A Review of ‘Leading Hybrid Organisations’ by Michael Drayton: Key Insights for Future-Focused Leaders

Home | Insights | A Review of ‘Leading Hybrid Organisations’ by Michael Drayton: Key Insights for Future-Focused Leaders

By Professor Anthony Patterson – Lancaster University

The world of work is rapidly evolving, and the shift towards hybrid working models has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As organizations navigate this new landscape, leaders face unique challenges in building cohesive, high-performing teams that span both physical and virtual spaces. In “Leading Hybrid Organizations,” Dr. Mike Drayton, an expert in resilience for individuals and organizations, draws upon his extensive experience as an organizational consultant, coach, and clinical psychologist to provide valuable insights and practical strategies for navigating this new terrain.

One of the key themes emphasized throughout the book is the importance of fostering a strong sense of belonging and identity among hybrid team members. Drayton draws upon attachment theory to highlight how regular face-to-face interactions, thoughtfully designed workspaces, and shared rituals can help employees form deep connections with each other and the organization, even when working remotely. By prioritizing these elements, leaders can minimize feelings of isolation and disconnection that often plague distributed teams.

Another crucial aspect of leading hybrid organizations is effective communication. Drayton explores the challenges posed by virtual collaboration tools and offers practical tips for optimizing online interactions. He suggests leveraging “bursty” communication patterns, alternating between intense, focused exchanges and longer periods of deep, uninterrupted work. Additionally, the book emphasizes the value of cognitive diversity in sparking innovation and preventing groupthink, encouraging leaders to actively nurture psychological safety and create space for diverse perspectives.

As the author of “Anti Burnout: How to Create a Psychologically Resilient and High PerformanceOrganisation” and “The Saboteur at Work: How the Unconscious Mind Can Sabotage Ourselves, Our Organisations and Society,” Dr. Drayton brings a wealth of knowledge to the topic of employee well-being in hybrid work environments. Recognizing that the transition to hybrid work can be stressful for employees, Drayton dedicates a chapter to employee well-being and preventing burnout. He argues that leaders must take a proactive, systemic approach to creating a supportive work environment, with a focus on setting clear boundaries, aligning roles with individual strengths, and cultivating a sense of purpose. By prioritizing employee wellness, organizations can unlock the full potential of hybrid work arrangements.

Throughout the book, Drayton presents a compelling vision of leadership in the hybrid era. He advocates for an adaptive, empowering style that draws inspiration from historical figures like Ernest Shackleton, who led his crew through uncharted Antarctic waters. Drayton also introduces the concept of “leader as healer,” emphasizing the importance of attending to the psychological and emotional needs of teams navigating change and uncertainty.

“Leading Hybrid Organizations” is a must-read for any leader looking to build a thriving, future-focused organization in the post-pandemic world. By combining cutting-edge research, practical insights, and inspiring case studies, Drayton provides a comprehensive roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of hybrid work. As organizations continue to evolve, the principles and strategies outlined in this book will undoubtedly prove invaluable in shaping the future of work.