Many of you are discovering that leading a hybrid team is more difficult that leading a virtual team. Which is why I have been focusing this year on exactly this topic. So today is Strategy #8 in our ongoing series of tips on leading a hybrid team. And my advice is to reject a “them” versus “us” mentality. Let me explain.
Reject a “them” versus “us” mentality
If you are one of many people across the country charged with leading a hybrid team, then on most days, you will have some of your staff in the office, and others working out of their homes. The fact that these two groups of people are in different locations will lead to breakdowns – in communication, in process, and sometimes even in relationships. This is the unfortunate reality of leading a hybrid team, you can’t avoid it. BUT …. you CAN take deliberate and concrete steps to overcome and get past the usual negative outcomes of this fact.
Watch out for this landmine!
Start by rejecting a “them” versus “us” mentality. The natural result of these operational breakdowns will be a rift between those who primarily work in the office, and those who mainly work out of their homes. Unconsciously, your staff will start referring to the others as “them” and to themselves as “us”. Shut it down right away! Call your people on it when you hear them talk that way. Tell, emphasize, and re-emphasize that everyone is part of the same team and there is no “them” or “us”. Insist that your people find ways to work together to resolve issues and that they are not adversaries, but rather, as members of the same team.
It is up to you as the leader to make sure that you understand that this “them” versus “us” is a normal outcome of a hybrid team. Which also means that it is up to you to find ways to prevent this mentality from taking hold and growing. Leading a hybrid team can be challenging, but if you can address this one foundational issue early on, and continue to deter it, you’ll set yourself, and your team, up for success.
I’d love to hear more about your experiences. Are you working in a hybrid situation? Are you finding that this “them” versus “us” phenomenon is an issue? Please share your comments below.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch some of the earlier strategies in this series, follow these links below: