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Mastering Remote and Hybrid Team Communication: Cultivating Human Connection in the Digital Workspace

WFH Team Managers: How do you handle team communication in a WFH or hybrid mode and keep the human touch? 

Here's a rough guide to manage team role behaviours based on Belbin Team Roles.

There are Thinking Roles, Action Roles and Social Roles. We all have our preferred roles and it can change in different environments. Generally, we can put the 9 team roles under one of these three groups.

The Thinking Roles include Monitor-Evaluators, Plants and Specialists

The Action Roles include Shapers, Implementers and Completer-Finishers

The Social Roles include Teamworkers, Coordinators and Resource-Investigators

If you'd like to find out more about what these roles are like, take a look at this page: 

Generally, you can kinda figure out which role you play and which role your team members play. Of course, getting the Belbin Team Report is probably the best way to really find out.

So back to managing team role behaviours when on WFH mode. A summary is found in the images below or read the article at

Monitor-Evaluators prefer to work by themselves. Ask for updates as they tend to over-analyse which can slow down the work progress. They may not give you the answers you want but they most likely give you the answers you need.

Plants prefer to work alone, Give them questions and problems to solve, give them plenty of encouragement and check in gently. Don;t expect an immediate response to emails. A phone call may be preferable. Adopt a less task-focused or critical approach. Allow them space to communicate.

Specialists thrive when left alone. Be sure to give them an area of research they can really burrow into. Check in with them on updates and progress so you can communicate any significant findings to the rest of the team. Communication with them via email and be very specific with your questions.

Shapers may be heard through different modes of communication via phone calls, online meetings, messaging, emails etc. Keep your promises. Respond in a timely fashion. Get a resource investigator and shaper on a joint project!

Implementers will carry on usual. Keep them posted on adapted or changed processes. Given them the responsibility for organising new processes. Communicate with them via email. Put together a spreadsheet and talk through it with them.

Completer Finishers need clarity around priorities and deadlines. Check in on them on a regular basis since they are not the most effective delegators or time-managers. Get a Teamworker to keep an eye on them since they experience high anxiety levels. Ensure ground rules are adhered to on not overloading them with work.

Teamworkers need to feel connected. Assign them tasks that require them to stay in touch with the rest of the team. Have them initiate short online social chat sessions. Keep in touch with them via phone.

Coordinators naturally engage others. Get them to chair virtual meetings that explicitly address the challenges of remote teamworking. Have them share a sense of perspective if things start spiralling. Be sure they do not delegate more than their fair share of work. Connect with them regularly via both email and phone.

Resource Investigators may fall off the radar. Encourage them to make regular check-ins but don't ask for too much detaul. Call them but stay in control of the conversation.

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