The importance of trusting your team to do their jobs.

November 15th, 2023

​More people are choosing to work from home several days a week, and the struggle for managers to stay on top of what everyone is doing and trust them to do it is increasing.

I remember many years ago, working one day a week from home was being trialled. Many managers were nervous about this as they felt that the team would slack off on those days and not work.

One manager distrusted her team so much that she went to the extreme of doing home visits of those who requested this flexibility and ‘audited’ their environment for the appropriate home office set-up!

We’ve come a long way since then, and productivity doesn’t need to diminish based on where people work.

Over time I think we will find that flexible and hybrid working will lift productivity as people are not forced into working in a timeframe that has never suited them.

Don’t expect your team to work as you do.

You know whether you are an early bird or a night owl and when you do your best work.

We all work differently. I’m finding that as people can work in accordance with their body clock, they can focus on doing their most important work when they are most productive. This may not be between what is considered normal business hours.

Leading in a hybrid environment requires you to have basic management skills more than ever. You need to trust your team and be able to gain their trust. I find that leaders who show through their actions that they trust their team get their trust back.

I love the quote I recently shared on social media by Ernest Hemingway 'The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.'

The leaders I work with demonstrate trust by:

  1. Being reliable and doing what they say they will do

  2. Accepting others for who they are without judging

  3. Being open and transparent and share as much as they can with their team

  4. Building a harmonious relationship with each member of their team.

Communicate more and better

As we become comfortable with hybrid working, how you are communicating is even more important.

It must be the right amount delivered in the right way to allow the team to do their work efficiently.

It must be enough that you know how each team member is going, particularly their emotional well-being. This means selecting mediums with the best chance of getting your message across.

The best way to discover what these are is to ask your team.

Identify the skills and behaviours you may need to develop to continue to build trust with and within your team.

The leaders who excel at the hybrid working model are the ones who have highly practised behavioural skills (also called ‘soft’ skills).

Behavioural skills include things like effectively communicating and listening, being able to deal with challenging people, giving and receiving feedback, building rapport, delegating, being empathetic, and managing conflict.

This is leading, which requires new skills, so be prepared to become a learner again.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how managing in this changed working environment - both as a team member and as a leader - works for you.

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