6 Habits of Highly Successful Virtual and Hybrid Teams
How To Build Highly Effective Virtual And Hybrid Teams
Wait, What’s a Hybrid Team?
A hybrid team is a team where some people are co-located and others are remote. In some ways, hybrid teams are more challenging than virtual teams, because virtual team members can feel left out.
However, working in a hybrid team can also be highly rewarding, because team members often get to choose where and how they work which makes it worth the effort to overcome the challenges.
What Do Highly Successful Virtual and Hybrid Teams Do Differently?
Highly successful hybrid and virtual teams have one thing in common.
They work at it.
Each team member commits to working on the team while working on the work.
Everything is deliberate.
They’re strategic in how they communicate, how they connect, and how they ask for help. They spend time thinking about “how we do things around here” and talk about what’s working and what’s not. They understand the importance of psychological safety and are deliberate in helping others feel included.
And, when it’s not working, they slow down and fix it.
We’ve both worked in highly successful hybrid and virtual teams for decades. And, we now lead a company of hybrid and virtual teams. In our experience and in our work with clients during and emerging out of the pandemic, here are the six habits we see consistently lead to high-performance in hybrid and virtual teams.
6 Habits of Highly Effective Hybrid and Virtual Teams
If you’re working in a hybrid or virtual team, we encourage you to talk about these successful habits in your next virtual team meeting and have some candid conversation about what’s working and opportunities to improve.
1. We regularly invest in getting to know one another as human beings
- We ask more than “how was your weekend.” And, we really actually really care about one another and look for ways to help.
- We schedule times to connect at a human level and provide synchronous and asynchronous opportunities to talk about life stuff
- And, when it’s safe, we invest in coming together physically. We share some meals. Do something fun. And just connect.
As one senior leader shared:
“This may sound silly, but I actually spend time role-playing with my leaders on how to listen when someone tells you about their weekend. For example, when a team member tells you that they got a new puppy, what are the next couple of questions you can ask?”
It’s surprising how this doesn’t come naturally for some folks. You need to build human connection skills just like anything else.
2. We have a clear definition of “what success looks like”
- We have clearly stated, measurable MITs (Most Important Thing strategic priorities)
- We have interdependent goals. We truly need one another to be successful.
- We have a regular cadence of talking about what’s working, what’s not, and talk about what we need to do to improve.
3. We spend time communicating about how we communicate
- We have responsiveness expectations for each communication channel (e.g. how long it should take to return email, texts, and slack messages).
- We “ditch the diaper drama” and have candid conversations when needed.
- And we leverage synchronous and asynchronous channels to have the most efficient and effective conversations.
As one healthcare director shared:
“Our hybrid team uses 15min (or less) virtual huddles to collaborate and communicate at the beginning of each day and a secure group chat function to stay ‘on the same page’ and ask questions throughout the day. We have a ‘primary source of truth’ that is our SharePoint site – this is where folks can view anything relevant to their work and it is updated with any novel or routine information, including standard work procedures and ‘how to start your day’ routines/links.”
4. We collaborate with one another informally
- We don’t wait for a team meeting to get stuff done; we reach out and work together to share best practices and solve problems.
- We’re deliberate in reaching out to people on the team we don’t normally work with for input.
- In hybrid teams, we make a deliberate point of collaborating with people who don’t sit nearby.
5. We carefully design our virtual meetings to ensure they’re the best use of everyone’s time
- We’re strategic in who we invite to each meeting and resist the urge to gather input or “make decisions in the hallway” without including appropriate remote workers.
- We equalize the playing field. For virtual meetings, everyone takes part on their own computer, even if some of us could be in the same room.
- And, we check for understanding and schedule the finish to ensure everyone is clear on what’s happening and give people an opportunity to express their feelings and concerns.
Are you looking for ways to bring more innovation to your virtual or remote team?
Learn more about our “Fishbowl” Competitions and other Strategic Leadership and Team Innovation Programs.
See Also: 5 Things You Need to Know to Run a Successful Live Virtual Event (Interview in Authority Magazine)