Leadership Management in your Hybrid Office

July 27th, 2023
5 mins to read
Leadership Management in your Hybrid Office

Learn strategies for fostering team cohesion through strong leadership management. Elevate collaboration with tailored approaches for the workplace.

Throughout the last couple of years, we have seen companies face the sudden need to adapt, having to transition into working remotely with minimal experience and preparation. Despite having limited visibility into workloads and processes, leaders and managers are charged with expectations to navigate and ensure smooth workflow in a hybrid environment. 

Leadership v.s. Management?

Being a leader does not necessarily make you a manager, and vice versa. Though we sometimes use the two terms interchangeably, a leader is what we like to call the “visioner” and a manager is the “executor.” Understanding the difference between the two is crucial to knowing what kind of role is needed in your office. This blog focuses on how to overcome the challenges that both leaders and managers face in the hybrid workplace. For the purpose of clarity, we will be using the term “leader.”

Leadership Management as a Challenge

The biggest challenge when it comes to leadership management in the hybrid workplace is team cohesion and camaraderie. Let’s discuss the two types of workplace settings:

1. OnSite Workplace 

In an on-site office setting, leaders leverage real-life organic interactions. Look at it this way: Employees have the freedom to simply walk up to a coworker’s desk to discuss the latest projects, gossip in the break room, and make spontaneous happy hour plans for after work. 

There is only so much one can do through a computer screen. 

2. Remote Workplace

In a remote environment, leaders have to put in significantly more effort to encourage team cohesion and engagement between employees. They struggle to recreate the cohesiveness, collaboration, and camaraderie that a physical office provides, putting leadership effectiveness at risk. 

There is also a lack of proper processes for leaders in a remote and hybrid workplace. The 2021 Remote Work & Compensation Pulse Survey by Salary.com found that 72% of businesses do not have a formal process to figure out pay for remote employees.

In overcoming hybrid workplace challenges, it is necessary to take time to guide your team during the process. Successful leaders maintain and establish inclusive practices that foster inclusion and shared understanding. A 2023 HR/L&D Trends Survey by The Ken Blanchard Companies found that the leadership skills most needed in 2023 are talent engagement and development, support in change initiatives, establishing goals, and a sense of belonging. 

Top Four Leadership Skills

1. Talent Engagement and Development

Employees are prone to feeling more detached in a virtual environment. As a leader, it is important you ensure that your team members feel valued and appreciated. 

  • Conduct one-on-one check-ins and provide frequent feedback to keep the team engaged while supporting their development and growth. 
  • Adopt virtual training programs, online workshops, and team development plans. 

When employees are provided with these opportunities, they gain new knowledge and skills collectively. Encouraging a shared learning experience is important in a hybrid workplace because it creates a common language and understanding among team members. (Hint: this builds team cohesion and camaraderie!)

2. Support in Change Initiatives

Leaders should first acknowledge the changes that lie in a hybrid workplace. Exhibit reassurance to your team that no matter where they work, their contributions are valued and their efforts are seen. In the hybrid workplace, employees often find themselves facing unfamiliarity. For example, a lack of clarity in what kind of questions to ask 

  • Show proactiveness by initiating communication and gathering valuable insights. 
  • Take the first step: solicit questions to foster a more open and supportive environment.
  • Set the stage for effective communication and provide the necessary support.

3. Establishing Goals

Teams are collectively fighting the feeling of losing control in tracking progress towards goals. Your team members will look towards you to provide a sense of direction and purpose. In a hybrid work environment, it is even more crucial that they understand the overarching objectives and priorities in order to work towards a common purpose. 

4. Fostering a Sense of Belonging 

A community does not necessarily mean a physical one. Sure, we’re all about the free, refillable coffee, but it is not always about the physical attributes, but rather the sense of belonging. In a hybrid workplace, it is crucial that employees feel included as a team, as there can sometimes be an accidental separation among teams working in the office versus teams working remotely. 

  • Cultivate the well-being of your team and incorporate team cohesion practices.
  • For example bonding activities, personal development chats, team projects, and open discussions

Why This Matters

An effective hybrid workplace requires an open-minded team where visions and actions are aligned, and healthy leadership management is the first step to achieve that. Building a sense of belonging does not happen overnight, but can be fostered with the right efforts. At the end of the day, we just want to feel good at our job! 

The next time you’re looking to build leadership, think about:

  • Talent Engagement and Development
  • Supporting change initiatives
  • Establishing goals
  • Fostering a sense of belonging. 

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Erica Lim
Erica Lim

Erica is a Marketing Content Analyst at Litespace with a passion to help companies foster stronger corporate culture and better employee engagement in the hybrid work environment. Specializing in marketing and communications, Erica is eager to share her knowledge and research on hybrid work. 

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