Whether you’re working from home or in the office, career experts agree on one thing: gaining visibility in the workplace is vital. And, for senior leaders navigating the challenges of hybrid work, staying visible has taken on greater importance still. While leadership is a broad term covering a spectrum of attitudes and approaches, a visible leadership style can be the driving force behind successful cultures in any organisation. Present leaders not only consistently raise morale, but can also drive profits and fire up productivity. With this in mind, in this thought leadership piece, we’ll be examining the benefits of staying visible in the workplace, how to navigate visibility in a hybrid environment, and some practical ways for senior leaders to enhance their own organisational visibility.
What is visibility in the workplace?
In essence, visibility at work means being recognised for your contribution and being included in all relevant company decisions and conversations. It means feeling included in company culture, and able to speak up and make your voice heard when necessary. It can help strengthen relationships between teams, enables us to take advantage of learning and progression opportunities, and demonstrate expertise in front of your colleagues and wider network. For senior leaders, staying visible also means being accessible and approachable in a manner that enhances company culture and encourages collaboration.
What does visibility mean in a hybrid workplace?
With up to 82% of organisations planning to allow employees to keep working remotely at least some of the time, workplace visibility must now be navigated differently. For senior leaders, staying visible in the new world of hybrid work could mean something as simple as turning the camera on for Zoom calls, and making extra effort to be physically present with team members during the time you spend in the office. Research conducted during the pandemic has demonstrated that remote work provides fewer opportunities for collaboration and social connection, so spending that extra time amongst your team is more important than ever to strengthen and enhance working relationships.
Why is visibility important for senior leaders?
Whether you’re navigating the challenges of a hybrid workplace or your team has returned to the office permanently, there are many benefits to staying visible at work as a senior leader:
- Networking. Being visible in the workplace allows us to cultivate organic connections that can lead to enhanced personal and professional success. It allows us not only to trade useful information with others and form bonds based on mutual interests, but also creates avenues for new opportunities and to consider the opinions and mindsets of others.
- Increased representation. For individuals within underrepresented groups, staying visible in the workplace holds even greater importance. It provides an opportunity to add a different perspective to the conversation, as well as to speak up and remind others of your contributions and expertise. At board level, this is a factor that becomes still more vital, with diverse board composition a significant and measurable contributor to organisational effectiveness across all sectors.
- Bonding. As social creatures, we thrive on seeing the emotional nuances in the faces of others, as it helps us to navigate social situations, and form a connection based on our mutual feelings and interests. Whether online or in person, staying visible allows us to forge closer relationships with colleagues, allowing both conversation and creativity to flourish.
- Enhanced co-operation. For senior leaders, the value of letting your team know they’re respected, valued and appreciated cannot be overestimated. By staying visible, you’re letting your team know you’re there to support them, and that you value their contribution enough to stay present and connected.
- Strong leadership. By staying present and visible, you’re better equipped to understand the challenges your team face, and offer support when you sense they need it. You’re also better prepared to highlight the achievements of your team to other members of senior leadership, and act as an organisational sponsor on their behalf. For women and people of colour, staying visible within the business also presents greater opportunities to act as a role model to others aspiring to follow in your footsteps.
Ways to increase visibility as a senior leader
Now we’ve established some of the benefits of staying visible, let’s focus on some simple tips senior leaders can implement to increase their visibility within an organisation:
- Stay accessible. When your team is working remotely, it’s a good idea to provide them with certain days and times they’re able to video call and interact with you, even if it’s just for a catch up or to talk about how their week’s going. If you’re in the office, this might take the form of a weekly ‘town hall’ or drop-in session, during which team members can come to see you in order to voice any concerns or chat informally.
- Communicate consistently. When working remotely, it’s all too easy to let thorough and effective communication slide. Your team will feel more connected to you if you keep them regularly informed and updated with all developments that are relevant to them. In the office, consistent communication might mean holding weekly or monthly whole-team meetings, during which accomplishments can be celebrated and forthcoming targets discussed.
- Get involved. When you’re in the office, make an extra effort to appear in person during training or onboarding sessions. This is an ideal way to let employees know you’re actively involved and interested in the day-to-day running of the organisation, whilst providing additional opportunities to interact and spread positivity.
- Be creative. With so much technology at our fingertips, staying visible doesn’t always have to mean communicating in person. If you’re attending an event, set up a livestream so that employees can tune in if they wish, or you could even record a verbal update for an internal ‘podcast’ to keep your team in the loop.
- Be authentic. Staying visible doesn’t need to involve grand gestures. Something as simple as casually checking in and asking team members what they’re working on or a question about their personal lives can go a long way! Additionally, remember to share some details of your own life with your team in the same way as you would with friends. People want to see the human behind the leader, and feel a personal bond that stretches beyond work.
Ultimately, staying present and visible as a senior leader can form the cornerstone of creating an organisation with accountability, positivity and transparency at its heart. It provides a chance to live and breathe the values of your organisation, and helps create a culture that welcomes open dialogue and collaboration. Although staying visible might be more challenging in the world of hybrid work, this only enhances its importance, making it imperative for senior leaders to rise to the challenge.
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