It’s Not Where You Work, It’s How You Work: Team Dynamics in a Hybrid Environment

  • Empathy: Empathy helps individuals understand, respect, and appreciate the feelings and experiences of their teammates. In virtual or hybrid environments, it can be more difficult to read others’ emotions or body language cues, so leaders of hybrid teams must set a standard for every individual to acknowledge and validate each other’s input. Being able to truly listen to one another will make your team better able to have an open exchange of ideas. That means better collaboration, more dynamic problem-solving, and an overall increase in team trust. When every member of a team is able to trust that their ideas will be heard, they’ll be far more likely to share them — whether it’s from behind a computer screen or across the conference table.
  • Flexibility: Working remotely requires a lot of independence, which means that your team members are probably experiencing more stress as they deal with the burden of greater responsibility. As a team leader, helping your team develop a more flexible approach to work can help ease some of the stresses of trying to balance structure with adaptability. This flexibility on an individual level will also contribute to the team’s flexibility — allowing them to quickly and collaboratively adapt to meet new goals or adjust their strategies as a team when priorities shift.
  • Assertiveness: There is not the same back-and-forth over video and phone conferences as during in-person meetings, and for many people this translates to becoming more passive. The uncertainty created by the addition of virtual communication tools can make it harder for teams to communicate and collaborate — especially when they are split between employees who are working together in-person and those who are working remotely. For teams and their leaders, building and practicing assertiveness — the ability to clearly and confidently articulate one’s feelings, beliefs, and thoughts — is key to keeping conversations productive and everyone on task when people are working from different locations..
  • Social Responsibility: At the heart of any productive team is a sense of shared responsibility. Teams that form true connections — ones that blur borders between the virtual and the physical office — are those that win, lose, and problem-solve together. Every individual must be as committed to the entire team’s success as they are to their own — whether they are actively collaborating or are completing independent tasks. As a leader, nurturing a sense of social responsibility — the feeling that the whole team is in it together, even when they’re not literally together — will help every member stay invested and focused. When team members have high levels of social responsibility, they cooperate more productively, contribute more actively, and offer feedback more constructively.

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Roberta Moore is the founder of EQ-i Coach and author of Emotion at Work: Unleashing the Secret Power of Emotional Intelligence.

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Roberta Moore

Roberta Moore

Roberta Moore is the founder of EQ-i Coach and author of Emotion at Work: Unleashing the Secret Power of Emotional Intelligence.

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