Why strong leadership defines hybrid success – not technology
It is becoming clear that technology alone cannot create healthy hybrid working environments, leadership can play a critical role in making new ways of working a success
Over the last two years, there is no doubt that technology has become more prevalent in our working lives, with businesses now having some of the best tools at their disposal, allowing employees to instantly switch between the office and their homes.
But technology is only the enabler, not the solution to running a successful business.
Instead, the modern, post-pandemic business needs two things: a careful balancing of the roles played by technology and by people; and an understanding about the role of leadership in striking this balance.
The pandemic created a seismic shift in the way we work, and technology offered us a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card, of sorts. For decades, we’ve learnt by observing but with the advent of remote working at such a large scale, the way we learn and interact with our colleagues has undergone tremendous change.
Whilst working apart from each other, we’ve managed to create a secondary culture, with catchups, regular wellbeing check-ins and huddles, all trying to recreate the human interaction we’re used to in the office.
Although working from home was initially greeted with excitement, this was soon dampened by the pressure of being constantly ‘online’ and a feeling of being overwhelmed by incessant alerts and interruptions.
This feeling of technology burn-out was probably the first wake-up call for business leaders, who realised that technology alone wasn’t enough to succeed through the pandemic.
‘The most effective leaders see technology as an enabler…’
As we settle into another year of uncertainty, we can be clear about one thing: people are the lifeblood of an organisation and how we lead those people is what makes a business successful, not the number of tools available to us.
The most effective leaders see technology as an enabler, a means of expressing themselves, drawing the best out of their teams and empowering individuals to communicate in ways that makes them feel most confident and productive. If used well, digital channels provide us with a level playing field and a platform from which to give praise, work through problems, provide feedback and even bond.
Leaders need to collect the lessons their teams have taught them; actively engage with their employees to understand what they want from their working environments and use these conversations to solidify working practices that are relevant today and can evolve in the future.
Such strategies do not need to be prescriptive, they should empower staff to choose what is right for them whilst also meeting the expectations of the business.