Managers play an undeniably important role when it comes to cultivating successful teams. According to Gallup, they’re the single most important piece of the equation. In its State of the American Manager report, the advisory found that 70% of the variance in employee engagement is determined by the quality of managers.
Ideally, the manager creates structure, clarifies expectations, and inspires exceptional performance in their team members. Although today’s work environments are different from the offices of the past, the ideals hold true when working with hybrid and flexible teams.
Arguably, the quality of managers is even more important than ever before.
To help your remote or hybrid teams reach new heights, we’ve turned to the Beamible Flex Playbook for a few insights. Here are the three key things managers can do to cultivate high-performing flex teams.
Focus on building trust
A culture of trust is central to creating successful and efficient teams. As workplace culture experts, Great Place to Work, put it: the connection between high-trust culture and business success “is so strong that it can reasonably be argued that strategy-minded leaders, who care deeply about the financial wellbeing of their business, should make building a high-trust culture a top priority.”
The level of trust in the workplace is directly linked to how comfortable team members feel offering suggestions or solutions. And when they don’t feel trusted, employees are less likely to take action when something arises, waiting for guidance from above (and slowing down workflows in the process).
Trust also contributes to employee retention, reducing attrition and its associated costs. Plus, it increases the likelihood that team members will invest more than the bare minimum in their projects.
Traditional work environments could, to a certain extent, build trust organically through office time and repeat interactions. Staff retreats and other social opportunities enabled team members to view their colleagues as more than just the people they worked with. Today’s hybrid work environments may require more effort to build and maintain trust.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to create a culture of trust:
Communicate your expectations to your team clearly and be transparent when explaining what you need them to do and why. Empower your team to achieve those expectations, and acknowledge their achievements.
You’ll get the best out of your team if you bring your whole self to the table as well. Be authentic in who you are as a person and a part of the team, while also being empathetic and compassionate towards colleagues and team members.
Hold yourself accountable to the team, just as you hold them accountable to you and your expectations. This will create mutual trust so your team can thrive.
Finally, work is no longer just about the hours you clock; excellent managers focus on outcomes, not time spent.
Apply the right systems
Like a rubric used in the classroom, workflow systems offer an accurate way to monitor progress and ensure that there are clear performance metrics for teams to work towards. This removes any ambiguity over goals and expectations. As a result, people know exactly what they’re aiming for, making it much more likely they’ll succeed.
The right systems for flexible teams do not dictate how, when, or where people work. Rather, they give visibility into the nature of work to support the prioritisation of tasks, set out goals for each team member, and help everyone understand their responsibilities.
In workplaces that are predominantly remote, hybrid, or flexible, managers may feel left out of the loop or unsure where their team stands with their projects and workload. This can easily lead to micromanagement, which contributes to unhappiness, a toxic workplace, and high turnover.
With that in mind, the right systems offer plenty of visibility whilst balancing this with autonomy.
As Linda Hill, a professor at Harvard Business School notes: “A manager’s job is to provide ‘supportive autonomy’ that’s appropriate to the person’s level of capability.”
If you’re looking for a system that supports flexible work and ticks the boxes we’ve discussed, try Beamible for free or book a one-on-one demo.
Focus on outcomes
A key part of creating a positive work environment and helping your team get into high gear is reframing the way you define success at work. It wasn’t that long ago that new hires were advised to arrive before their boss and to stay at work until after their seniors had already left.
All those hours clocked in the office might give the illusion of productivity, hard work, and achievement. But are they really head-down working all that time? The jury is out.
As a Stanford study revealed, the relationship between output and working hours is non-linear, and above a given threshold, output decreases — a finding that’s supported by numerous other studies.
No wonder companies around the world (including giants such as Unilever, Panasonic, and Microsoft) are shifting their priorities and trialling a four-day work week.
They’ve cottoned on to the fact that the best way to determine team productivity is by focusing on outcomes.
Putting it all together
You can get your team working effectively while working flexibly. Even better, you don’t need to make it happen on your own.
Beamible helps remote and hybrid workplaces run smoothly, while giving leaders valuable insights into projects and progress without the dreaded micromanagement.
If you’re ready to make the leap, contact Beamible today and discover how we can help you create high-performing flex teams.