Can You Be a Good Leader Over a Screen?

A company’s culture has a huge impact on the productivity and happiness of its employees. We have looked at how to create a better culture before, but now is time to discuss what you do when you have to lead and build culture over a screen.

Culture is what brings people together, it's how people interact, it's how people feel at your company. But how does this work when your team is sitting in a multitude of locations and meeting you via Skype, Zoom, or Teams? Can you lead them or do you need physical interaction to lead?

In this article, we are going to look at both sides of the equation in this new hybrid work era.

Benefits of Remote/ Hybrid Working:

Now as we look at the benefits of both working styles, we are looking solely at the benefits that affect company culture and leadership, not the entirety of the benefits of each style.

Remote working was on the rise and was boosted when most of the world went into lockdown. While at one-point remote working was the only option, now many companies are considering if they should go back to in-person working, stay fully remote, or embark on a hybrid solution.

Remote working does affect company culture such as:

  • Better Work-Life Balance. Good leaders will find that remote working allows their team to spend more time with their families, allowing for a better work-life balance and leading to a happier work environment and culture.
  • Higher Productivity. This one is highly debated; however, it has been shown that individuals with an autonomous type of discipline have increased motivation and productivity when working remotely.
  • Meet More Often. With the introduction of Zoom Meetings, many people are finding that they can fit more meetings in due to less travel and transition time between meetings. This means that as a leader you can meet with your team more often, both as a group and one on one.

Benefits of In-Person Working:

Now that we have looked at some of the benefits of working from home, let's consider the benefits of working in person. The old tried and tested method has served us well for decades and continues to do so today.

Here are some of the benefits of working in person:

  • Human Contact. While we are all amazed at the leap technology has taken over recent years, no technology can beat human contact. Sitting across from someone, shaking someone’s hand, and looking them in the eye, all help us to create bonds. This is something technology cannot yet replicate and is thus missed in the online world.
  • Greater Awareness. Good company culture means that you support each other. Being able to recognize when one of your team is down, upset, or stressed is crucial to being able to support them. This can be very difficult to recognise over a screen and is often left unrecognised.
  • More Comradery. In this new way of working, many teams have never met each other in real life. This can often lead to a lack of team building and comradery. Working remotely, you miss out on the quick watercooler chats, the rugby Fridays, and the after-work drinks that promote a sense of belonging and grow company culture.

Do You Need to Adjust Your Leadership Style?

Both styles of working have several benefits to them but are also very different. Thus as a leader, you need to adjust your leadership style to suit the work environment you work in.

If you are working remotely, you may want to schedule more one on ones to catch up and keep in contact with your team. You may also consider having some online-related work socials like quizzes, games nights, and virtual coffees to build the comradery of your team.

On the other side, if you are working in person, you may want to be more flexible. Allowing your team to take an afternoon off every once in a while to spend time with their family.

Is one way better than the other? No. They are both very different and require slightly different approaches. Each company is different and has different needs, the important part is spending the time to build your culture no matter the style of working.

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