In this ever-changing world, navigating through digital transformations is not an easy path for today’s leaders, wherein “disruption” is the keyword. While the opportunities are immense, the added ambiguity and complexity makes it more challenging.
Digital leadership entails translating proven leadership capabilities to the context of digitalization - having the ability to demonstrate effective leadership in developing a vision, evolving and growth of the organization in a digital world!
What clearly comes out is the mind-shift and change in approach. For example:
- Moving away from a practice of setting targets, managing team’s performance to ensure the execution of the defined business strategy is successful; to an approach of empowering teams to think differently to enable them to achieve the business objectives and create positive impacts on client’s business
- Moving away from a silo approach within a project to a more collaborative approach between multiple projects enabling re-use of best practices, optimization of resources and creating efficiencies
This shift towards “adopting a new mindset” is the first critical need in the context of digitization. Change brings in new experiences, new challenges to solve and spark creativity and innovation.
Bersin’s Report titled “A Portrait of a Digital Leader” highlights some of the new definitions of the leadership attributes:
- Inspirational Leadership is about the need to concentrate on building engagement in this world of disruption and competing opportunities
- Execution is about developing the liquid workforce in the gig economy
- Influence focuses on garnering involvement from a varied landscape of stakeholders and persuading skeptics to act on unproven ideas
- Collaboration is creating seamless, nontraditional synergies across a boundary-less ecosystem
- Direction is about the inclusivity of teams in co-creating a purpose, a vision that energizes and engages them
- Business Judgement focuses on navigating efficiently among strategic and operational challenges in exponentially changing markets
- Competitive Edge in an organization is kept alive through relentlessly seeking disruption
- Developing talent focuses on accelerated and just-in-time learning through curated learning and open-sourced programs/massive open online courses
The Global Leadership Forecast 2018 lists 25 findings about the current and future state, context and capability of leadership. The forecast states that HR leaders who should be building a stable foundation for tomorrow’s leaders are actually way behind schedule and in reality, are witnessing a decline in the success of analytic effectiveness. In other words, “the analytics bar is rising faster than HR can leap over it.”
Despite 70 percent of the HR respondents attesting to an increase in their analytics skills and data-driven decision making, the progress and integration aren’t at a pace that can keep up with the contemporary requirements.
The beauty lies in the fact that every leader must abide by the concept of “Pay it Forward” by contributing towards developing this new leader community. The concept of “Leaders as Teachers” is practiced by those who share their knowledge and experiences to others.
Ample opportunity should be provided to practice, fail and learn which enables better growth. Mentoring and Reverse Mentoring concepts should be put into practice to develop a continual learning culture. Organizations may adopt learning and development programs that transform employee perspectives towards creating a pool of leaders very positively attuned to the digitized economy
Creating a positive experience and enabling powerful positive impacts for clients are two underlying principles leadership programs should focus on while being strategically aligned, data-driven and evidence-based. They should contain a blend of learning experiences when developing future digital leaders.