Leadership in a changed context of work

Published on November 30, 2023   26 min

Other Talks in the Series: Future Work Now

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Thank you for joining me today. My name is Roberta Sawatzky, a business professor and coach consultant living in British Columbia, Canada.
In this workshop, we're going to consider three big ideas related to supporting leaders in a hybrid context. First idea, what actions do team members need from their leaders? Second, what does that mean for human resources and the employee life cycle? Third, what competencies are called for when leading hybrid teams?
When discussing hybrid or flexible structures within organizations, we need to remember that it is not a one size fits all. Rather it's all about flexibility. Flexible schedules, meaning time and flexible location, meaning place. Dr. John Hopkins, in his research, identified four constructs represented in hybrid organization. The first, hybrid at-will. In this construct, employees can choose which day or days to come into the office. The second one is hybrid split-week. In this setting, the company assigns specific days for on-site and remote work by team or function. Third construct, hybrid manager-scheduling. In this situation, managers choose which day or days their team comes into the office. Then fourth, we've got a hybrid mix. And that's really a combination of all three options.
When an organization transitions to a hybrid approach to working, it's important for leadership to get a clear idea of how team members are reacting to the change. It's prudent to stop and consider the differences between change and transition. Those two words. Change is internal. It's something that happens to us, whether we like it or not, we generally have no choice. Transition, on the other hand, is external. It's a psychological process that change puts people through. For most, adapting to a hybrid way of working is not by choice. It's an external event that creates change in how we do our work. To understand the reactions we may see from team members, we want to acknowledge that this is a new way of leading for many people. Some may have been leading in a hybrid team already and have experiences to offer. However, for others, this is brand new. We also need to recognize this is the case for the employees as well. In his model of transitions, William Bridges reminds us that we all process things differently and at a different pace.