21 | Leadership in hybrid work with Sue Bingham

Sue Bingham has been at the forefront of creating positive change in the workplace for more than 35 years. She is the founder of HPWP Group and the co-creator of HPWP philosophy, which is a non-traditional, results-producing, and challenging approach to leadership that drives high levels of business performance. Sue has personally conducted hundreds of leadership workshops, courses, and seminars and trained thousands of leaders. 

In this episode, Milla and Sue talk about leadership in the era of the New Normal. Sue also shares some of the challenges she has faced when working with leaders from different fields. If you’re interested in learning how leadership is evolving and how we can prepare for the change, you don’t want to miss this episode!

Sue Bingham

To Sue’s mind, the future of work is flexible and changeable

Sue sees that the future will hold a stronger work-life balance, or work-life integration as she calls it: people get to create their own work schedules flexibly while still meeting work-related goals.

What Sue and Milla both find odd is how some companies are forcing their people to return to the office or making policies when they get to work remote as the Covid situation is getting easier. How is that productive at all?

I think it says a lot about our culture and the way we view work. We need a mindset change, and it’s a healthier one. Do we only see processes and rules, or well-defined targets that will guide our people?” Sue asks. 

Instead of making shared policies, team leaders should try to support the work-life balance of the team members within the given frameworks of schedules and targets. This way, people would be so much happier and more committed to their work. Furthermore, it would be easier for leaders as well, since they wouldn’t need to solve problems that are only solvable by the people impacted. 

Communication and respect make it a win-win, Sue states.

Sue brings up a good point about how power is going to look different as we get settled in the era of hybrid work. Leaders won’t be able to motivate their teams or achieve results through authority but through influence. 

Millennials’ role in work-life will also increase, which means old models must go. Baby boomers’ values and the definition of working hard look very different compared to millennials. Millennials want to enjoy their work, and they value connection, flexibility, and meaningfulness in their work-life. 

The biggest challenge of leadership in hybrid work is confusion

Sue names confusion as one of the biggest issues that both leaders and employees are facing as we’re moving to the hybrid era. That’s why patience and a mindset of continuous experimentation are much needed.

We don’t have to get it right perfectly the first time. That’s how I view management: Let’s try stuff, get feedback, empower people to contribute and make it better, Sue concludes.

Sue’s tips for leaders for navigating in a hybrid world and supporting employees’ work-life balance

  • Spend some time on experience alignment. Team members can have different levels of experience and success behind them. Being able to align all those experiences so that they’re speaking with one voice for purpose of clarity and behaving as one person for purposes of clarity. Find out where the gap is and figure out how to close it.
  • Have positive assumptions about people! Don’t ruin your mindset just because of one bad apple.
  • Listen and learn
  • Be decisive when needed
  • Have clear goals
  • Create an environment where it’s possible to fail faster. This will promote innovation

More info about Sue Bingham and the episode

Episode highlights

  • 7:12 What makes a Better Monday® for Sue?
  • 9:55 What does the future of work look like to Sue?
  • 14:45 What kind of things especially leaders should consider when we talk about the new normal and hybrid work?
  • 20:15 Has Sue pumped into some problems leaders encounter especially in a hybrid setting?
  • 24:12 Sue’s tips for leaders for navigating in the hybrid world
  • 28:30 Sue’s tips for companies for supporting employees’ work-life balance and happiness
  • 36:10 How does Sue take care of herself and her work-life balance?
  • 37:55 What is the one thing that makes a company a better employer than others according to Sue?