The modern working world is increasingly becoming a hybrid working world in which employees who work directly on site at the company collaborate with employees from the home office, mobile or other branches of the company. To make collaboration successful, a mix of digital and analog methods is needed to support optimal collaboration. It is important to remember that managing people is always a dynamic task. For team leaders, it is a core task to provide all team members with all the data and information they need to do their jobs reliably. It is essential to build a positive team spirit at a distance, regardless of location, to close communication gaps and to manage conflicts that may arise within a virtual team, even over the Internet. In doing so, it is imperative to take into account the special characteristics of virtual teams.
Basically, the hybrid work culture, which is based on trust, a permanent communication flow, cross-location collaboration and connection among each other, must be established in the team. For the team leadership of hybrid teams, this means that they must ensure that the work – which is to be done by different team members and, if necessary, interlocks – can also be coordinated via digital meetings. At the same time, one of the most important leadership tasks is to create transparency and a sense of belonging, and to ensure that all team members never lose focus on successfully completing the tasks assigned to them. Team leadership should never neglect the individual team member and regularly seek 1-to-1 contact. In such meetings, the focus should not be on the technical tasks, but on so-called soft factors such as the employee’s well-being, satisfaction and motivation. If desired, private topics should also be addressed.
In practice, the team leader acts both as a guide and as a manager. It must take care to use the chosen methods and instruments in the team in such a way that the needs of the individual are reconciled with the dynamics within the group. Regular reflection meetings with the entire team provide valuable assistance. These meetings, which usually take place virtually, focus on the concerns of the team members as well as the quality of cooperation within the team. Such meetings should take place every two to four weeks during the project. In them, team management and team members exchange information about personal concerns, which builds trust and shows appreciation for the employees. These meetings should be open and also encourage employees to express dissatisfaction or criticism so that frustration cannot build up. Managers themselves also benefit from these meetings, because they are aware of the mood in the team at all times.