It is one thing to take a group of individuals and create a team in a shared environment. It is another when everyone is remote from each other, yet on a level (although challenging sometimes) playing field. But when some of your team members are in the office together some of the time, some may work flexible schedules, and countless other variables may come into play, then what? That is a classic example of a hybrid team. Here are three things you must do now to create and support successful hybrid teams.
Engage Team Members More
If you are still determining what your future workplace will look like (schedules and physical situations), engage your team members more. The more involved in the decision-making people are, and the more transparent the process, the more commitment you will gain for your final plan. If your plan is in place, engage the team in your implementation as much as possible for the same reasons.
Once you are in a new “steady state” of operations, engagement of team members will continue to be critical. It is likely not everyone will have equal access (whether this is perceived or real) to leaders and won’t all feel they have the chance to participate in projects equally. By continuing to engage, ask and involve your team members as much as possible, you begin to overcome some of the unknowns and anxieties that will otherwise arise.
Make Expectations Clearer
As the working situation changes, the expectations regarding the work will change in some ways. As a leader we must be especially clear on what these expectations are, and diligent in making them mutually understood with team members. Specifically, there will be expectations in three areas:
- The why expectations
- The what expectations
- The how expectations
While the “what expectations” – the work deliverables themselves, the quality and timeliness of those deliverables may not change, now is the perfect to reassess and reconfirm them with individuals and the larger team as well. Coming out of a fully remote period of work, people may not know the larger criteria for successful work and these can be clarified for mutual benefit and a more successful hybrid team.
The “why expectations” or the why of the work must also be clear. Have you ever had a task to do, but didn’t know who was using it or for what purpose? Were you as successful in doing it, or find as much meaning in that work? this is precisely why the purpose and why of the work must be clear. The longer people worked alone, the less likely the purpose of the work (or the connection between their outputs and team success) was clear. Clarifying the why expectations of work are critical to the overall teams success and return of individual team members too.
Lastly the “how expectations” are the expectations about how people will interrelate, collaborate, and communicate. Without question these expectations will change (again) as people settle into a new setoff working parameters. Work with the team and individuals to determine these expectations as the way you work continues to change.
Let Them Help You Create Success
The move to a hybrid working arrangement is more complex and contains more unknowns than most of us have encountered in the past. As a leader if you are anxious about this, it is understandable. If you aren’t, you probably don’t realize the broad impact and complexities in front of you.
You don’t need to have all the answers. Rather than putting pressure on yourself to figure it all out, invite the team to work with you to figure it out. You have competent people with a different perspective and experiences that can you create better situations for everyone. The best hybrid team leaders are willing to let go of some of their need for expertise and control and let the team help solve problems and create new solutions.
While a hybrid team approach carries new responsibilities for you, there are opportunities too. When you apply the three ideas shared here you will be on your way to reducing your risk and increasing the chance that everyone will succeed.
These three steps are a good starting point for your future success. But would you like more depth on these points and a broader toolkit that you can use in leading in this hybrid working world? If so, you can get immediate, lifetime access to the Building Effective Hybrid Teams Master Class. This solution will help you succeed more quickly and with greater confidence in building a successful hybrid team. You will repay your small investment in this Master Class within weeks – if not the first day!