Adapt or Fail: Evolving Leadership in a Hybrid World

by Pranav Ramesh
January 31, 2023
Evolve Culture and Leadership for a Hybrid World

There’s no denying it. The long-term success of any organization depends on its ability to adapt to new norms and shifting paradigms. If we have learned anything since 2019, it’s that even the longest-standing traditions and expectations can change overnight in an instant.  

Effective leadership during times of transition and uncertainty is invaluable. Good leaders can help an organization facilitate change; great leaders find opportunities for growth or innovation. As Winston Churchill put it – “Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.” 

And we’ve seen quite a few changes (and difficulties) over the last few years. One of the more notable changes has been where people primarily work.  

Since the 1920s, thanks in large part to Henry Ford, the typical US worker’s schedule has been relatively the same – 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 40 hours a week total. And for nearly one hundred years these 40 hours were by and large worked at the office or some other equivalent workspace.  

While the idea of remote and virtual work has been around for over a decade, sometimes called Work 3.0, it never really gained much traction. Way back in 2009, fewer than 4% of workers did so primarily at home, a figure that barely climbed to not even 6% by 2019, just before the pandemic. In fact, before Covid, virtually all executives, 99% of them, expected employees to spend at least 80% of their time at the physical office.  

Well, not anymore. As with so many other things, the pandemic significantly altered how, when, and where we work.  

As we enter 2023, twenty-six percent of US workers work primarily from home. This number’s likely to increase because, in a candidate-driven job market, nearly three-quarters of Americans would prefer to work remotely. Indeed, already about 66% work hybrid schedules that include more than two days of remote work. Oh, and remember all those executives who expected employees to spend most of their time in the office? That number is now only 10%.  

Such a sudden shift in such an abbreviated time has resulted in a lot of challenges for organizations across the board, some of which are still being tackled – leadership chief among them. Read on to better understand why hybrid work environments require a new perspective on leadership to build long-term success.  

 

RELATED POST: Leaders, Encourage Your Employees To Disconnect

 

What leaders need to know about this brave, new hybrid world

Leaders within an organization shouldn’t think of hybrid work environments simply as part-time office work and part-time remote location work. To be successful in this new realm requires a more creative leadership style that is highly flexible and innovation-driven.  

Leadership also needs to understand that it might be caught in the middle of this ideological shift between employers and employees. One-in-two organizations surveyed by the Center for Creative Leadership in 2022 do not yet have a complete vision for how Work 3.0 will operate at their companies. This can place middle managers in a tough spot. They need to be supportive of the changing needs of their teams while balancing quickly outdated company policies and culture. The sooner organizations prioritize developing and enacting Work 3.0 policies, the sooner leadership will be able to focus on connecting hybrid teams and strategizing for successful outcomes.  

 Encouragingly, several studies have shown that while biases do exist, the hybrid work model often helps companies improve their DEI agendas. Flexible work arrangements have unlocked talent pools consisting of women, retirees, and differently-abled individuals, not to mention people from diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds. This should be another strong selling point for moving towards a Work 3.0 philosophy.  

 

Adaptation ultimately depends upon the characteristics of leadership

It can’t be overstated that the outlook mentality of an organization’s leadership must be flexible and willing to adapt to change. As employers search for candidates that are agile and dynamic, they must also be willing to build a culture that supports those qualities. These changes in the mentality of leadership must happen before skillset changes can happen.  

According to a report on Work 3.0 by the Center for Creative Leadership, essential traits for leadership include:  

  • Purpose-driven leadership  
  • Intentional collaboration  
  • Agility 
  • Ability to Empower Teams 
  • Growth & Exploration  
  • Inclusivity  
  • Accountability 
  • Trust 
  • Global Citizenship 

Culture is about the team, not a location

Culture is one of the hottest issues in recruiting for both candidates and employers. In fact, 75% of job seekers will research a company’s culture before even applying, according to LinkedIn. But organizations benefit from a positive culture as well, with those having a good culture seeing revenue increases of up to 4x compared to that of organizations without a thriving culture.  

Thankfully, culture is one thing that an organization’s leadership should have considerable influence over. Culture can and should be about the people of a company- not the physical space it manifests. While a company’s physical location matters to some extent, culture is too often confused with location, namely the office. In other words, just because a team becomes more geographically diverse does not mean the culture should dilute or diminish. 

According to Karl Treacher, Founder and Executive Director of The Culture Institute, one of the ways to improve your culture is to embrace change. “Embrace the reality that what worked in the past won’t work in the future.”  

Conclusion 

Now more than ever, an organization’s leadership is tasked with managing the delicate balance of employee interests with the company’s overall success. Those two principles must work in harmony for organizations to remain competitive in both the short term and the long haul. As Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO at Microsoft stated, “Thriving employees are what will give organizations a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic economic environment.” If leadership can remove the stigma of flexible work arrangements, and instead create a culture that meets the needs of employer and employee, they will be well positioned for future success.  

 

Are you looking for a job in Information Technology?

See all of our current openings here!


About the Company:

Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has partnered with some of the biggest Fortune brands to offer excellence of service and best-in-class team building for the last 25 years.

PTP’s diverse and global team of recruiting, consulting, and project development experts specialize in a variety of IT competencies which include:

  • Cybersecurity
  • DevOps
  • Cloud Computing
  • Data Science
  • AI/ML
  • Salesforce Optimization
  • VR/AR

Peterson Technology Partners is an equal opportunities employer. As an industry leader in IT consulting and recruitment, specializing in diversity hiring, we aim to help our clients build equitable workplaces.

Read more on Leadership  
26+ Years in IT Placements & Staffing Solutions

Address

1030 W Higgins Rd, Suite 230
Park Ridge, IL 60068

Phone

312-778-5006

X

Subscribe to the PTP Report

Be notified when new articles are published. Receive IT industry insights, recruitment trends, and leadership perspectives directly in your inbox.  

By submitting this form you agree to receiving Marketing & services related communication via email, phone, text messages or WhatsApp. Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions for more details.

Subscribe to the PTP Report

Be notified when new articles are published. Receive IT industry insights, recruitment trends, and leadership perspectives directly in your inbox.  

By submitting this form you agree to receiving Marketing & services related communication via email, phone, text messages or WhatsApp. Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions for more details.

Unlock our expertise

If you're looking for a partner to help build talent management solutions, get in touch!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
*By submitting this form you agree to receiving marketing & services related communication via email, phone, text messages or WhatsApp. Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions for more details.
Global Popup

Unlock our expertise

If you're looking for a partner to help build talent management solutions, get in touch!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
*By submitting this form you agree to receiving marketing & services related communication via email, phone, text messages or WhatsApp. Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions for more details.
Global Popup