Leader's Luggage for the New Hybrid Baggage
If 2021 has taught us anything, it's that being agile, flexible, and meeting our workers where they flourish is critical. The hybrid workplace is swiftly becoming a reality, with the when, where, and how of workforce cooperation redefined.
The epidemic has hastened changes in the workplace: there are now employees who work totally from home, employees who work in an office, and employees who split their time between home and work.
Of course, this idea isn't entirely new.
Virtual workers have existed for quite some time. The hybrid workplace has many similarities to the virtual workplace. Still, there is one significant difference: A hybrid workforce is a purposeful organizational approach, whereas a virtual workplace is a worker accommodation. It is not only about computers, the internet, and software programs that ease the process. Hence, a set of actions, skills, and behaviors is needed for today's leaders to maneuver the hybrid workforce era. 2
Among the most important of all are four competencies that would help leaders chart their paths with their teams:
1. Management Of Attention
This term was introduced by Warren Bennis when he introduced his article "The Four Competencies of Leadership." After five years of research and interviewing ninety leaders, the article represented Warren's findings. The primary purpose was to realize what makes real leaders, as opposed to effective managers, tick. Warren believed that true leaders affect the culture and are those who created and maintained Values.
Hence, creating a Value-Based organization. Values-based leadership3 is the idea that leaders should draw upon their own and others' values—including those established for your organization— for direction and motivation. At its core, values-based leadership philosophy asserts that people are mostly motivated by values and live according to these beliefs, a further explanation and detail is provided as you read further. Based on Warren's conclusions, one of the main competencies of real leaders for creating Value-Leadership was: Management of Attention. Leaders manage attention through a compelling vision that brings people to a place they have never been to before. A vision has always been essential for successful leaders, and in a hybrid workplace, it even needs more focus and attention.
If you haven't previously done so, write down your organization's vision. Ensure it's obvious and that anyone on staff may access and review it. Develop internal communications campaigns to guarantee that the company's vision, plans, outcomes, victories, and losses are conveyed clearly and regularly.
In a hybrid workplace culture, having a shared vision is crucial. This is the compass for a team of geographically dispersed employees, and it will enable them to unite around a common goal, regardless of where or when they work. 4
2. Management of Meaning
Meaning management is about clarifying, communicating, and aligning people around the meaning. People need to understand what their leaders stand for, what matters most. It is not only about sharing the vision. But it's more about clarifying and creating meaning around it then communicating it through various channels, layers, and different methods. Meaning is usually communicated through the entire persona and behavior. A leader would share meaning through all their interactions. In a hybrid setting, management of meaning remains essential. We cannot deny that it's pretty challenging to communicate "meaning" in a hybrid workplace, as it's part of building the culture, which is one main challenge within a hybrid workforce. Yet, being challenging doesn't release leadership responsibility towards building meaning.
3. Management of Trust
Building trust among employees is one of the essential leadership skills. Not a single book or workshop about Leadership is free of advice regarding the issue of trust, and its importance remains the same and even more as we move into the hybrid era.
Trust has always been a beneficial force in the workplace, but it is now a game-changer. Almost every decision managers and employees make in a hybrid working paradigm are based on trust. According to the Capgemini Research Institute's recent report, The Future of Work, trustworthy work culture is one of the four key building blocks for the new hybrid working paradigm. The impact of trust is remarkable: according to Harvard Business Review research, employees in high-trust companies report:5
- 106% more energy at work
- 50% higher productivity
- 40% less burnout and
- 13% fewer sick days
When creating and sustaining trust, frontline managers must be flexible and avoid a "one-size-fits-all" approach. They need to understand their employees' needs, thus catering to their trust needs.
What are the most effective ways for frontline supervisors to establish their trustworthiness? In a nutshell, it's all about communication. We know that deceptive communication makes it difficult for employees to trust their bosses; therefore, being honest and transparent will prove their trustworthiness. Rather than micromanaging employees by checking in on them frequently, managers can arrange individual check-ins to provide guidance, share recent successes, and clarify the company's direction. The predictability of a standing meeting offers a sense of security, which can help to foster trust. 6
4. Management of Self
The entire situation since the pandemic has been unpredictable for all of us. The situation has been packed with unknown factors that left us all perplexed and confused. Hence, as we move into the hybrid workplace, the situation still remains unfamiliar. As we comprehend, different situations, call for various skill sets. Therefore, leaders to assess the situation, and evaluate themselves. What skills do they currently have?
What are their strengths? What do they need to develop? As they call for their employees to adapt and become flexible, leaders themselves need to know what they can offer and what they need to work on as they charter those unknown waters. Employees need leaders who can strengthen and nurture them, and leaders cannot provide that unless they understand and manage themselves first.
The LIFO Orientations Leadership essentials survey is a practical tool that helps leaders explpore themselves and gain more self-awareness. It allows leaders tremendously in identifying their unique leadership styles learning to be more versatile in approaching people and problems. Hence, it helps them collaborate better with others who have a different communication style. Click Leadership for more on Leadership Styles Survey.
1Warren Bennis, The Four Competencies of Leadership, 1984
2Chief Learning Officer, 9 Dec 2021, Matt Donovan and Leah Clark, The Hybrid Workforce: More than simply being Virtual, Accessed 27 Jan 2022, https://www.chieflearningofficer.com/2021/12/09/the-hybrid-workforce-more-than-simply-being-virtual/
3Accessed 22 Feb 2022, https://icma.org/blog-posts/values-based-leadership-leading-principle#:~:text=Values%2Dbased%20leadership%20is%20the,live%20according%20to%20these%20beliefs.
4RecruiteeBlog, 27 July 2021, Brendan Mcconnell, Building and Maintaining your hybrid workplace culture, Accessed 27 Jan 2022, https://recruitee.com/articles/hybrid-workplace-culture
5 Capgemini, 3 Sep 2021, Isabelle Lamothe and Berenice Thiberge Durufle and Marie Kirstein-Bandmierowski, Trust at the heart of Hybrid Working, Accessed 27 Jan 2022, https://www.capgemini.com/2021/09/trust-at-the-heart-of-hybrid-working/#:~:text=Trust%20is%20built%20by%20getting,to%20interact%20with%20each%20other.
6Forbes, 10 Aug 2021, Garen Staglin, Why trust is critical for the future of Remote and Hybrid Work, Accessed 27 Jan 2022, https://www.forbes.com/sites/onemind/2021/08/10/why-trust-is-critical-for-the-future-of-remote-and-hybrid-work/?sh=254f6a4e5b96
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