How do I create a high performing hybrid workforce?

With many organisations considering hybrid working, what does that change about the ways that we manage people?

Ricky and Paul walk through some of the key areas that managers need to consider if they are leading a team that combines working styles – office, home and various hybrid options.

In some ways, managing a team is managing a team, and where the team works should not make much difference. Yet, in other ways, mixing home workers and office workers can create some unique challenges that will require teams, and managers, to change their approach to maintain peak performance.

Photo by Jaz King on Unsplash

Will a hybrid model for the workplace be as easy as it sounds?

As the pandemic lockdown hopefully draws to a close, many of us are starting to consider how will we work going forward. Will we return to the office as if nothing happened, or will many people carry on working from home?

Many organisations are considering hybrid working, splitting the working week between home and office, but is this a simple as it sounds? 

In this podcast, Paul and Ricky explore some of the challenges and advantages, from power to personality, collaboration to management style; we think about what needs to happen to make this approach work for everyone.

Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

Why is empathy a vital leadership skill?

Do you need to understand others to be able to lead them, or is a compelling idea or vision enough?

In this podcast, Richard and Paul explore the role of empathy in our lives, talking through what empathy is, and the advantages and disadvantages of empathy to leaders. Can people who master empathy can utilise this trait to become more effective leaders?

Is it possible to lead without trust?

How important is trust for leaders?

Is it possible to lead teams without building trust between leader and followers, or is trust an essential leadership skill?

Rob and Paul explore trust in leadership relationships by exploring what trust is and how that impacts leadership when it is done well, and what happens when trust is missing.

Why am I suddenly so critical of myself?

All of us can be hard on ourselves sometimes, but when we are under pressure, or stressed, or like right now worn out after a difficult year, sometimes our inner critic can be very harsh.

In this podcast, Richard and Rob explore why this happens and some of the things that we might be doing that with a little awareness we can take control of and change our thinking to make it more helpful and hopeful.

How can I help team members who are feeling overwhelmed?

Lockdown just seems to go on and on, and even though the end is finally in sight, for lots of people it feels like this last bit might be the hardest.

If you have people in your organisation that look like they are running on empty, then in this podcast, Ricky and Paul will help you understand what might be causing this and provide practical tips to help you to help them.

It’s time to face the facts – you need to focus on your managers.

How many well-intentioned organisational transformation fads, sorry, projects are you going to embark on before you address the brutal facts that it’s your people who can make the most significant bottom-line impact? And that goes both ways, by the way.

Let’s list a few of those so-called transformation programmes; Lean, Six Sigma, TQM, offshoring, digitalisation, virtualisation, artificial intelligence. All of them start with the best intentions, yet, if McKinsey are to be believed, 70% will have failed to deliver their intended outcomes.

Take the late 90’s and early 2000’s which saw a plethora of large businesses in pursuit of the holy grail of cost reduction offshoring their call centres – only to find that the brand damage was too much to bear. A mass U-turn ensued, and we are still reminded today that our contact centres are UK based!

Every year Boards of Directors are challenged to grow, become leaner and deliver a better yield and rightly so. The problem is they’re so focused on the tangible and the measurable they ignore what’s really important – their people. People are viewed as a cost that can be trimmed in hard times, not the asset that can deliver significant value. People are intangible; they’re unpredictable; they’re amazing and frustrating all at the same time.

“culture eats strategy for breakfast”

Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker once said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, and yet despite this erudite insight, we continue to overlook the potential in our people. We give them poorly trained managers who fail to inspire or motivate and to compensate we turn to another fad, another silver bullet destined to fail due to lack of proper involvement and engagement. And so, the vicious circle continues.

The brutal fact is your people need leadership, direction and above all, purpose. Jim Collins shares the importance of purpose in his book, “Good to Great”. He argues you should recruit for fit with your purpose not merely someone who can do the job – this is the first pillar of the ‘good to great’ journey: getting the right people on the bus.

When you consider that your managers are responsible for 80% of your workforce, (yes, 80%!), that’s an awful lot you’re leaving to chance with poorly trained managers! Yet we continue to under-invest in this population: the sheep-dip of knowledge and skills doesn’t work without an embedding strategy or high-quality coaching and mentoring; rendering any development you do a complete waste of time and money. Worse, this lack of proper investment in skills only serves to unwittingly sabotage strategic projects and transformation programmes, so you lose out twice! Worse still you keep repeating these mistakes!

The pandemic has exacerbated things, companies have, understandably, adopted a conservative approach with everything in a holding pattern, waiting to see how the world evolves. It is over a year since the onset of the coronavirus, a year in which managers have been left to fumble their way through without the skills to support their teams remotely.

Yes, things remain unclear, the future uncertain, but the past has taught us that your people are your secret weapon – or your Achilles heel.
You will need to trust them to execute the short-term strategy as you navigate to clearer waters. So, isn’t it time you started to invest properly in your managers and develop the capability you need, and your workforce deserve?

What culture are you creating in your business?

As Leaders and Managers, we very influential in the creation of the culture in the teams that we lead. Taking an idea from sports psychology, are we creating a Challenge or a Threat culture? A Challenge culture that encourages our people to step up and take risks, whereas a Threat culture creates limits as our people, focusing their efforts on remaining safe.

In our last podcast of 2020, Richard, Rob, Ricky and Paul explore what a Challenge culture might mean for us as leaders, and how we might unknowingly be creating the threat culture that limits our potential.

Who wins (at work) when we when find new ways of working?

The way we work has changed more in the last few months than any other time in our working lives.  Who will be the winners?

Political styles that might have worked well in the office may not be as effective when working remotely.  However, ignoring the politics is equally as bad.   

Rob and Paul explore political styles during change, asking how do we find a balance between doing the right thing and getting what we want?

Photo by Jaz King on Unsplash

Will holding onto the past put the future at risk?

2020 has been a year of change unlike any other for most of us, with many still coming to terms with the different ways of working (and living) that have been forced upon us.  There is little sign that the ‘normality’ that existed at the start of the year is going to return any time soon.

What is the impact of this longing for a return to simpler times?  Richard and Paul discuss how leaders can help people let go and start to embrace a new normal.

This podcast was recorded while we are still in lockdown.  Like most people, we are working from home (kids and pets may appear at any time).  We are still focused on the questions that are getting in the way.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash