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Remote Work is Here to Stay, But Leaders Still Resist Empowering Virtual Teams


October 26, 2021

At the onset of the pandemic, switching to virtual work environments was challenging. The boundaries between work and life balance blurred, and employees struggled to adapt to social isolation. Well over a year later, many organizations have started bringing employees back to physical office spaces. But for most businesses, it seems that virtual environments, flexible work arrangements and virtual teams are here to stay.

For those leading virtual teams, remote work brought on a new challenge: how to effectively manage and empower teams while feeling constrained, drained and isolated. In an article published in MIT Sloan Management Review co-authored by Lauren D’Innocenzo, PhD, associate professor of management at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, experts suggest that remote leaders adopt an empowering leadership style as a viable solution to some of the challenges they’re facing. However, they found that while empowering employees is linked to increased job satisfaction, commitment to self-efficacy, creativity and performance, leaders often resist this approach, especially when managing people remotely.

“Whether or not they thought they had a good handle on their team before shifting to virtual work, leaders tend to worry about ceding power and control to employees and taking risks in a virtual environment where they can’t observe people directly,” said D’Innocenzo.

Read more on the Drexel News Blog.

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Headshot of Lauren D'Innocenzo

Associate Professor, Management