How to navigate remote and hybrid work in a leadership role

It’s strange to think that the Covid pandemic started almost 4 years ago now, when in many respects it feels like it was only yesterday.  As we all know, it sparked many changes to the way businesses work, in terms of remote and hybrid working.  Introduced as a response to the pandemic, to ensure that many industries were still able to continue to work in the strange new world that we found ourselves in, leaders are now having to navigate the challenges of managing remote and hybrid teams and creating a culture of trust and engagement in a virtual environment.

Establishing clear communication channels: It is important for leaders to make use of areas such as video conferencing, messaging apps, and other digital tools to maintain regular and clear communication with their teams. Teams only work well if communication is working, and that there is a level of respect and trust within the group.

Fostering a culture of trust: Leaders are learning to trust their teams to manage their time and workload effectively, providing flexibility and autonomy, and focusing on outcomes rather than micromanaging. This can be a struggle for certain leaders who like to have a much more hands-on approach to the way they manage.

Building virtual relationships: Building relationships virtually is certainly not the same as in-person, but done well, it can be effective in its own right. Using video conferencing to maintain regular face-to-face contact, scheduling virtual social events, and encouraging informal interactions, it is a way of ensuring the people still feel a part of something, and are not alienated from their colleagues.

Setting clear expectations: It is important for leaders to set clear expectations and goals for their teams, providing regular feedback and recognition, and fostering a culture of accountability and ownership. If your team is working from home, how are you expecting them to achieve their objectives? Do you still want them to stick to certain working hours, or are the hours flexible, as long as the work is done? Defining clear expectations allows both you as the leader and your team to understand what is expected from them, and what they can expect from you.

Working from home suits a lot of people, but for some it is not an ideal situation. Understanding how each of your team feels about remote and hybrid working will also give you an idea of how best to support individuals within your team.

By adopting these strategies, leaders can effectively manage remote and hybrid teams, build a culture of trust and engagement, and drive high performance in a virtual environment.

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