01 Mar How to Build a High-Performing Team in Today’s Hybrid Environment
The way we work has changed dramatically in the last three years. While most of the workforce was in the office before the pandemic and almost all of the workforce was remote during the pandemic, we are now seeing hybrid teams becoming more of the norm. Whether you are leading a team that is fully remote, hybrid, or fully in the office, now is a great time to reflect on the way operational processes, communication tools, and culture impact your team’s ability to collaborate effectively and deliver results.
Hybrid Work by the Numbers
First, let’s look at just how prevalent hybrid work arrangements have become since the pandemic.
According to zippia.com*:
- 74% of U.S. companies are using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid work model.
- 63% of high-growth companies use a “productivity anywhere” hybrid work model.
- 55% of employees want to work remotely at least three days a week.
- 59% of employees are more likely to choose an employer that offers remote work opportunities over one that doesn’t.
No matter where team members are physically located, leaders need to constantly re-evaluate a variety of factors to motivate staff and drive results.
3 Key Ingredients To Building a High-Performing Team
First – have the team collaborate to identify a set of 3 to 5 shared values. Examples can include concepts such as “every teammate has a voice”, “my team has my back,” or even something as simple as “we will begin and end meetings on time.” Once these have been agreed on, find ways to ensure all team members are living them out day-to-day.
Second – build and reinforce a culture of respect. Teams made up of individuals with high social sensitivity, who allow all members to speak up, do not interrupt, and who include women in the group perform better than those who do not.
Third – strive to build a diverse team. This includes diversity of talent, experience, and ideas in addition to the more traditional ways we look at diversity such as race, gender, and age. A McKinsey study** of 366 public companies found that companies with an ethnically and gender-diverse workforce significantly outperformed their peers in terms of financial results.
Avoiding Groupthink – the Abilene Paradox.
Why do the diversity of thought, ideas, and communication styles matter? In 1974, professor Jerry B. Harvey introduced the idea of “the Abilene paradox.”*** It explains the tendency of people to go along with what they think the group wants to do — even when they themselves don’t want to do it. There is a breakdown of communication in which each member mistakenly believes that their own preferences are counter to the group’s and, therefore, they do not raise objections. They may even voice support for an outcome they think will fail.
4 Ideas That Will Improve the Performance of Your Team
- Lead With Trust. One of the more challenging behaviors as a leader, especially of a remote or hybrid team, is to trust your team to do the jobs they were hired to do. Make sure you have regular check-ins to review progress and track action items and how well goals are being met.
- Set goals, explain them clearly, and define measurable objectives. When you set specific and measurable goals, you avoid the temptation to micromanage. Your team is empowered by knowing expectations and what success looks like.
- Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Communicating frequently and effectively is critical. In the digital age of communication, sometimes written communication may be fraught with nuances that can lead to communication breakdowns. Encourage leadership and staff to over-communicate rather than under-communicate.
- Provide appropriate tools for success. One of the biggest struggles of remote or hybrid teams is communication. Conduct an inventory of communication tools the team uses (email, instant messenger, weekly ‘face-to-face’, etc.), define the specific ways they should be used, and train your team on the proper process. When everyone is communicating using the same tools for the same purposes, you eliminate confusion, create efficiency, and ensure your team members feel plugged in.
If your team can use some help improving its performance, let’s talk! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.