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WORK 3.0: Reimagining leadership in a hybrid world

| Nov. 22, 2022

Kestria has partnered on the research project organized by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), a top-ranked global provider of leadership development, on hybrid working leadership. The report “WORK 3.0: Reimagining Leadership in a Hybrid World”, which surveyed 2,170 leaders across 13 countries in the Asia Pacific (APAC), offers a comprehensive look into the evolution of work and workplaces in the region.

Key takeaways:

Employees want more from work. 

Owing to the disruption that the world has gone through, stakeholders have heightened expectations from corporations. Employees are seeking incremental meaning from their work, higher flexibility, and a better "quality" of life. Dissatisfaction around such asks is partially manifesting in "the Great Resignation," "Antiwork," or "Lying Flat" movements across the world.

Hybrid or work 3.0 has emerged as the preferred model. 

After having embraced a fully remote model during the pandemic, most organizations are currently testing to see what combination of onsite and remote works best for them. Key variables that organizations are trying to optimize for are flexibility for employees on the one hand, and productivity and efficiency on the other hand. Increasingly, there is very little correlation between work and the workplace.

Organization context dictates the viability & version of the hybrid model. 

Different versions of hybrid work for different organizations. The discretion that employees have around the workplace depends on several variables. Organization culture, type of work, leader level, leader age/generation, and national culture are some variables that dictate the viability of hybrid and the flexibility that employees can have if organizations adopt it.

Success in work 3.0 centers on people and culture. 

Technology has evolved exponentially in the past two years. While it is often celebrated as the biggest champion of enabling hybrid working, WORK 3.0 research suggests that it is at best a "hygiene" factor. The success of the hybrid model hinges on people/ teams and organizational culture.

Leaders' success depends on their mindsets & attributes. 

Leaders must be dynamic and agile as they align their capabilities with Work 3.0. Mindset shifts must precede skill-set changes. Most mindset and skillset shifts center on trust, communication, and growth. Leaders in developing Asia must also align with the reality that teams can be productive even as they work from home.

Some leaders do much better than others. 

Mindset maturity and hybrid-world-friendly attributes dictate leader comfort and success in the new world. On the one end of the spectrum are leaders who not only thrive in a hybrid world but also champion navigating the polarity between flexibility and collaboration. On the other end of the spectrum, however, are leaders who are struggling to find their feet.

Team success in work 3.0 hinges on 4 key elements. 

Elements of a team that must come together to enable organizations to deliver on business needs, especially in a hybrid work environment, are core agreements about how people work together, collective mindset or team culture, cohesion or intra-team relationships, and connections across teams. Leaders must manage tensions in these 4 areas for teams to perform and thrive in Work 3.0.

Leaders must also play 5 roles to make work 3.0 a success. 

Leaders must lean on their Work 3.0 mindsets and attributes to manage several complementary or competing ideas in navigating tensions at work. In doing so, leaders must embrace 5 roles – Anchored Imagineer, Cat Herder, Wellness Hunter, Risk-Averse Gambler, and Tech-Savvy Humanist. The ability to play these roles dictates if inherent Work 3.0 tensions will act as “springs” or “mines.”

Concluding that the success of hybrid work will hinge on people and culture, the Work 3.0 report examines how leaders must evolve alongside the new realities of the workplace. It articulates the five roles that hybrid leaders will need to embrace:

  • the anchored imaginer who inspires commitment to a shared direction, 
  • the cat herder who drives collaboration without undermining flexibility, 
  • the risk-averse gambler who forges ahead while processes evolve, 
  • the wellness hunter who champions work flexibility, 
  • the tech-savvy humanist who embraces technology but remains people-centric.

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Kestria Insights