We know hybrid from biology and of course from the automotive sector, which has revolutionized an entire industry. The term is still relatively new in connection with leadership. What exactly do we mean by this? Hybrid leadership connects employees who work together in physical (analog) and virtual (digital) spaces. Here, a big part of leadership is to integrate the "invisible" employee:s in the best possible way.If the office is no longer the daily place of meeting, collaboration and exchange as it is with pure presence teams, some compensation of personal contacts is needed. This is where hybrid leadership starts.
[#anchor2] Hybrid executive: A new job description? [#anchor2]
Hybrid operation calls for new leadership skills. In our current understanding of leadership, leadership is understood as service (servant leadership). In doing so, the manager respects the interests and needs of the team members and merely provides a framework or a framework for the team. Provide guard rails within which the team can move independently. In hybrid work structures, the boundaries between private and professional life become more permeable, which has advantages for some managers and disadvantages for others. By working from home some of the time, you sometimes involuntarily provide glimpses into your private life (z.B. A toddler who could not go to daycare crawls through the picture during the team meeting). On the one hand, this makes people more approachable, more authentic, more human – after all, it shows them from a different side besides their everyday professional life. On the other hand, this dissolution of the boundaries of work entails the following risks. Free time for many also motivational problems or even health risks. Here, in addition to self-care, a hybrid leader also has a duty to provide "team care" through their own example. It is essential to address the difficulties of hybrid collaboration in the team and to make agreements for hybrid collaboration together with the team, z.B. At what times everyone has to be available and when not. A hybrid manager sets a good example and also adheres to the times of non-availability and rest. In general: desired behavior is best exemplified!
Furthermore, a hybrid manager should permanently swear his team to reliable communication. This is the only way to ensure that virtual colleagues have the same level of information as those working in the office. In the real space, burgeoning conflicts are easier for a manager to deal with. Quicker to identify than in a virtual environment. He:she can z.B. Recognizing the first signs when two people in the office deliberately avoid each other, etc. A clarifying conversation over a meal or coffee can directly help to nip emerging conflicts in the bud. Virtually, these smoldering fires are often only recognized at a late stage. Therefore, a manager should have good antennae here and counteract at an early stage.
Hybrid leader: These are the skills that need to be developed
– Ability to focus and prioritize
– Technical mindset: Organizing digital meeting formats with a finger on the pulse (avatars have long since arrived in the professional world as well)
– Good sense of conflict management: group dynamics become more palpable in the hybrid context, "those in the office and those in the home office" ..
– Sense of justice: Colleagues on site are often perceived to be closer than those in the home office
– Knowledge transfer and communication flow: Important information briefly called across the desk must also be transported to those working remotely
– Trust is built through reliability
– Provide anchoring and security
[#anchor3] Hybrid leadership: Is this the leadership of the future?? [#anchor3]
Leadership has always been subject to constant change. Different leadership styles have been influenced by changes in the world of work (globalization, digitalization, etc.).) replaced or developed further, z.B. From hierarchical leadership to cooperative leadership. The hybrid leadership style is characterized primarily by the need to address the spatial distribution of individual team members. Even though many companies are increasingly relying on office presence again – as far as the pandemic situation allows – hybrid office structures will no longer disappear completely and thus form the new normal in many organizations. This requires a rethinking of organizational processes, frameworks and rules, starting with the question of when, where and how what takes place. It must be regulated which appointments are possible online and where presence is required.
Tip: It has proven effective to schedule team workshops, conflict discussions, feedback and (annual) employee interviews from time to time in the presence of the employees – especially with those who mostly work in the home office. This is how managers can. Employees:inside stay "in touch" as best as possible.
But the hybrid leadership style is not just the responsibility of the individual manager. The hybrid setting also has a significant impact on the corporate culture and urgently belongs on the agenda of those responsible for personnel and organizational development. There should not be a two-tier society between remote. Physically present arise. Because due to the reduced visibility caused by mobile working, phenomena of disadvantage often arise, even if unintentionally. An effective hybrid leadership style helps prevent those who operate from home from becoming supporting characters. To create a hybrid work culture, leaders need to communicate more frequently and differently. First and foremost, the aim is to create bilateral spaces in order to find out how the employees are feeling at the moment. The ultimate goal is to stay in dialogue with each other, to give appreciation and time, and also thereby not to miss potential burnout hazards. The hybrid leadership style is characterized by the leader actively creating space for connections, inspiring moments, interaction and informal exchange. These spaces can be initiated both virtually or in presence. The only important thing is that they take place.
[#anchor4] Leading hybrid teams: What matters [#anchor4]
The key factor for excellent teamwork is trust. This is even more true for the cooperation of hybrid teams. As is well known, trust cannot be prescribed, but certain framework conditions can allow trust to develop. Creating and maintaining this framework is the top task of a manager in hybrid teams. The supposed disadvantages of hybrid structures must be transformed into advantages and used profitably. Z.B.Hybrid meetings are usually more stressful than "pure" meetings, because our brain has to move in two realities at the same time. Nevertheless, the advantage can outweigh the disadvantage that hybrid meetings at least allow everyone to see each other and exchange ideas. This is where the qualities of hybrid leadership are needed.
Conclusion: For many companies, the office routine is now hybrid – and will remain so. The combination of on-site presence. Home office is increasingly establishing itself as the work model of the future. For all managers: panic is misplaced, because it does not require an additional leadership diploma. However, the critical core competency of a hybrid leader is to be able to create a framework in which team members can work well together, keeping in mind that no one is left behind, even those you rarely see in person. The flexibility for employees to choose from where they want to work will also increasingly become a decisive success criterion for organizations.