HUMAN Capital - Winter 2015 - (Page 16)

FEATURE Managing in the distributed workplace: Discovering the leadership Capabilities that matter bY lAurA HAmbleY, CHriStiAnne VArtY, AnD tHomAS o'neill to meet the challenges associated with work in the global, technology-driven economy, many teams are now distributed across time, geography, and culture.1 Further, there is increased demand for flexibility programs enabling people to work outside of the traditional office, such as WorKshift, telework/telecommuting, mobile work, agile work and flexwork. As a result, the distributed workforce is growing and changing the face of many corporate cultures. With this shift come several challenges. Addressing barriers such as fear of lowered productivity is difficult, yet critical if a fundamental shift from viewing work as a place to viewing work as an activity is to occur. When organizations do tackle these challenges, they tend to focus on managing the practical limitations, such as technology and facilities, at the expense of considering the human elements that impact success. this is especially evident with managers. managing by "presenteeism" (also known as "bums in seats") can be heavily entrenched in a corporate culture; many fear managing people they cannot see. Yet organizations often fail to fully understand, support and develop managers as they transition to distributed leadership. 16 | this can limit the implementation and success of distributed work programs. Defined as managing or leading one or more employees from a distance, including flexible or mobile workers in the same city, distributed leadership poses two main challenges for organizations. First, many assume that traditional leadership skills are transferable to distributed work and fail to recognize that additional attributes, skills and behaviours are required. moreover, there is an inadequate understanding of what those capabilities are and how to perform them well. to address this gap and break down managerial resistance, Work evoHlution, a Calgary-based distributed work assessment company, has developed a ground-breaking distributed leadership capabilities framework. our group of industrial/organizational psychologists and researchers has created the largest distributed leadership behavioural database, from interviews with 34 distributed leaders from multiple organizations and industries across north America and europe. We converged upon 13 capability clusters that capture the array of behaviours critical to distributed leadership success and sorted these into four categories-relationships, flexibility, orGAniZAtionS oFten FAil to FullY unDerStAnD, SuPPort AnD DeVeloP mAnAGerS AS tHeY trAnSition to DiStributeD leADerSHiP. tHiS CAn limit tHe imPlementAtion AnD SuCCeSS oF DiStributeD WorK ProGrAmS. productivity and culture-to produce an organized framework, briefly summarized as follows: relationships - leaders must build and maintain relationships by making themselves accessible through technology such as instant messaging, and quickly responding to emails or phone calls. Further, they should schedule "virtual coffee" or pause to allow a few minutes of personal discussion during formal communications, as these behaviours are essential to maintaining relationships from a distance. flexibility - leaders must constantly seek out new technologies or processes for their teams. Although distributed work can

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HUMAN Capital - Winter 2015

Leadership Matters
Tech Talk
Organizational Culture: Shining Light on the Monster in the Closet
Evolution of the Performance Review: An Everyday Part of Business
Managing in the Distributed Workplace: Discovering the Leadership Capabilities That Matter
The Soft-Skills Gap: Growing Steadily From Gen X to Y to Z
From Inside of the Succession Plan: The Success of a Planned CEO
Lean HR: How Simplifying Your Approach Makes You a Better HR Professional
Metrics for HR and Leadership Development
The Effect of Group Training and Individual Motivation on Performance
Legal Source
Policy Corner
Index of Advertisers/

HUMAN Capital - Winter 2015