How To Succeed As A Manager In Hybrid Workspaces?

The pandemic started driving work towards a more unpredictable direction. Organizations are experimenting with their work strategies. Some are adopting remote work, some are adopting hybrid, while the rest are working in distributed teams.

This has posed a different kind of challenge for managers and leaders. The Global Leadership Forecast 2021 shares that HR doesn’t think leaders are doing nearly as well as leaders say they are. Majority of leaders say their company has high-quality leadership, but only a minute number of HRs agree with this. The same report also stated that leaders who are spending more time managing than interacting are 32% less engaged, 1.5X more likely to feel used up at the end of the day, and 2X more likely to leave within 12 months.

It makes it clear why it is so important to have the right kind of leaders who are driven and inspire others with their drive too. According to the Annual Leadership Development Survey (2021), over 66 percent of organizations provide some or the other kind of leadership character development program, either separately or as part of a leadership skills program. In a recent Press Release by Gartner, it was found that one of the top HR priorities for 2022 is the current and future leadership bench (45%). So, more and more businesses are modifying their criteria in selecting the new leaders and managers. 

PMaps conducted a LinkedIn survey in which working professionals were asked which is the skill they consider the most important in managers. The majority of the respondents considered all the three skills, Empathy, Integrity and Conflict Management as critical in the future leaders.

So here we are, sharing with you three critical competencies that you should consider while selecting the future managers and leaders – 

  • Empathy

Empathetic managers are able to put themselves in the shoes of the employees and are therefore aware of their needs. They understand the ‘WHYs’ behind low performance and workplace behaviour. This automatically makes such managers create a more helping and supportive environment for the employees to become more productive. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella believes that empathy is the core to the innovation agenda in the company and drives successful leadership. Forbes Coaches Council has also listed Empathy as one of the top skills that every business leader should possess. 

This skill especially comes into play when people are working in remote, hybrid and distributed environments. Empathetic leaders thoughtfully consider other operating elements and feeling aspects when making careful judgements about the employees instead of jumping into conclusions. They are able to create the balance between organization’s interest and employee’s interest. 

  • Integrity 

Leaders with integrity operate with a strict moral code, even when no one is present and they are under high-pressure situations. Integrity becomes extremely important when people are working from a distant place and nobody is keeping an eye on them. It is then such managers, demonstrating integrity, also inspire their employees to do the right thing even when no one is watching. Robert Half Management Resources Survey interviewed the chief financial officers (CFOs) by enquiring about the trait they look for in future leaders. 1/3rd of them said that integrity is what they look for most in future leaders. Employees also show their preference in working with such leaders, because they treat their employees fairly (even if they are working in distributed teams and aren’t working from a physical office space) at the workplace.

  • Conflict Management

Different perspectives at workplace can often create clashes between team members, too. Such conflicts worsen when people are communicating virtually. Around 81 percent of professionals have experienced workplace conflict during remote working. It is because, here, social etiquettes might sometimes be compromised and incivility gets heightened. This is where managers who are good with conflict management come in. Such managers carry the willingness to effectively resolve conflicts and disagreements within and between teams by considering and understanding the team’s viewpoint. They ensure that every person involved has their say when such matters arise. Furthermore, they make sure they handle such clashes in a rational and fair manner, focusing on facts and then evaluating neutrally before making a statement about the situation.

–  Somya Verma
PMaps – Psychologist