One of the biggest challenges of the moment is adapting to the hybrid way of working: the combination of remote work and office work.
In this context, some leaders manage to do a very good job, but for others it is more difficult than they expected: they easily lose people and fail to achieve their goals.
CHALLENGES OF MANAGERS IN THE NEW NORMALITY
Here’s what some of the managers I work with say about how they adapt to the new way of working.
What do I miss most about the new way of working?
• Availability of colleagues
• Physical support from colleagues in other departments
• Efficiency of emergency solutions
• Learn harder, help harder
• Non-verbal language that supports face-to-face explanations
• Real-time feedback from colleagues
• Interaction with colleagues, socializing with the team
• Involvement of colleagues in meetings
What’s the hardest part for me?
• Understanding the needs of the people I work with
• Coaching and team development, involvement of pandemic colleagues
• Aligning and stimulating team synergy
• Change focus from one project to another and understand the context
• Efficient coordination, correlated with other managers
• Communicating quickly and efficiently has reduced the speed and efficiency of communication
• Keep the involvement and availability of colleagues
• Build trust
• To feel the team
Working on-line makes emotions less visible and makes it harder to build trust. There are fewer free discussions outside of formal meetings and fewer opportunities for social learning.
It is a new world, in which traditional managers are losing ground and no longer feeling as respected as before the pandemic.
The power to influence given by the formal position, the date spacious office, the car and the preferred parking space has disappeared. Urgent meetings, speaking in front of your people, reporting and delegation are tools that do not work as well as before.
Since we started working mostly online, and especially since people are allowed to attend online meetings without opening their video cameras, managers feel that they no longer have the same visibility.
Charismatic managers and colleagues, those whose emotional intelligence made them stand out even from their bosses’ bosses, are no longer as connected. Social relationships with colleagues are becoming weaker and more difficult to maintain.
Some of the introverts are happier and start to stand out, gaining influence without doing anything special. They are as connected as ever, but their message is stronger and more relevant than ever. Without waiting for us, new stars appear in the organization.
THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY
Along with the feeling that they are not prepared for the normality of #vuca, managers understand the position in the organizational chart does not reflect their real power in the organization. It confirms what Alfred Korzybski said: “The map is not the territory”.
The organization is a network of connections and influences, not just a mechanical structure in which those in charge are automatically the most influential of its members.
If at the company level we are talking about a formal organizational structure, in parallel there is an “informal organization”, invisible, which has the power to support or slow down the implementation of all managerial decisions.
In the age of remote work, to see beyond the organization chart and to understand the networks of informal relationships is more important than ever. In order to remain effective, organizations need to identify and rely on these networks, because this is where the true poles of trust lie.
ORGANIZATIONAL NETWORK ANALYSIS
The methodology by which we help our clients to do this is called ONA – Organizational Network Analysis. It is based on scientific algorithms for analyzing how social networks work, developed by partners from Maven7.
Using ONA we identify who are the most respected people in the organization, those in whom their colleagues have the greatest trust from a professional point of view.
We also find out which of them have the most connections and have the ability to inspire and motivate effectively a large number of colleagues.
In this way, we provide valuable information for substantiating succession decisions, for promoting specialists with real leadership skills as well as for introducing various change initiatives in the organization.
Network science algorithms allow measuring the cohesion and integration of the team, but also identifying the connections that need to be restored, built or strengthened.
Based on this information, we help managers adapt their leadership style to build a culture in which people remain involved and take responsibility for the company’s goals.
Through specific interventions, we contribute to reducing the distance between top managers and managers who lead the operational teams at the base of the hierarchy. Identifying the “silo” style of work and helping to increase the degree of inclusion in the organization.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you cope with the challenges of hybrid work style and how to effectively introduce various change initiatives to your organization, please contact us.