Your LEADERS' make the difference.

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Your LEADERS' make the difference.

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Maree's Blog

The importance of trusting your team to do their jobs - in this remote/hybrid work environment

As we settle into a new way of working, flexible working is becoming a permanent feature of the workplace. More people are choosing to work from home several days a week, and the struggle for managers to stay on top of what everyone is doing and trusting them to do it is increasing.
 
I remember many years ago, working one day a week from home was being trialled. Many managers were very nervous about this as they felt that the team would slack off on those days and not work. One manager distrusted her team so much she went to the extreme of doing home visits of those who requested this flexibility and ‘audited’ their environment for the appropriate home office set-up!
 
We’ve come a long way since then, and the last two years have shown us that productivity doesn’t need to diminish based on where people work. Over time I think we will find that flexible and hybrid working will show a lift in productivity as people are not forced into working in a timeframe that has never suited them.
 
Don’t expect your team to work as you do
 
You know whether you are an early bird, or a night owl and when you do your best work. Everyone works differently and I’m finding that as people can work in accordance with their body clock, they can focus on doing their most important work when they are most productive. This may not necessarily be between business hours.
 
Leading in hybrid working conditions still requires you to have basic management skills. We need to trust them, to gain their trust. I find the leaders who show through their actions that they trust their team, get this trust back.
 
The leaders I work with demonstrate trust by:

  • Being reliable and doing what they say they will do.
  • Accepting others for who they are without judging.
  • Being open and transparent and share as much as they can with their team.
  • Creating rapport and building a harmonious relationship with each member of their team.

Communicate
 
When we were forced to change how we worked two years ago, I encouraged my clients to over-communicate with their team. For them to keep getting in touch, and sharing more information than they may have been comfortable with. And this was great initially. However, teams became tired of receiving too many emails; phone calls; Zoom meetings; and instant messages. A balance had to be found.
 
As we become more comfortable with this new working model, communication is still essential. It must be the right amount delivered the right way, to allow the team do their work efficiently. It must be enough that you know how each team member is going, particularly their emotional well-being. This means selecting mediums that have the best chance of getting your message across.
 
The best way to discover this is to ask your team.
 
Identify the skills and behaviours you may need to develop to continue to build trust with and within your team. The leaders who are excelling at the hybrid working model are the ones who have highly practiced behavioural skills (also called ‘soft’ skills). Behavioural skills include things like effectively communicating and listening, being able to deal with challenging people, giving and receiving feedback, building rapport, delegating, being empathetic, and managing conflict.
 
This is leading, which requires new skills, so be prepared to become a learner again. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you manage in this changed working environment - both as a team member and as a leader.

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