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Brain circuits

Tips for leaders to enhance emotional resilience in hybrid and virtual teams

Published 9 July 2021 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

Last year we were navigating issues with offices and teams going virtual. Now, in many places, the challenge is hybrid offices and teams. It may be the case that part of your office is at home and part is in person, and that can create a new set of dynamics. It’s a good time to review your practices for emotional resilience. We have some tips.

In virtual meetings explicitly say how you feel. It is important that leaders model healthy emotionally aware behavior. When teams and colleagues see that you are comfortable expressing emotions, it will help give them the space to do the same.

Ask others how they feel. Remember, there may be some people who do not feel comfortable freely expressing their emotion. It’s especially important to include any virtual team members that may feel new distance from those that actually have a seat at the table in person.

Establish team ground rules for the new reality. As our teams go virtual, it is critical that you set the rules for ways of working. Cameras on or off? Hybrid or all virtual? Cadence and length of meetings. These norms ease team interactions and help teams feel more “teamie”.

Include social time in meetings. Social interaction time – independent of the team task, will help teams to develop the social structures necessary for positive emotions and trust. 

Create clear spaces. Especially for those working virtually, it is important to differentiate home from work. One way to do this is to create clearly delineated boundaries of when your workday starts and ends and don’t do work outside of these time boundaries.

Have breaks between meetings. It can be exhausting going from virtual meeting to meeting and letting emotions pile up. Thus, make sure you have at least 5 minutes between meetings away from your computer.

Keep an emotional diary. This doesn’t mean you have to write your emotions down, but it means to stop occasionally throughout the day and take stock of how you are feeling. By noticing how you feel you can take a step back and reflect how specific emotions influence your thinking and behavior. This will create an opportunity to effectively work with emotions and thus enhance your leadership performance.



Silke Mischke

IMD Executive Coach

Silke Mischke is a Cognitive Psychologist and works as Learning Specialist and Executive Coach at IMD. Her coaching activities cover work with teams and individuals from international organizations. She works globally with customers from various industry sectors and governments. Further to her role as Executive Coach she is teaching negotiation skills, stress management, time management and personal development. In her role as Learning Specialist she contributes to the program design of a series of Leadership programs at IMD.

Jennifer Jordan

Social psychologist and Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at IMD

Jennifer Jordan is a social psychologist and is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at IMD. Professor Jordan’s teaching, research, and consulting focus on the areas of digital leadership, ethics, influence, and power. Professor Jordan has received specialized training and certifications in lie- and truthfulness-detection, as well as in conflict resolution within organizations. She is Program Director of the Leadership Skills for the Digital Age program.


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