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Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock: How to Lead a Hybrid Team in the New World of Work
Work Rules! is a book by Laszlo Bock, the former head of People Operations at Google, that reveals the secrets behind the company's success and culture. The book offers practical insights and advice on how to attract, motivate, and retain talent, as well as how to foster innovation, creativity, and collaboration.
However, since the book was published in 2015, the world of work has changed dramatically. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote and hybrid work models, where employees can work from anywhere and have more flexibility and autonomy. This poses new challenges and opportunities for leaders who want to create high-performing teams in the new normal.
In this article, we will summarize some of the key takeaways from Work Rules! and update them with new research and best practices for leading a hybrid team. We will cover five new rules that can help you adapt to the changing work environment and empower your team to thrive.
New Rule #1: Trust your team
One of the core principles of Work Rules! is to give your employees freedom and responsibility. Bock argues that people are inherently good and want to do meaningful work, so you should treat them like owners and not micromanage them. He also suggests that you should hire people who are smarter than you and let them do their jobs without interference.
This principle is even more important in a hybrid work setting, where you can't see your team members every day or monitor their activities. Instead of focusing on inputs (such as hours worked or tasks completed), you should focus on outputs (such as results achieved or goals met). You should also communicate clearly your expectations and priorities, and provide regular feedback and recognition.
According to a recent study by Microsoft[^2^], trust is one of the key factors that influence employee engagement and productivity in a hybrid work environment. The study found that employees who felt trusted by their managers were more likely to report higher levels of happiness, satisfaction, collaboration, innovation, and learning. They were also less likely to experience burnout, stress, anxiety, or loneliness.
New Rule #2: Empower your team
Another principle of Work Rules! is to empower your employees to make decisions and take risks. Bock explains that Google encourages its employees to experiment with new ideas and learn from failure, rather than follow rules and avoid mistakes. He also shares examples of how Google gives its employees autonomy and ownership over their projects, such as the famous 20% time policy that allows them to work on their own passions.
This principle is also crucial in a hybrid work setting, where you need to foster a culture of innovation and agility. You should encourage your team members to pursue their own interests and passions, as well as collaborate with others across different locations and functions. You should also support them with the resources and tools they need to succeed, such as cloud-based platforms, data analytics, or online learning opportunities.
A recent report by McKinsey found that empowering employees is one of the key drivers of organizational performance in a hybrid work environment. The report identified four dimensions of empowerment: strategic clarity (having a clear vision and direction), operational agility (being able to adapt quickly to changes), talent mobility (being able to move people across roles and teams), and rapid learning (being able to acquire new skills and knowledge).
New Rule #3: Connect your team
A third principle of Work Rules! is to create a sense of community and belonging among your employees. Bock reveals that Google invests heavily in building a strong culture and fostering social interactions among its staff. He also highlights the importance of having a shared mission and values that inspire people to work together for a greater purpose.
This principle is also vital in a hybrid work setting, where you need to maintain a sense of cohesion and collaboration among your team members who may be working from different locations or time zones. You should create opportunities for your team members to connect with each other on both a professional and personal level, such as virtual meetings, online chats, or social events. You should also celebrate your team's achievements and milestones, as well as acknowledge their challenges and difficulties.
A recent survey by Gallup found that connection is one of the key elements that influence employee engagement and well-being in 061ffe29dd