Original Research

Adaptive leadership Competencies for hybrid work teams in the South African banking sector

Khanyisa Yozi, Gloria Mbokota
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 55, No 1 | a4060 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v55i1.4060 | © 2024 Khanyisa Yozi, Gloria Mbokota | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 April 2023 | Published: 23 January 2024

About the author(s)

Khanyisa Yozi, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa
Gloria Mbokota, Gordon Institute of Business Science, Faculty of Economic and Management Science, University of Pretoria, Sandton, South Africa


Purpose: Since the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid work has increased dramatically, with organisations still experimenting with different hybrid work models. This study aimed to explore the leadership competencies and practices needed to facilitate the successful transition to the new hybrid work context, using adaptive leadership theory as the overarching research framework.

Design/methodology/approach: A cross-sectional, qualitative design was adopted. Data were gathered by conducting semi-structured interviews with a sample of 20 executives and senior managers drawn from 5 leading South African banks.

Findings/results: The adaptation processes and leadership competencies adopted by participants were mostly aligned to adaptive leadership theory. However, participants needed to strengthen their skills in communication, listening and empathy, as well as enhance leadership characteristics such as authenticity, humility, trust and transparency.

Practical implications: The study could inform the redesign of job specifications for leaders and managers in charge of hybrid work teams, particularly if they are in the early stages of the transition. More strategically, the study could facilitate the creation of adaptive workspaces and lay the foundation for more effective leadership in hybrid working environments.

Originality/value: Whereas previous studies have explored flexible and or hybrid working arrangements from employees’ perspectives, little research has been conducted on managers and leaders perspectives in this regard, which was the focus of this study. An important finding was that while participants were comfortable making the technical transition to hybrid work (using more technology), they saw the social demands of a hybrid work environment as more challenging.


leadership competencies; hybrid work teams; adaptive leadership; e-leadership skills; core self-evaluation

JEL Codes

A10: General

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions


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