How Managers Can Build Trust in the Hybrid Work Model

CoachHub · 19 July 2022 · 5 min read

Introduction

Hybrid management is a strategy that combines the best aspects of traditional and virtual work models. It helps organizations create more flexibility and agility while still maintaining control and open communication. Hybrid management demands that managers be able to monitor, supervise, and provide guidance on the new ways of working. Specifically, they need to trust their employees who do not necessarily follow a 9-5 schedule or work from the corporate office anymore. But it is important to also remember that the process is a two-way street: hybrid managers must also find ways to build trust with the people who report to them.

Hybrid management involves establishing organization, accountability, and open communication

The hybrid work model is a new way of working that combines the flexibility of remote work with the advantages of in-person collaboration. A growing number of companies are embracing the hybrid work model, not only because it offers many benefits to employees and organizations alike, but also because it’s an effective solution for some of today’s most pressing business challenges.

As you’re probably aware, today’s workforce is more mobile than ever before, and this has created unique challenges for managers who need to ensure their employees are productive regardless of where they are or what time zone they’re in. For example: how do you create an effective culture when your team members can be anywhere at any time? How do you ensure everyone aligns on company objectives without being able to meet face-to-face every day? And how do you keep everyone engaged while giving everyone autonomy over their own schedule?

To ensure successful hybrid management, building trust is at the very top of the list―even coming before the professional performance

It’s not uncommon for employees who work from home to feel left out and isolated. In fact, 45% of remote workers have felt like their lack of face time with managers has jeopardized their professional performance. On the flip side, managers of remote teams can feel likewise disconnected from their employees. When working in a primarily virtual environment, managers are no longer able to see reports physically at someone’s desk or office—something that was previously a given in traditional 9-to-5 employment models. Being unable to observe your employees’ work habits firsthand can lead to mistrust on both sides; this lack of visibility makes it difficult for employees to know if they’re meeting expectations and vice versa.

The opportunity for managers to prove that they can be trusted and that they trust their employees is not lost on the employee. When managers prioritize building confidence and connecting with their employees in meaningful ways, they can build better virtual relationships, even in an otherwise unstable work environment.

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Emphasize listening skills and empathy

To ensure that your team is on the same page and can work together effectively, managers need to learn how to listen. You should use practical tools such as one-on-one sessions or group meetings with each employee to discuss their individual experiences in remote work as well as to discuss their expectations for the future. By establishing a communications channel dedicated solely to problems related to remote work (e.g. stress, disconnection, isolation), you’ll quickly see that this investment will pay off in improved productivity and morale among your employees. It may seem like a lot of effort at first but it will quickly become automatic—and ensures a smoother working process for all parties involved!

Demystify working hours and individual working styles

When you’re working with remote team members, you may find yourself wondering if everyone is putting in the same amount of time and effort. It’s easy to get suspicious when one member of the team seems more productive than another—after all, it’s hard to tell what they’re really doing while they aren’t sitting in your office.

This type of suspicion needs to be addressed immediately (and politely), because a manager who isn’t fully trusting their employees can cause serious problems for their team over time. It can be harmful and demoralizing for an employee who has been working hard all day long at home only to hear from her boss that she seems “slacking off” or “not putting in enough hours.” In this situation, you must be clear that even though remote work means different hours for some people, everyone is working towards the same goal: achieving company goals by doing good work well together as an effective team.

Working from home isn’t always easy; it requires extra effort and discipline on behalf of both managers and staff alike. As such, it may help if managers were able to understand how difficult remote work  can sometimes be before making judgments about how “productive” someone might seem based solely on how much time they spent logged into Slack last week—or not logged into Slack at all!

Ensure that managers are understood

One of the most effective ways to build trust is to ensure that your team members understand what you expect of them. Managers who focus on being understood will improve their teams efficiency and cohesion. Managers should regularly check that their instructions are clear and concise, and they should encourage feedback from team members throughout the process. This allows managers to correct any errors before they become major problems, which makes them more effective leaders.

The best way for managers to be understood by their teams is through active listening—that means paying attention when people talk about what’s going well in the organization or why something isn’t working as intended, instead of just waiting until there’s an issue so they can fix it themselves.

Understand how to reconsider and reflect

Managers are faced with the same challenges of remote working that their employees face. They must demonstrate real commitment to their team―sometimes at the expense of missing a scheduled meeting with other stakeholders or not fulfilling an objective on time if the team needs more time.

 As a manager, it is important that you let your team know when you miss something and be open to feedback or reminders from your direct reports. Managers also have the right to show that they are human—it is important for managers to acknowledge mistakes and then reflect on them so they can learn from them in future situations. When people see management making and reflecting on mistakes like any other employee would do (for example, by saying, “I am sorry that happened”), they tend to trust managers even more―because we tend to trust people more when we identify with them.

Conclusion

Hybrid management is not a fad or an experiment: it’s the future. As a manager, hybrid working is about  being able to adapt at a time when everything else seems to be changing rapidly, and it requires more than just technical skills—it requires empathy, communication skills and understanding of how people work together. The success of hybrid management depends on how well managers can lead teams that are made up of people from different cultures who come from different backgrounds but share common values.

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