How to lead today’s changing hybrid workplace with top leadership thinker John Baldoni

In the latest episode of the Workplace Makers podcast, we talk with John Baldoni, a distinguished luminary in the field of leadership and management.

He’s the author of 16 books, translated into ten languages. I was thrilled to have him on the show.

Working with leaders during and pre- the hybrid world of work, John has come to see the need for ‘grace,’ especially in times of crisis. Grace is intentional acts of kindness, distinct from mere empathy or compassion. We talk about the difference this makes to a harmonious work environment and effective leadership.

It won’t surprise you that we discuss community and belonging. John refers to these as a basic need, particularly when people are working in a hybrid workplace model. 

John’s view is that the future of work will lean heavily on flexible, hybrid models. But he cites a word of warning, borrowing from Cali Williams Yost, that one size does not fit all in workplace environments.

I thoroughly enjoyed touching on the concept of dignity at work because this has been a driving force in my work. John argues that respecting and valuing employees contributes to enhanced productivity and retention. He touches upon common employer mistakes in existing hybrid models.

Given that hybrid creates complexities we’re not particularly used to dealing with, I particularly wanted to pick John’s brains on how leaders can collectively make sometimes unpopular decisions. He emphasised mutual respect and open communication. 

And then finally we talked about change management. Because change management is the sometimes boring bedrock that delivers on great workplace ideas. The answer? Open communication and listening to employees are key strategies for managing resistance to change. 

If you’re looking to get a further understanding of leadership in the hybrid working age, you’ll find this a jaunt through some familiar concepts  but with fresh insight.


“Belonging is rooted to our value system, the values that we hold within our community, within our workplace. And I believe grace facilitates that. It facilitates that connection, our ability to relate to one another.

John Baldoni

Key moments

  • 00:01:41 – John talks about his transition from senior-level speechwriter to leadership expert. 
  • 00:04:47 – John dives into the concept of ‘grace,’ particularly its importance during crises.
  • 00:06:34 – He clarifies the definition of grace, along with its role in leadership, differentiating it from empathy and compassion. 
  • 00:09:41 – John discusses community and belonging, relating it to Maslow’s hierarchy and how grace facilitates it
  • 00:10:37 – We discuss building community in a hybrid workplace
  • 00:11:09 – John opines that the future of work is hybrid, emphasising flexibility and citing Callie Williamson Yost’s views. 
  • 00:14:20 – The topic moves to learning from mistakes and poor leadership in the workplace. 
  • 00:16:20 – John introduces ‘the dignity of work’, advocating for valuing employees for a better work environment. 
  • 00:17:12 – We discuss common employer mistakes in today’s hybrid work model. 
  • 00:20:12 – John concludes by highlighting the importance of community and fair compensation in staff retention. 
  • 00:21:16 – Discussion on navigating unpopular decisions while maintaining workplace harmony. 
  • 00:23:43 – John advises on self-care for leaders, recommending mindfulness and exercise to fend off burnout. 
  • 00:28:08 – Tips on managing resistance to change are given, with a focus on open communication. 
  • 00:30:30 – The conversation ends with John discussing the impact and ethics of AI in the future workplace.

Connect with John

John on X (previously Twitter) @JohnBaldoni

John on LinkedIn

John’s website

John’s latest book Grace under Pressure

Workplace Makers – the podcast about people building workplaces that attract a crowd

Workplace Makers – the podcast about people building workplaces that attract a crowd

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