Leadership in the new reality

Cosmin Alexandru, Change & Organizational Transformation Partner at Trust2Work, part of Romanian member Morphoza, has written about how the new hybrid reality (online-offline, home-office) will generate a different way of working and performing in teams, especially for business leaders.

When a business is based in the same place, leading an organisation can be tweaked on the run, because we were running together. Now, when every one of us is going alone, physically, emotionally and mentally, short term clarity about what we are doing and why we are doing it is even more important.

This new reality is compelling us to acknowledge what is vital and eliminating any other tasks or projects which waste resources in the organisation.

The “golden days” of control-based management came to an end in March 2020. Google and Facebook have already announced that their employees will work from home until the beginning of 2021, enough time for people to redefine their lives in a new mix of work, family and other activities .

This context of individual work moves the focus of team performance from the accountability toward the leaders and the relationship with them, to peer accountability, one toward the other, and mutual relationship. It will be more difficult for some cultures, and easier for others.

For Western, individualistic cultures, it may get a bit easier: because of their orientation toward task accomplishment, individual performance will rank high among success factors.

For Eastern, collectivist cultures, it may be more difficult: because of their orientation towards relationships, the quality of the relationships the members of the team need in order to perform will be more difficult to obtain in the virtual space.

Accountability is attached, in all cultures, to two important outcomes: deliverables and behaviours. Now, that we will meet a lot less in person, we could be tempted to lessen the importance of behaviour to favour accountability related to deliverables.

Even if behaviour in the virtual space is filtered, it continues to remain very important for the way members feel- they belong to a team, leaders must give and receive the trust and engagement everyone needs in order to perform.

Until now, learning was optional or random in most leadership teams. As one manager recently told me when I asked him what he had learned in the last six months: ”Life has taught me something new each day”.

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