team members as whole people, which will enable them to have empathy and be understanding of where people are in life.
6. Be flexible—things always change. They must be willing to embrace change and ambiguity, as well as be flexible and adaptable, while encouraging their teams to do the same.
7. No one has all the answers. Help managers understand that not knowing everything is normal—not knowing is OK. Show them they don’t need to know all of the answers and that empowering their team to come up with ideas and strategies for how to operate effectively together is one of their key roles.
Equipping and empowering managers to lead hybrid teams effectively is paramount for an organization’s success now and for the future of work. By practicing these seven strategies, you can help set up your business and people to thrive.
Teresa Hopke is CEO, Talking Talent, Inc., a global coaching firm that inspires inclusive cultures that allow people and organizations to thrive. It works with organizations globally to create company-wide behavior shifts that accelerate business performance. A working mother of four, Teresa is committed to creating a more inclusive world for her children and the organizations she serves.