The 10 Rules Every Manager Should Be Following in the Hybrid Workplace

The 10 Rules Every Manager Should Be Following in the Hybrid Workplace

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Punya Sandhu301
10 yrs in Big4 Consulting, Founder - BYONDGOOD
May 25, 2024 at 11:23AM UTC

It’s not easy to manage humans. Humans come with aspirations, dreams, emotions and challenges. Being a manager in today’s workplace is not just about being a leader—it also requires acting as a mentor, friend and counselor.

It’s the most rewarding experience to nurture the development and success of a super-talented team that is the envy of everyone in your organization. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without challenges. Managing a talented team is hard enough in a "normal" business environment. Add to that the complexities of remote work and you’ve got yourself a cocktail that is anything but a happy hour.

The past year has seen a massive shift in the way we view the future of work. These ten rules are essential for any manager as we head into a hybrid workplace.

1. Be inclusive.

 In 2020, many of us battled a never-ending barrage of virtual meetings. Small-talk took a backseat; new joiners were onboarded remotely with a “welcome package.” Most return-to-work plans are still hybrid. Gen Z may never know what a water-cooler conversation is. If there was ever a time for deliberate connection, it is now.

 A manager has a pivotal role in shaping these connections on their team. Organize (or ask someone on your team to organize) virtual coffees and birthday celebrations to make team members build personal connections and share non-work stories. Encouraging people to bring different perspectives and ideas to the (virtual) table goes a long way in bringing people together and building trust.

2. Give regular feedback.

Make it a point to provide ongoing feedback to your team after every major (online) meeting or presentation. Schedule a “debrief session” and discuss what did (and did not) go well in an objective manner. Not only will this help your team grow, but it will also ensure there are no surprises (for your team) at year-end.

Make sure to highlight when a team member did something particularly well. On the other hand, if someone messed up, show some grace and discuss learning opportunities without blame—they’re already feeling pretty rotten anyway.

3. Check-in with each team member.

This is not another performance feedback session. Use one-on-one check-ins to understand the aspirations of your team members. Learn where they want to take their career and discuss how you can help them achieve their goals. 

Get to know their prior experience and strengths so you can leverage their skills in the best manner possible. The more you ‘get’ your team, the farther they will go to make you look good. 

4. Do not micro-manage.

When you’re working in a vacuum (which we all have been doing in the past year), it’s easy to think that you’re the only one with your nose to the grindstone. Tell your inner micro-manager to chill out when you feel like pinging your team for updates every hour.

 Give people the benefit of the doubt. Trust your team to give their best and let them do their job. You’ll be surprised at the efficiency and loyalty that you win as a result.

 5. Be proud of your team and show it. 

Do you believe you have the best team? Do you believe that your team, at best, is average?

 Can I tell you a secret?

The more you ‘show’ your team that you “think” they’re the A-team, the more they will become that A-team you’ve always wanted. If you already have an A-team, it is even more important to appreciate their efforts and keep them motivated.

 Keep your team motivated and challenge them to do better. Always speak highly of your team and their accomplishments with senior management.

6. Provide a line of sight.

In these uncertain times, when most people are concerned about job security, a manager’s job is to reassure and motivate their team to give their best and avoid attrition. Providing a view into future projects that your team will be working on is one way of doing this. Schedule weekly team touchpoints to give a line of sight into future work engagements. 

Guiding your team on what they need to do to get better year-end results or get promoted also shows that you consider them a key team member for the long run. 

7. Be transparent when communicating.

Ok, maybe translucent. 

As a manager, you may not be allowed to share every detail that senior management tells you, but sharing (allowed) information on the overall strategy of your department/company will earn you your team’s trust. Set up weekly touchpoints to discuss topics like return-to-work, organizational shifts and changes in responsibilities with your team. The more included they feel, the more they will trust your leadership.

8. Provide opportunities to excel. 

Just like you challenge your muscles with that difficult yoga pose or an extra half-mile run, your need to challenge your team so they can grow. 

Give your people opportunities to lead independent work areas or create a presentation for senior management. The more you train your team to take on complex tasks, the more complex projects you can deliver for your senior management. 

9. Act as a connector.

If you want your team to look up to you, show them how you can accelerate their career growth. You must create opportunities for your team to interact with senior management—whether it is including them in an important meeting or asking them to present to a senior executive.

10.  Balance empathy vs. too much information (TMI). 

As a manager, you will be a leader, mentor, and friend to your team. A good manager, however, knows where to draw the line between empathy and too much information (TMI).

Asking about your team’s families and friends' health is empathy; demanding to know more about their personal lives can overstep a boundary. Sending a LinkedIn request to your team is perfectly acceptable; sending a Facebook request and commenting on their social media pictures can be intrusive. 

Whether you are a seasoned or aspiring manager, the above ten rules will solidify your managerial experience. Which rule resonated with you the most? What would you like to add to this list? Write in the comments below.

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This article was written by an FGB Contributor.

Punya is a former management consultant with 15 years of experience at 2 Big4 firms, serving top Fortune500 clients. She has lived and worked in 6 countries and changed 3 careers working across several industries. Punya is passionate about sharing the crucial, but little-known Business Skills that can help you stop playing small, land the most high-profile projects and build a reputation that gets you the recognition you deserve. Find her on the BYOND GOOD Blog, Quora, or LinkedIn. 

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