My heart and respect go out to the organizations, leaders, teams, and employees working through the change and transition of The New Normal Hybrid Workstyle! There were many small companies and entrepreneurs… including myself… operating this way Pre-Covid, but very few large companies with the amount of staff to consider, daily change, ever-evolving regulations, and do more with less expectation Covid created. Hats off to companies, leaders, employees, and teams leading and trailblazing a brand-new path! However, it may come at a price… everything has it’s positives and concerns. It’s great to be able to work from home, wear your Zoom attire, see your kids more, have your significant other working in the other room, and all of the other positives you can think of. The concern is… you’re home most of the time, seeing your kids more, your significant other more… Lol… have gotten use to pajama bottoms, the email drip never turns off, some employees don’t want to come back into the office, and how the heck do you establish cohesiveness and connection when everyone is in and out of the office at different times! A Leader’s Hybrid Magic is two-fold as leadership is a Two-Way street… Leaders have their part to lead; as do employees! So, how do we do it?
Do & Be
Do & Be refers to our choice, as a leader, to show up daily to the office, Zoom Call, 100th email of the day DOING your best and BEING your best. I’m big on The 3P’s; Positive, Passionate, and Productive? One without the other two is incomplete! As a leader, it’s our job to model this on a consistent basis… I know, it’s impossible to do it all the time as you’re a human being, you’re burning out, tired, frustrated, and don’t like or agree with all of the changes, protocols, and plan… all the while having to deliver the news to your team with a smile.
Have your moments of exhaustion, frustration, anger…. Being sure you know who to vent to, how to vent… seeking brief relief while brainstorming solutions to add to your leadership arsenal… then be transparent with your team regarding the news, the benefits, the vision, how to achieve it, and move forward! Remember, leaders are allowed to have a bad day or bad moment… the thing that separates them from everyone else is they bounce back quicker than everyone else! I once had a boss that entered the office every day looking as if someone woke him up at gunpoint, dragged him out of bed and into the office, and made him do his job. Upon seeing this daily, I remember thinking… “Is this what a promotion makes you look like around here? No Thank You!” and “If this is what management/leadership allows and accepts… No Thank You!”.
Be sure, as a leader, to DO your best. Know your job, be the best at your job, know what your people and team need most from you right now and marry it with what you want to give and the organization needs, and it’s hard to lose! BE your best is your Personal Leadership Choice to live The 3P’s professionally and to care for your Work/Life Harmony so you’re not dragging yourself into work, miserable, complaining, and gossiping at every conversation! This is monumentally important during Hybrid work with some people in the office, some not, and the carousel of schedules.
Be the model and the expectation of how to be, what to do, how to do it, and maintain the willingness to know and learn their professional Language. I’ve written and spoke about The Leader’s 7 in my books, blogs, and videos. Nichole, my Assistant, is awesome and lives halfway around the world in the Philippines. Most likely, we will never officially meet. Therefore, it’s so important I do what I just shared in our Zoom Calls and emails; as it’s the only chance I have to demonstrate the expectations I value and to speak her preferred Language of Flexibility and Recognition & Affirmation. Otherwise, me and my brand are “just” a job to get done and quickly as possible for her. I learned a long time ago, the person that wants more… must be willing to do more!
As an employee, no matter where you are in the company or what title you currently have… you are and can be a leader too! Leaders must deliver their message to you with a smile. However, you live in the real world muck after it’s delivered and they walk away or click off the Virtual Call. You have a choice… go talk to or call your co-worker to begin the bashing of how stupid everything and everyone is… making your disdain for your job compound day after day, month after month, decade after decade. Or, Do and Be your best… marrying what you want to do and give to the team with what the team and organization currently needs most from you right now; becoming an asset instead of a liability to be dealt with later. An employee shortage Post-Covid, has allowed employees a lot of ground to demand, complain, be late, not follow through, etc. When companies become more secure they will remember who did what and how… Be Mindful!
Hybrid work schedules have made collaboration even more important; and some would say a job all of its own! I know you’re busy, however you cannot be so busy you fail to inform and stay connected with your people. Gone are the days of walking down the hallway to remind someone of that meeting in 5 minutes in the conference room and the plethora of other things that must get done.
The Information Highway
You know like I know emails and texts aren’t going anywhere and I’m sure you’re flooded with them throughout the day and possibly the evening as well. As a leader, it’s necessary to inform your people… it’s also helpful to help your people prioritize; as everything cannot be a High Priority/Handle Now Issue. In fairness, some things are high priority and please let’s get this done right away; however when everything is like that how can you not expect operational chaos and burn-out. The scariest and saddest thing is… everything is high priority and crisis… the crisis is fixed and done… and because it got done, leadership feels no need to address the flawed process. Therefore… chaos, crisis, and fixing becomes the culture rather than order, procedure, and follow-through.
Perhaps it makes sense to share with your team what’s an emergency email/text/message. How they prefer to receive info from you… Recently I was emailing my Assistant twenty-plus emails per day about all different things. After experiencing a few misses, I evaluated the process first. I proposed why the misses could have happened, asked her thoughts to improve the process, proposed an alternative chunking of emails for certain times of the day, and she stated she was fine with how things were and shared adjustments she’d make to ensure no misses. We agreed things would stay the same with the addition, when she emails someone on my behalf and doesn’t receive a response… she will automatically reach out 48 hours later to say hello and follow through! Nichole, you’re such a Professional Rockstar, Thank You for all you do!!!
Lastly, Hybrid Working Schedules mean your 1-on-1 Meeting are more important than they’ve ever been! I’d suggest Virtual 1-on-1’s when it related to Hybrid Working Environments. When you’re people come into the office, they’re eager to get stuff done and it’s already hard as so many employees know they’re in that day and waiting to pounce! If you’ve been following my books, articles, and videos you know my 1-on-1 Format:
- Positive of the Week/Month
- What would they like to get out of the meeting today?
- Mesh Goals… also inquiring about their “List” and helping prioritize
- What was their biggest takeaway from the meeting?
Your regularly scheduled Leader’s 1-on-1 Meetings will limit surprises, keep you in the know, and help to enhance your leaders and theirs!
How do you create, maintain, and inspire team cohesion when everyone is everywhere, busy with everything, or no longer wants to get together with co-workers and leaders? The answer is the dreaded Team-Building Activities! I don’t mean the cheesy games an instructor would have you do that has nothing to do with really working together and knowing one another. I’m suggesting:
- A set and mandatory day your team is in the office. For those working remotely too far away they attend the set meeting virtually. Most companies have the technology to do so. I’ve had the honor of speaking at several events where the majority of the audience were live and those that were designated to stay back at their offices to run the business for the day attended virtually… it was my job to include them, make eyeball-to-eyeball contact with them virtually, include them into the engagement, and to bring the team together!
- Scheduled Happy-Hour Events for the team or organization (Live or Virtual with gift packages)
- Celebration Events to celebrate successful project completion, promotions, organizational milestones, etc.
- Activity Retreats: Bowling, Family Fun Centers, Bean-Bag Toss Tournaments, Breakfast Meetings, Lunch Meetings, and so much more!
These are a few ideas and I’m sure you can think of more; asking your co-workers what they’d enjoy or google a bunch of great ideas. As a leader, please know… you will not make everyone happy! The Grouches, Negative Nicks & Nancys, and even some of your Inspired & Motivated will complain for their own reasons… simply being grouchy or that they’re too busy to be there. The point is togetherness and connection.
Years ago, one of my favorite things to do at networking events was “Speed Networking”… just like speed dating but professionally. It was done in the beginning and was great way to get EVERYONE in front of EVERYONE. There were long tables and those sitting on one side of the table never moved; while the other side slid down one seat after three minutes. It was a lot of fun and the trick was to have pre-set questions ready to be asked:
“What do you do here and what do you like most about your job?”
“What did you do this summer for fun?”
“What professional highlight are you most proud of?”
“I will __________________”
I’m sure you can come up with some great introspective, fun, and nonthreatening questions you and your people would enjoy… and more importantly remember about one another to enhance connection and cohesion!
When I did my first and only You Evolving Now Conference years ago… instead of putting names on the attendee’s nametag, the nametag read “I will______________” and they had to fill out the rest. It was amazing the things people wrote. One gentleman I knew for a while wrote “I Will… become a racecar driver” and we had a great discussion about his passion and plans. I never knew that about him and to this day, I don’t remember his name, but I’ll never forget his dream… and now know what to talk to him about when I see him again! It also allows you to best connect people, co-workers, and leaders to their matched or similar passion!
As an employee, remember you can be a leader too! Be sure to attend these planned functions as your best self, DOING your best, and BEING your best. Remember, there was a team of people or a person that spent a lot of time organizing the event and you’d appreciate someone not crapping all over your effort… Be Mindful!
This one is simple, with so many of your people working remotely and in a hybrid fashion… compliments can go a long way! Thank your employees… and your leaders… for their effort, their successes, their attention to detail… and send your email or text during working hours. The appropriate timing of your compliments keeps their anxiety low as their phone is not ringing, dinging, or chiming off work hours. It also respects their possible significant relationships… so their phone isn’t buzzing while they’re lying in bed arguing why their boss or co-worker is messaging them late at night about how great they are… just saying… Be Mindful!
“know what your people and team need most from you right now and marry it with what you want to give and the organization needs most right now, and it’s hard to lose!” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
You’re a busy leader that cares about your people; the level of change they’re experiencing, their burn-out, and need for leadership training and work/life harmony skills but not sure where to turn or who to bring in… Look no further, click www.youevolvingnow.com for customizable speaking engagements and leadership trainings with Professional speaker, author, and leadership trainer, Andre Young!!! (In-Person, Virtual, or Online)