The COVID-19 pandemic brought fast-paced change to the world of work. Overnight, many switched from being co-located in an office to either hybrid or fully remote.2 The pandemic also accelerated and amplified the need for longstanding leadership and management challenges to be tackled, such as digital transformation, managing remotely, leading through rapid change, fear and uncertainty. However, many leaders have struggled to keep up with challenges left in the wake of the pandemic.
For example, a study of 3,500 leaders and managers across the UK, found that almost three quarters believed that leadership was lacking throughout the pandemic.3 Specific areas that leaders struggled with were empowering and motivating teams, problem-solving, empathy and emotional intelligence.3 Moreover, the World Economic Forum points to an urgent need for leadership upskilling in digital fluency and change management to remain competitive and agile in this new hybrid working context.4
How to effectively lead a hybrid team
The hybrid working world presents leaders with many challenges. It is time to shift from leading in crisis mode and assess what leadership tactics worked well throughout the pandemic. Doing so will enable leaders to develop a more accurate picture of how to effectively lead a hybrid team now and in the future.
Findings from a manager skills survey of 1000 employees5 showed that to be successful and overcome the challenges that the new hybrid workplace presents, those in leadership roles must dial-up their soft skills to maximise their performance and that of their hybrid team. Specifically, the survey found that employees believed their line managers and organisation have struggled to provide adequate support during the pandemic suitable for a hybrid workplace.5
Following an extensive literature review, we explore five insights into hybrid leadership and provide practical tips on how leaders can: lead their hybrid team with empathy, compassion and care, act with flexible working in mind, revive informal and formal learning, hyperfocus on network building, and use hybrid communication to create a working world that enables people to succeed.