Adapting leadership styles for a hybrid workplace

Photographer: Mark Abramson/Bloomberg

The hybrid workplace is here to stay, and leaders in the automotive finance space are adjusting their course of management to maintain engagement and relationships with their teams.

As employees have adapted to remote work, so too have leaders who no longer see their teams face to face, PNC Bank Vice President of Talent Management Bob Senz said. “You’ve got to be able to manage in a [hybrid] space, or you can’t be a leader,” he said.

PNC Bank, Santander Consumer USA and Wells Fargo Auto, for example, are planning to continue offering hybrid options as they start to reintroduce employees back into the workplace, executives said at the Auto Finance Summit in Las Vegas.

To adjust leadership strategies in a hybrid environment, Well Fargo Auto is providing training, resources, coaching and counseling to team members to help them achieve their career aspirations, Wells Fargo Auto Head of Change Management Chris Bishop said. Being aware of what employees’ goals are both personally and professionally helps managers lead in a way that is custom to each employee, he added.

Meanwhile, at Santander Consumer USA leaders are encouraged to engage with employees about their lives inside and outside of the workplace, SCUSA Senior Vice President and Diversity Officer Richard Conde said. Through meaningful conversations and a sincere investment in their team members, leaders at SCUSA have created a culture that makes their employees comfortable enough to share ideas and express themselves openly. “Strong engagement leads to strong performance,” he said.

As work-from-home finds its long-term place in the corporate world, leaders must also develop a sense of trust with their remote team members, Senz said. At PNC, remote workers are allotted more flexibility in their day to complete their workload. If the quality of work fails to meet the company’s expectations, leaders can step in and manage accordingly. “I don’t think we want to move back to a place where [employees] are less autonomous,” he said.

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