Hybrid teams need hybrid leaders

Is your organisation embracing the hybrid working trend? It wouldn’t be alone – In their latest research on the subject, the Office for National Statistics found that over half (56%) of workers reporting having had the option to do some or all of their work from home in the preceding 7 days – 28% had split their days between home and the workplace, 16% had worked exclusively from home and another 10% had travelled to the office every day, but had the option to work from home. (ONS, Feb 2023)

It’s not hard to see the reasons behind these numbers – the ONS has previously found that over three-quarters (78%) of hybrid workers had a better work-life balance, nearly half (47%) reported improved wellbeing and a majority said they were quicker to complete work (52%) and had fewer distractions (53%) whilst working remotely. Meanwhile, over a third of organisations (41%) reported increased productivity in hybrid workers, as well as a significant majority (60%) seeing better levels of wellbeing in their staff. (ONS, May 2022)

With the right to request flexibility in working arrangements from the very first day of employment now enshrined in law, these numbers will keep rising, particularly in the UK’s service-based economy.

As well as thinking about the important practicalities of hybrid working like technology and working patterns, it’s vital for HR and L&D teams to be proactive in thinking about the support their staff will need in order to realise and maintain the benefits listed above. One extremely effective place to target support is the knowledge, skills and behaviours of their hybrid teams’ leaders, who will almost certainly need to think and act differently in order to optimise productivity and keep everyone engaged.

Below, we have explored four areas of leadership practice where the right training, at the right time, can turn regular leaders into hybrid ones, who are equipped and confident to get exceptional performance out of their team, wherever they are working from.

Develop clear policies, set good goals

Remote and hybrid workers enjoy the autonomy and independence of their working arrangements, but these must be granted within a framework of clearly communicated expectations and well-defined goals – two key tenets of good people management.

Individuals with a comprehensive understanding of their role and responsibilities are less likely to become disengaged as a result of where/how they are working. When you’re accepting that the quality of peoples’ work matters more than where it’s done, well-planned and carefully-created goals and objectives are needed to drive motivation and enable accurate assessment, without creating undue pressure (i.e. stress)

Guide performance without micromanagement

In wanting to ensure productivity, it can be tempting for managers to check-in with people too often and ‘audit’ their performance to an unnecessary extent. This creates an overbearing culture where workers feel like their leader doesn’t trust them and makes them less likely to invest trust in return. Hybrid leaders monitor performance via effective delegation which, in turn, empowers people. They provide feedback and suggest improvement in a psychologically safe way.

Build a sense of belonging

What better way to ensure that people are engaged with their work, from wherever they are doing it, than creating an atmosphere that makes them feel like their work matters? This is both their personal contribution as well as that of the team to the wider organisation.

Effective remote and hybrid leaders celebrate performance, signpost success and encourage creative and innovative thinking. They earn respect, develop trust and carefully curate a team culture that transcends any physical separation. Putting in the time and effort to fully understand all team members is another crucial aspect – one where coaching-related skills like active listening and asking good questions pay dividends.

Don’t be afraid of informality

In the hybrid working environment, where conversations and interactions are more likely to be scheduled at specific times and given an estimated (or strict) duration, it’s easy to lose the informal nature of a shared physical working environment. Hybrid leaders shouldn’t be afraid to actively pursue casual and less-structured communication.

Whether this means calling someone up to ask how their weekend was or sending a message in the group chat asking for film recommendations, an element of informality is essential to a happy workplace and connected team, and shouldn’t be disrupted by the remote office. Informal communication breaks down barriers, promotes authenticity and creates a positive atmosphere – benefits which, in turn, help to build trust, unlock innovation and boost resilience.


New pearls of wisdom®

Some of the newest additions to our extensive catalogue of microlearning pearls of wisdom® have been targeted at in-the-moment support for hybrid and remote managers and team members, including:

Working in a Hybrid Team
Managing a Hybrid Team
The Happy Home Worker
Building Effective Remote Teams

P403 – Building Effective Remote Teams

‘Hybrid Working’ Workshops

We can deliver learning workshops in support of hybrid working
knowledge and skills, including:

Managing a Hybrid Team

By the end of this session, you will be better able to:
• Understand the impact of the hybrid environment on team performance and staff engagement and ways to derive maximum benefit from hybrid working
• Adapt your leadership styles to meet individual and team needs
• & more…

Working Effectively in a Hybrid Team

By the end of this session, you will be better able to:
• Understand the impact of the hybrid environment on the team and its work
• Proactively take responsibility for your performance through goal setting and seeking out development opportunities
• & more…

We have an extensive range of workshops for virtual and face-to-face delivery.
Topics such as…

Remote Team Building
Sustaining Performance of Remote Teams
One-to-Ones & Coaching for Remote Workers
Motivating Self & Setting Goals

…would make valuable additions to a programme of learning for hybrid workers.


To enquire about learning support for your remote/hybrid leaders, managers and wider workforce, use the buttons below to head to our ‘Talk to Us’ page and send us an email or fill out an enquiry form. We will be pleased to send you further details, answer any questions or arrange a friendly, informal exploratory chat around your requirements.

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