New work environments have brought with them a demand for new managing skills for hybrid workplaces. Let’s explore what they are!
While some companies have returned to the office full-time, there are many others that learned the positive effects of a more flexible approach during the pandemic. For these organizations, helping their managers acquire the right managing skills for hybrid workplaces will make a big difference.
But what does that mean for those who oversee these increasingly common hybrid teams? What new managing skills will prove to be vital for those leading hybrid workplaces? And what role must managers play to ensure a healthy work environment for all employees?
Why Are New Managerial Skills Necessary at Hybrid Workplaces?
With hybrid forces growing and more people spending at least half the time working remotely, managers are not only becoming the best way to build a real connection between employers and employees to nurture a sense of belonging. They’ve also become a vital part of keeping companies’ cultures alive.
Managers may have to find ways to build camaraderie between employees that no longer spend most of their days a few cubicles away from each other. They’ll need to create safe spaces for conversations and meetings to happen productively. In addition to that, new managing skills for hybrid workplaces will include finding ways to ensure the same opportunities and interactions are being made available to both remote and in-person employees. That everyone’s being heard and given a chance to grow no matter who they are or where they are working from.
Must-Have Managerial Skills for Hybrid Workplaces
1Communication matters: Managers in hybrid workplaces will need to be great communicators. Not only will they be the main link between remote and in-person team members, they’ll also be the ones connecting every person on their team to the company and, thus, to the opportunities to grow and thrive within it. Their conversations will have to be more in-depth and more personal, meaning conversational and listening skills will have to adapt to the needs of an unprecedented workforce. This communication will also include time management and making sure that calendars and meetings are productive for everyone. Follow-ups to some conversations will have to happen individually, since informal conversations at the office will only be possible with some team members whereas the goal is for everyone to be in the loop.
2Hope for the best but prepare for the worst: No one wants the worst to happen, but the last few years have taught us that there is plenty that can go wrong or complicate work-life as we know it. Things that are out of our control can take over and make it difficult for business to go on as usual and managers and their teams should at least try to prepare for the unexpected. The latest crisis transformed workforces worldwide, but it also gave us a glimpse into what organizations will need. There is no way to anticipate every possible scenario but being flexible and willing to change and adapt will be a key element for companies moving forward. It will also be part of the skillset they demand of their managers, with a need for leaders that can carry out changes on the go in times of crisis. According to the Harvard Business Review, hybrid models will allow leaders and their teams greater opportunities to step up in times of crisis. For this to happen, managers will need a clear understanding of not just the possible challenges ahead, but of every team member and the skills to face them.
3Equal expectations and clear objectives: It will undoubtedly be easier to shine at in-person meetings and other work events than remotely. So, giving all team members clear objectives and responsibilities as well as ensuring a balance of expectations and opportunities, regardless of how or where they work, will be a valuable managing skill. Managers will have to learn how to measure productivity depending on the specific goals required of each team member, as well as recognize important traits and skillsets that might differ from traditional productivity standards. Since teams and their responsibilities will be so different in hybrid workplaces, it will be up to the leaders to identify the aptitudes that define their strongest or weakest players in their teams. And to make sure that those working remotely are being given the same chances to grow as their in-person or hybrid counterparts.
4People Skills: People skills are more important than ever for managers leading hybrid teams. These leaders will have to be more empathetic and better listeners who can adapt their managing and coaching styles to make sure they’re reaching all team members, whether it’s in person through face-to-face exchanges or remotely, through virtual meetings, calls, texts, and emails. Managers will have to be approachable and find ways to connect with the team, while also nurturing healthy relationships among remote and in person team members. They will also need to pay more attention to those who are working remotely and make sure they see beyond what the camera may show. Being able to read team members and their needs will become an important managing skill for hybrid workplaces.
5Cultivate a sense of belonging: Needless to say, making sure that employees feel a sense of belonging and purpose is a vital part in retaining talent and guaranteeing they reach their full potential within the company. This means managing skills for hybrid workplaces will require team leaders to remain inclusive, listen to everyone, and come up with ways to ensure that those who are working remotely feel as much a part of the team as people who are at the office full-time. This will require for manages to learn how to balance group and one-on-one discussions and to ensure that everyone has enough time to work and rest, including themselves. Making team members feel taken care of and safe will also make them more likely to fulfil what’s expected of them.
The Company Plays a Part
Just as organizations are beginning to rely on their managers to communicate with their teams about their needs and concerns, managers need to know their organizations have their backs. Leaders with the right managing skills can create diverse teams that will thrive in hybrid workplaces at even the most challenging of times, but they will need their company’s support.
Many managers will have to learn how to lead and communicate inclusively and effectively as they go. And companies should learn to not only encourage, but also make sure managers are being emotionally and economically supported as they navigate these hybrid workspaces and the new managing skills they require.