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Leadership in times of remote and hybrid environments

Ana Nastase
18 Nov, 2022
3 m read

What’s leadership?

It is a broad concept and it is gaining more and more meaning once the business environment keeps changing and gaining more and more interpretations itself. Harvard Business Review talks about the image of a successful leader from the perspective of people relationships and the journey towards achieving goals, while contributing to personal and professional development: 

Leadership is the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants. The man who successfully marshals his human collaborators to achieve particular ends is a leader. A great leader is one who can do so day after day, and year after year, in a wide variety of circumstances. His unique achievement is a human and social one which stems from his understanding of his fellow workers and the relationship of their individual goals to the group goal that he must carry out.

Leadership, as seen in the context of the last few years, imposes innovative ways of managing, as a result of the newly developed remote work cultures, which have brought on new challenges, new ways of communicating, and a larger barrier between employees and employers. Physical proximity is no longer a possibility, and inferring meanings from both verbal and nonverbal communication is no longer available, as working behind computers has diminished the possibility of real connections. This new work environment usually leads to a micromanagement tendency, which diminishes people’s autonomy, further leading to the phenomenon of quite-quitting. The communication skills need to be renewed and adapted to the current situation. New soft skills are required to make adaptability possible.

Molood Ciccarelli, CEO at Stockholm, Sweden-based Remote Forever, said, “remote leadership is a never-ending journey”. 

The more you invest in up-leveling your remote work skills, you also get to practice new ways of empowering your team. Nevertheless, the single most important skill for a remote leader is the ability to communicate clearly and effectively in writing and never lose sight of creating inclusive experiences for career development. (source)

What soft skills do a leader need in a remote environment?

This is a long and debatable topic in the leadership area. What soft skills does a teacher need? What soft skills does a doctor need? What soft skills does a programmer need? What soft skills does a leader need? Maybe the first one that comes to your mind is the one that matches your own working environment. Or a situation you are familiar with. However, we’ll list a few, as a starting point from our side.

  • Communication, communication and communication again. When talking about leadership, this comes in help in various situations, such as understanding employees’ concerns, clearly communicating feedback, fostering good relationships with the teams, and even inspiring and motivating people. 
  • Flexibility. Leaders in general, and remote leaders in particular, need flexibility to deal with uncertainty and the changing requirements imposed by this working environment, being able to adapt approaches appropriately, and even to foster a good working relationship between the members of a team, which is a challenging task to accomplish when everyone’s working from home. 
  • Trust. As a leader performing work in a remote environment, you need to trust your employees, to believe that they will get the job done efficiently even if they are not completing it from the physical office. That sounds difficult, we know, but it is not impossible. Especially when you think that this remote, or even hybrid work environment is here to stay, from what it seems.

Develop that leadership related soft skills

The most important thing when facing a big change is, from our point of view, to find the means to adapt to it, respond quickly, and find solutions. However, one way to be able to do all of this is to learn, develop new skills, invest in soft skills growth, and like what you do. 😀

Some (final) thoughts

We offer consultancy and training programs for soft skills development. Just drop us a line and let's talk.

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