Tips for Enhancing the Performance of Hybrid Teams

Tips for Enhancing the Performance of Hybrid Teams

This blog focuses on leadership practices that we’ve found are key for enhancing the performance of hybrid teams.

1. Make sure expectations and priorities are clear

It is easy for expectations and priorities to get jumbled in the world of hybrid work. People hear different things from different team members. New work comes in each day.

In the case of communicating expectations to people who work for you, you carry an implicit authority to tell people what to do. However, it’s never the best approach to impose your expectations. Instead, you should aim to foster a sense of ownership. It’s important to imagine yourself in each person’s shoes and listen for clues – are there issues that people are afraid to raise?

Part of clarifying expectations is also being clear about decision-making:

    2. Facilitate regular check-ins

    Effective motivation and performance management hinges on regular, frequent, meetings to discuss how things are going. Use the agreed-upon expectations and actions steps as the basis for regular updates and check-ins – daily, weekly, and monthly.

    One way to do this is with a daily virtual huddle – 15-30 minutes each day where people can ask questions and align priorities. One of our clients has a ritual that people stand during their virtual huddles to reinforce the idea that it is a huddle, not an hour-long meeting.

    Through your 1:1 check-ins, you can explore more deeply how individual team members are faring and make sure you’ve communicated clearly, acknowledge that your “transmitter” may not always work perfectly. So, check for understanding by asking:

    • What questions do you have?
    • How can I help clarify?
    • What concerns do you have?
    • What are the inter-dependencies; who is dependent on whom to get their work done?
    • What are potentially conflicting priorities?
    • What are ways to overcome those potential conflicts?

    Your job at these meetings is to facilitate discussion i.e., to ask questions and listen: Where do people feel successful? Where are they stuck? What do they need to succeed? Help them identify things within their control to change.

    3. Avoid micro-managing your team

    Don’t fall into the trap of micro-managing. Give people some latitude in choosing how they get things done. Trusting them to get the job done is motivating. Micro-managing sends the opposite signal – that you don’t trust them. And if a given assignment is no longer a priority, make sure you communicate that clearly.

    4. Maintain a calm, positive leadership style

    As the leader of your team, you need to display integrity in all your actions and maintain a clear professional line. Be fair and even-handed and display a positive leadership style.

    Tangible things to do:

    • Be humble. Admit mistakes. Invite people to give input. Say: “Help me understand” or “I would value hearing your perspective and ideas on how best to do this.”
    • Take time to get to know the team and carve out time for the team to share things about themselves with each other – have regular round robin discussions about various topics of interest, what each team member enjoys about their work, what they would like to do more of, etc.
    • Provide people opportunities to talk during meetings.
    • Take the Straight Talk® survey; talk about and appreciate everyone’s communication style preferences.

    5. Develop a culture of trust within your hybrid team

    You can build trust with your hybrid team through small daily acts of kindness – texting a message about a job well done, sending an article that they might find interesting, and taking the time to talk to them on the phone about a challenge they’re facing. Here are some other ways:

    1. Enable job crafting: Research shows that letting people exercise choice in the projects they work on results in higher productivity, especially when combined with clear expectations and accountability.
    2. Share information broadly: Keeping everyone in the loop promotes trust. Daily communication with your hybrid team increases engagement and productivity.
    3. Give people stretch assignments: Providing people opportunities to take on challenging but achievable projects or tasks builds trust – and the capacity of the team.
    4. Intentionally build relationships: Intentionally building social ties and connections at work is key to improving trust.
    5. Spend time on the “why:” Giving space for people to talk about what they find most fulfilling in the work they do fosters work-life integration and sense of purpose – and is a way to help people feel connected to something larger than themselves. That sense of connectedness is particularly important in a hybrid world, where it is all too easy to become isolated and disengaged.

    Conclusion

    As a leader of a hybrid team, your job is to connect, engage, facilitate, and motivate. Aligning people around clear expectations, facilitating regular check-ins, and fostering trust is not always easy – but the rewards are there for the leader who is up for the challenge.


    Want to learn more?

    If you’re looking to learn more about enhancing your hybrid team’s performance or if you’re ready to take your organization to the next level in other ways, contact us to speak with a consultant.

    Eric Douglas

    Eric Douglas is the senior partner and founder of Leading Resources Inc., a consulting firm that focuses on developing high-performing organizations. For more than 20 years, Eric has successfully helped a wide array of government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations achieve breakthroughs in performance. His new book The Leadership Equation helps leaders achieve strategic clarity, manage change effectively, and build a leadership culture.

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