Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


Leading in a Hybrid World

Volume: May 2021

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
-Theodore Roosevelt

According to the last Wall Street Journal poll I read, only 13% of organizations stated they will return to a totally onsite workforce. Contrast that with 20% - 30% of organizations that confidently said they were going to remain totally virtual. That leaves roughly 60% of businesses (like Leadership Simplified) that will operate in a hybrid space where some workers (or part of their time) will be onsite, and other workers (or part of their time) will be virtual. This hybrid situation is brimming with efficiencies and cost savings. It also holds the possibility of inefficiencies and disenfranchised employees. While there are a litany of topics to address, today we will focus on four areas: Policies, Leading Others, Minimizing Burnout and Delivering Results. 

  1. Policies. The Covid Era has taught leaders that it is difficult to keep in front of the needs of employees. For the past 14 months most organizations have been playing defense as they have reacted to the variety of issues that their employees have faced. In the hybrid (onsite/virtual) work situation that has emerged, leaders will have to drive two broad areas regarding policy:
    1. What do our policies need to look like to best suit our organization and serve our marketplace?
    2. How can legal and operational risks associated with our policy-positioning be mitigated?      

  2. Leading Team Members. To lead an in-person workforce seems easy these days. A luxury. Over the past 14 months many leaders have gotten quite comfortable leading virtual team members as well. Bravo! As we codify the onsite/virtual continuum going forward, it will be paramount for leaders to effortlessly manage virtual personnel needs as effectively as they handle onsite employee needs. Here is an important datapoint for all of us to keep in mind: It takes 50% more leadership time with virtual team members versus onsite team members in order for them to feel connected to the workplace (Dyer, Dyer & Dyer). This calls for leaders to be on point in two areas:
    1. Build more leadership time into our calendars for virtual employees.
    2. Gain clarity on the type of communication and the level of frequency that will help individual virtual workers feel connected to your team.

  3. Minimizing Burnout. This is a topic that seemingly all of our clients are dealing with these days. While two items for your consideration are shown below, I am definitely interested in hearing from you regarding some of the best practices your organization is putting into play. For now, here are two areas to strongly ponder:
    1. Focus on the physical. Make certain that team members are getting a good amount of sleep. Encourage the right type of hydration. Provide healthy snacks and encourage smart diets. Exercise. Yes, yes, real perspiration people!
    2. Revisit your organization’s commitment to wellness programs. In conjunction with physical needs, make-sense wellness programs offer employee assistance (EAP) and mental wellness checkups. Keep this statistic in mind: According to a University of Manchester study, “more than 42% of people surveyed by the US Census Bureau in December 2020 reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, compared with 11% in December 2019.” Many team members are hurting, and leaders need to be on alert and ready to help.

  4. Delivering Results. One of my favorite leadership quotes is by Daniel Goleman, who said: “The leader’s singular job is to deliver results!” Right. That’s what it is all about: Delivering results to our customers, to our team members, to our community. So how do we execute best in a hybrid world? Here are two important actions for all leaders to consider:
    1. Be extremely clear about your expectations in three areas: Mission critical work tasks, work results, and work behaviors. Bonus points for gaining clarity on your team members’ expectations of you.
    2. On a monthly basis communicate and realign the top priorities in your area of responsibility. Fyi, not everyone has the same top-of-mind priorities that you do. Communicate!   
Bottom Line: You and your team are exceptional! Look at everything that you have been through. And, look at everything you have achieved along the way. Set clear policies that are a strategic fit for your organization. Lead your people more frequently and encourage them to truly take care of themselves. Clearly communicate your expectations and focus on ethical execution. Think of all that has been accomplished during turmoil. Now imagine how world-class your team will be when they have clear sailing!   
Until next time, be well.
Doug Van Dyke is a virtual and onsite executive coach, leadership development expert, teambuilder, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching, strategic planning, or to have Doug speak at your next event, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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