The pandemic has forced employees into remote and hybrid work environments. And while it may have changed the ways leaders lead, it did not alter the fundamental tenets of intelligent leadership. Leaders have to find ways to engage, empower, and motivate their workforce while building and maintaining a solid organizational culture.

The global pandemic sent workforces around the world into home offices. With the end of the ordeal nowhere in sight, some workers have returned to their offices while others have remained home, creating hybrid teams. Leaders and managers have to continue delivering top-notch leadership under these unprecedented conditions.

Remote and hybrid leadership entails new challenges.

Leadership Coaching and Hybrid Teams

The core tenets of intelligent leadership do not change for remote and hybrid teams. A true leader still predicates his/her position and approach on two fundamental pillars:

  • Helping people assess where they are and learn where they want to be
  • Identifying the gap between the two and drawing up a plan to close it

However, the challenges leaders and managers have to overcome to achieve these fundamental leadership goals have multiplied and changed. The essence of intelligent leadership is the same, but the methods are different. The post-pandemic, hybrid workforce environment has ushered in hurdles like:

  • Communication difficulties and more frequent misunderstandings
  • A higher degree of isolation for leaders and team members
  • Reduced situational awareness
  • A lack of small-talk and natural social mingling around the water cooler
  • A lack of knowledge about the daily struggles of team members
  • Wedges appearing between remote and in-office teams

How can leadership coaching professionals help the leaders of today and tomorrow handle these challenges?

Showing Vulnerability

Contrary to what the instincts of some may say, by showing vulnerability in front of their reports, leaders do not discredit themselves. Coupled with honesty, such an approach is an effective way to build trust.

Executive coaching professionals should advise their clients to navigate the troubled waters of hybrid team cooperation together with their teams instead of acting as an all-knowing source of direction and wisdom.

By admitting the limits of their knowledge, leaders empower their employees to pitch in on equal footing. By adopting a cooperative approach to problem-solving, leaders facilitate a more effective clearing of hurdles, in addition to building trust and cementing employee loyalty.

A Renewed Focus on Communication

With hybrid teams, communication becomes more critical than ever. Leaders can overhaul and republish organizational communication policies and standards, making sure that everyone is on the same page. In addition to ensuring the seamless circulation of information, such efforts should also aim to give everyone an equal opportunity to share and receive knowledge.

Communication has always been the main ingredient of effective leadership. 

In my executive coaching and leadership development books, I have extolled the advantages of channels allowing open and unfiltered communication. By setting up open forums for teams, leaders can address the issue of schisms between on-site and remote teams.

Revamping Rewards and Redefining Motivation

Motivating employees is a multi-faceted and intricate issue. Some respond well to rewards. Some like to assume psychological ownership of projects. Feeling empowered is a peerless source of motivation for others.

Monetary rewards may provide some motivation, but in the context of intelligent leadership, this method may seem antiquated and less effective than some of the other potential solutions.

Creative executive coaching professionals have been advocating for the redefinition of employee rewards. People value spending meaningful time with their local communities, families, and friends more than ever. Implementing rewards programs around these values makes more sense than ever. Social gatherings and various indoor and outdoor activities make attractive rewards that may contribute to team building and a strong organizational culture.

Providing Career Development Opportunities

Intelligent leaders realize that by offering their employees career development and leadership opportunities, they motivate them on the one hand while taking care of the succession needs of their organization on the other. Making coaching and mentoring an integral part of organizational culture is, therefore, a top priority.

Remote mentoring programs can cover this essential need in a hybrid environment. A well-implemented virtual leadership coaching program should work just as well as an in-person one.

In the grand scheme of things, hybrid teams and the remote work environment represent but a stage. The way we work and lead our workforce will continue to change. As always, organizations that can adapt to these changes quickly and seamlessly will be the ones to profit and survive into the future.

Interested in leadership and business coaching? Check out my books.


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