The post-pandemic world continues to be defined by remote work, with 40 percent of UK workers working away from the office at least once per week –  the highest proportion recorded since the end of the third lockdown. 

However, new research from Coursera – one of the world’s largest online learning platforms –  illuminates the ways in which the rise of hybrid work – combined with digital transformation – is creating challenges for remote and hybrid managers worldwide, with 34 percent stating that hybrid work has changed leadership for the worse.

The biggest resulting challenges created for managers in a hybrid world, according to the research, are:

  • Ignoring their own work-life boundaries (cited as a top challenge by 38% of respondents)
  • Team morale and company culture is neglected (37%)
  • Communicating with credibility (30%)
  • Prioritizing incorrectly (29%)
  • Micromanagement (27%)

What are top leadership priorities?

The report also identifies the increasing importance of middle-management roles in driving company culture and supporting organizational performance. Top leadership priorities for those in middle management positions include:

  • Motivating teams and leading by example (cited as a top priority by 57% of respondents)
  • Setting clear goals (54%)
  • Encouraging teamwork (51%)
  • Empowerment (48%)
  • Feedback and nurturing growth (48%)

Zac Rule, Vice-President for Enterprise at Coursera, said:

“There is a growing sense of urgency within businesses recognising the immediate need to provide high-quality leadership training. This report is designed to provide organizations with the insight necessary to adopt a skills-first approach to that training. We look forward to continued collaboration with businesses in the UK to help employees at all levels develop the new, job-relevant skills needed to become successful leaders in the modern workplace.”

Pressure building around employee skills development, coupled with the challenges in reporting soft skills impact and the difficulty of finding targeted and easy-to-execute leadership programs, means L&D leaders have to figure out how to scale leadership training quickly, at a reasonable cost.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.