Is Your Hybrid Team Truly Thriving? Ask These 3 Crucial Questions

In the new work reality of increased hybrid work, leaders face the challenge of fostering an environment where collaboration and independence are both valued and embraced in order to drive success. This balancing act requires your team to harness the full potential of both collective effort and individual autonomy. But how can you tell if your hybrid team is high-performing or teetering on the brink of dysfunction?

Three Key Questions to Gauge Your Hybrid Team’s Health

1. Is Our Collaboration Meaningful or ‘Meh’?

Assess your team’s collaborative processes—meetings, calls, huddles. Are they a source of creativity and energy, fostering a space where ideas are robustly challenged, plans enhanced, and relationships strengthened? Or has your team fallen into a ‘Groundhog Day’ trap: an endless cycle of repetitive meetings that yield more blank stares than innovation? Effective collaboration isn’t measured by the number of meetings, but by the value of the insights and the impact of the discussions they generate.

2. Do We Champion Independence Without Isolation?

Independence within a team should be a catalyst for empowerment, sparking both passion and productivity. Consider whether your team’s autonomy is positively channeling their energies and talents, or if it inadvertently leads to disconnection and silos. In a well-tuned hybrid environment, independence should amplify collaborative efforts, not hinder them—facilitating focus and productivity, without confusion or loss of cohesion.

3. Are We Dropping the Baton?

In the fast-paced relay of hybrid teamwork, the key to success is ensuring that no task is dropped as responsibilities shift from one individual to another. Consider your team’s effectiveness at this exchange: Are projects and tasks being passed along smoothly without fumble? Is each member clear on their roles, both as independent contributors and as team players, to prevent any oversight? Maintaining a keen eye on these transitions is vital, as it’s where many hybrid teams either drop the baton or push ahead in the race.

Hybrid Teams & Healthy Tension

Ultimately, the effectiveness of a hybrid team hinges on managing the delicate interplay between collaboration and independence. Overemphasizing one at the expense of the other can steer your team towards dysfunction. However, by embracing both — the collective intelligence of group work and the innovation of individual effort — you create a fertile ground where trust blossoms, engagement amplifies, and outcomes are elevated. Healthy tension between independence and collaboration is not a ‘nice to have’; it’s a ‘need to have’ for a thriving hybrid work environment.

DIY Team Icebreaker

The Three-Step Team Tune-Up: A Do-It-Yourself Activity for Hybrid Teams

Step 1: Pre-Reading and Reflection

Distribute the article to your team in advance and ask them to read it before your next meeting.

Step 2: Group Discussion

  • Divide the team into small groups or 3 of 4 people and pose the following questions:
    • When have we recently experienced the true upsides of collaboration?
    • How has working independently benefited us and our projects?
    • Can we identify moments where our task handoffs have been particularly smooth or where we’ve dropped the baton?
  • Instruct each group to discuss these questions, citing specific instances where they’ve succeeded or fallen short.

Step 3: Collaborative Action Planning

  • Reconvene as a whole team, have small groups report back their key insights.
  • Brainstorm some actions you can take to maximize hybrid teamwork in the season ahead. Have these ideas categorized into:
    • Starts: New practices you can implement to improve team effectiveness.
    • Stops: Behaviours or processes that are hindering your performance and need to be ceased.
    • Sustains: Successful actions that you should continue to do (and maybe even do more often!) to enhance both collaborative and independent work.

This simple yet insightful activity encourages self-awareness, peer-to-peer learning, and collective action planning, which are critical for the continuous improvement of a hybrid team.

Monthly Inspiration

“Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.”


Patrick Lencioni

Author, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

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