Modern Leadership In The Virtual World


Human management and employee motivation stand at the heart of remote leadership. From micro-motivation to building trust across teams, success in a distributed organisation requires understanding the complex dynamics of modern work and the conditions young people expect today. Moreover, remote leaders need to be aware of the realities, opportunities and key ingredients for surviving and managing a hybrid workforce.

As a leader of hybrid teams, you have an essential role in ensuring that your remote and on-site employees work together as smoothly as possible. You will be the bridge between these two groups, facilitating communication, and coordination and boosting productivity and efficiency. A modern leader must understand what makes remote employees different and how best to manage each group of employees in your team.

Modern leadership in the virtual world

  1. TRUST THAT YOUR REMOTE TEAM WILL SUCCEED. Commit to strong, empathic, flexible leadership from a mindset of both trust and a belief that remote teams can succeed. We have to trust that our team are going to do their jobs. You have to figure out how to be present as a manager and see the needs and issues your teams are facing.
  2. FACILITATE YOUR TEAM’S SUCCESS. Create a deliberate plan for facilitating that success and set clear expectations were both you and your team know what success and failure look like on a remote team.
  3. CREATE A TEAM AGREEMENT. Engage the team and collectively crafting a team agreement with your team and set the details of the team’s expectations and the work culture.
  4. MAKE COMMUNICATION EASY. Arm your team members with the knowledge, tools, training, processes, and cohesion that they need to get their jobs done. Make communication easy: make sure everyone has a fast internet connection, a good headset, and a proper place where they can have online meetings.
  5. EXPERIMENT WITH SMALL REVERSIBLE STEPS. Set up regular feedback loops for the team with regular retrospectives, one-on-one sessions, 360-degree team feedback, and health checks.

Leadership challenges

Leading a hybrid team comes with its challenges. Hybrid leaders must consider that team members may feel disconnected from one another. Because most communication is through technology, leaders need to make sure that the channels they have chosen are effective and reliable and have ways to help team members develop relationships with one another. The challenges inherent in managing performance can also become more prominent. Hybrid leaders should ensure that goals are communicated, that progress is being made, and that employees’ understanding of their responsibilities is aligned with their managers’ expectations. Managers should also monitor their team members for fatigue or burnout from working remotely.

Diversity & Inclusion

Hybrid leadership can also pose some unique diversity and inclusion challenges. Leaders must be especially conscious of—and sensitive to—the differences among team members when planning meetings or facilitating communication. Some individuals may have a more difficult time being heard than others if they lack access to stable internet connections or other essential technologies necessary for remote work. In contrast, others may struggle with broader cultural differences between themselves and other employees. If not addressed early on, these issues could become problematic over time if minority groups start feeling left out or isolated by the majority culture at an organisation.

Hybrid advantages

Challenges aside, a hybrid structure offers several advantages. For one, it’s more flexible; you can hire anyone from anywhere and work across all time zones. The result? You can form an effective team quickly since you’re no longer limited by geographical location or even language barriers. This flexibility also means that you can acquire specialised talent without wasting time and money on relocation expenses or even relocating your entire organisation to a new area. Therefore, these teams are highly cost-effective, allowing you to focus resources where they’re needed instead of toward overhead costs associated with office spaces and supplies.

Beyond being flexible and cost-effective, hybrid teams are also adaptable, making them well suited for today’s fast-paced business environment. These teams aren’t bogged down by strict hierarchies, fixed schedules, or outdated processes; instead, team members can respond to the latest industry needs and act swiftly when new opportunities arise. This adaptability is critical for organisations looking for success in today’s marketplaces—and it may be the key differentiator that sets your organisation apart from competitors who haven’t adapted their old systems yet.

Another advantage of hybrid teams is that they tend to be more diverse—which means they’re more inclusive and innovative than their traditional counterparts (inclusive settings inspire innovation). Plus, they attract young professionals who value workplace diversity and the opportunity to work remotely. As a result of all this diversity—cultural, generational, geographic—hybrid teams might perform better than traditional ones do over time.

Successful hybrid leadership

There are a few essential skills one needs to be a successful hybrid leader :

  • The ability to use various tools for communication, collaboration and productivity. Since not everyone is in the exact location, you’ll need to be able to work effectively with online platforms for video conferencing and conducting meetings.
  • You’ll need to have both people-focused and task-focused skills. As a hybrid leader, you will have employees working remotely who count on your leadership skills and those working in your office whom you must also lead. This requires an ability to communicate effectively and build trust with both types of employees.

So how do you become a successful hybrid leader?

A hybrid leader understands people’s unique needs and diverse backgrounds and can adapt to various situations. This leadership style is an excellent model in the modern workplace because it enables organisations to be flexible and efficient. The world has changed a lot since the days when everyone had a job for life (if not longer), with most of those jobs being rooted firmly in the office. Now, more than ever, employees have different requirements for their work. Some are happy to come into the office every day to collaborate with colleagues on projects face-to-face; others appreciate being able to work remotely or take advantage of flexitime schedules.

Most employees ultimately want to feel trusted and given the freedom they need to succeed at work. As a hybrid leader equipped with strong communication skills and an understanding that there’s no right way to do things, you can empower your team members by respecting them as individuals and tailoring your support accordingly.


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