Remote working has put a new spin on the skills leaders need to be effective in the role. Today I’m keen to look at the five most important skills leaders need in a hybrid workplace.
Communication is always the number one skill of leadership but now it’s one of the biggest challenges we face. There are no spontaneous chats by the water cooler these days.
Communication is about more than just the channel you use. It’s about choosing the right information and delivering it on time. I would say clear and regular communication is the key here. Not only does it keep people on the same page with work, but it also builds trust and inclusion. General team communication is essential, but so is the one-on-one chat that keeps your relationships solid.
Branding and presence
It’s quite likely that you will find yourself working with a team member you’ve never met in person. You don’t know them but neither do they know you, their leader.
Your personal brand and executive presence can overcome some of the initial hesitation or resistance you might feel from your recruit. Your personal brand is the way you market yourself. It’s what you want to be known for – what you represent. Your executive presence is how you show up. It’s your character, attitudes, and actions. Your reputation (personal brand) will speak for you so the new person will have some idea of who you are. Your executive presence makes you look the part and inspires confidence straight away. For existing team members, your presence and branding are strong enough to keep them engaged and on track.
Build a new team culture
Even if your team has been together for some time, remote work changes the parameters. Work with the team to design your new culture including guidelines on how you want to work together. When and how (and how often) will you meet or communicate? Agree on your ground rules. Recognise members who support others, collaborate or ‘do the right thing’. Spend non-work time together in person if possible, or by video meetings.
Practice trust and accountability
You’re not there to look over their shoulders while they work. Agree as a team that they will do the job in the way it best suits them if they deliver quality results. Step back and let them work but be available for advice and coaching if needed. With trust comes accountability, which encourages people to accept responsibility if they don’t fulfil their agreements. Accountability isn’t about blame. If done properly, it’s an opportunity for learning and relationship building. The best way to show accountability is through honest and constructive feedback. It’s an open conversation that’s not about blame but ways to help each other in the future.
Use your empathy
Empathy has always been an important leadership skill and now it’s crucial to the role. When you can’t be together, you need to find other ways to show you care. Listening, perspective taking, trying to understand the team member’s thoughts and emotions, and showing compassion are all important parts of being empathic. Show your humanity and vulnerability, and you’ll gain loyal followers.
None of this is rocket science but unfortunately, these vital skills often slide off the radar under the pressure of deadlines, technology, and daily dramas. The most successful and effective leaders won’t let this happen.
A position of leadership is an honour. It is an honour because it is earned. Like trust and respect which is earned over time, the same applies to a leader who people want to follow.
Download our interactive and editable eBook, The Little Book of Leadership Tips here where we cover 10 different strategies you can immediately implement and use and show you how to:
- take the stress out of leading a team
- lead with resilience
- avoid the common mistakes that other leaders make, and
- keep courage in the face of adversity.
How will you keep yourself accountable for applying these skills when you lead your hybrid teams?