As the effects of the pandemic continue to alter the world and workplace, many organizations have continued to follow a remote and hybrid model for work. Leading in a remote and hybrid workplace is a challenge. The work is face-paced, and the daily interactions we have with our team are often brief. A quick email. A rushed and interrupted phone call. A passing hello, with our hands full as we carry our laptops into the office to get settled.
When zoom fatigue has set in and our attempts at connection with our teams have left us feeling more disconnected than ever, it is time to slow down and get back to basics. Leading in a remote and hybrid workplace may be different, but leading well in that environment doesn’t have to be.
Basic Principles for Leading in a Remote and Hybrid Workplace
Be Clear About Your Expectations
Give clear instructions. This is even more important when you are working with teams over a distance. When setting your expectations ask follow-up questions to check for understanding. If people do not know your expectations, how can they know if they are reaching them?
Be Timely with Your Feedback
When you realize that your expectations are not being met, give your feedback promptly. Don’t wait until their six-month review to address the problem areas. Address issues as soon as they come up. Accountability requires that you be accountable in holding people accountable! But this accountability and prompt feedback must be balanced!
This is an incredibly important concept. There is nothing written in stone that says all forms of feedback must be negative. It is easy to give praise virtually through a quick note or shoutout, but don’t be tempted to save all negative feedback for those in-person interactions. Give positive feedback more than you give negative feedback in every interaction. Catch people doing things right!
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to leading well in a remote and hybrid workplace.
Don’t play favorites. Your expectations should apply to everyone on your team. Others will notice if you are inconsistent and let some people get away with things that others can’t.
Avoid criticizing people in front of their peers. In a virtual office, don’t leave feedback in public forums or on tasks that others have access to. Save any critical notes, emails, phone class, or even better, in-person private interactions. The humiliation often coupled with that experience of being public will often lead to greater negative consequences. When giving people feedback, address them privately and respectfully.
Forgiving a person who has failed to deliver on expectations is sometimes a way to set up better performances in the future. Everyone has undergone an incredible amount of stress over the last two years, and a little dose of grace goes a long way.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to leading well in a remote and hybrid workplace. The basic principles that worked in the office are still effective no matter where you are leading your team from.
What leadership principle do you find most effective in leading your remote or hybrid team?