What influence does digital (R)evolution have on leadership? The subject of an article at the Hannover Messe was the influence of this very change. As the invitation text states: Experience shows that companies are both innovative and tradition-conscious. In many areas, these companies are not technological first movers, but are cautiously eyeing some trends and developments. In the context of digitalization, it is important to find a balance between the innovation required and the desired tradition. Customers, companies, management and their own role are affected. This article is intended to focus on the topic of digital leadership – how does this change our cooperation? – be concentrated.
Challenge: Leadership in the Digital Age
Flat hierarchy, new ways of working, dealing with opinion leaders in organizations… The new challenges for executives are manifold. These are shown in a little more detail in the illustration. It turns out that people in networks need to work together and leaders need to control them. Control in the form of knowledge building: individual knowledge should become collective knowledge. The well-known hierarchy becomes unbureaucratic and flat hierarchies. As a result, experts and opinion leaders take over the influence in the organization and new ways of working like Scrum and Co. are tried out. The biggest challenge for me, however, is the speed of digital transformation. I already notice it when blogging: Every day new topics, knowledge and questions come to light, which can be edited. The speed is enormous and the first voices are loud: it changes faster than we can change.
Promoting digital awareness
“Decision-makers need to make digitization part of their DNA. Companies and their employees should think and act digitally at all levels,” says the consulting firm Accenture. Executives are therefore primarily supposed to promote digital awareness and identify pioneers in the company. Together with these pioneers, they then “get on pace” and ensure lasting commitment through constant testing. Success factor is a new management behavior that distributes collective responsibility. But what exactly is this and how do digital executives’ responsibilities change?
6 tasks for digital leadership
The central question in this scenario is: What does digital leadership do? What are the tasks of the latter? According to the Study by Capgemini, these are 6 central points, which are shown in the figure. In summary, leadership advances, recognizes, provides guidance, but still encourages cooperation. I particularly like the fact that everything takes place within the organisational framework. This is a scenario that has always been forgotten, because we all have these frameworks. We have to try to get the best out of ourselves in this context. However, what is currently being questioned in research is that these frameworks are not perhaps a little too narrow? However, this is shown in my articles on digital leadership and the Agility Interviews theme.
7 Tips: Leadership in the Digital Age
Leadership in the digital age thus leads to new challenges and a new description of leadership. These points have already been clarified in the article in the first approaches. But one question remains unanswered, especially for the practitioner: And how is this possible now? I have read various articles and derived 7 tips from them. Of course, these are not complete but certainly a first step.
- Make you aware of the role of Digital Leader: The first step should be to familiarize each manager with the digital transformation. What does this trend actually mean and how can it be applied in my companies? It must be clear that there is no clear definition of this trend. The key question is: What does it mean in the context of my business? Help is available in the article: What is the digital transformation?
- Design a digital strategy and define goals: Once you have a clear picture, it is important to develop a targeted Digital Leader strategy. Direct cooperation with your employees is important here. More on this can be found in the article on the digital strategy.
- Creating a clear framework: now it’s time to get to work – cooperation. This does not have to be regulated, but not linked to strict directives. A modern manager sets frame controls for the employee. Read more in the article on agile leadership.
- Expanding digital literacy: After an executive has become aware of how the digital transformation is having a strategic impact on the company, the company should also participate operationally. Regular workshops on digital transformation topics and the introduction of support tools are important to create a digital culture. Read more at digital Culture.
- Promote content and image digitally: When the work is on and you have arrived in the processes, then the collaboration must be used as a loyal, vigilant network. Now it is important to bring this knowledge onto the streets and use it as a flagship (keyword content marketing). Many attentive minds can help here. But give your employees room for your own ideas and contributions. Read more about this in the article on agile marketing.
- Establishing role models
Successful leaders in the digital age are transforming companies, living up to openness and being agile. Role models who exemplify these attributes in their leadership role are perceived as digital role models. Role models can also be other employees in the team, who use new tools directly for profit, for example. Read more about digital leadership.
- Establishing Pioneerspirit: Mistakes happen in a change. They are human. “Mistakes are avoided by gaining experience. Experience is gained by making mistakes.” (Laurence Johnston Peter). In our society, it is often the case that mistakes are negative. It starts at school. Mistakes are “bad” and are punished, flawlessness is rewarded. This is no longer possible in the digital transformation. Due to high complexity, we are forced to try out and allow mistakes to explore new things. Read more about leading digitalhere .
Overall, the demands on executives in a digital world have changed. The different generations (from baby boomers to generation Z) must be formed into a team and “digitally led”. So there needs to be a rethink in the minds of digital managers. According to these studies, managers are required as role models and companions.
However, it is clear that this digital leadership should not be underestimated. Companies that understand that their own digital transformation depends on the people in the company and invest in it will have it easier in the future. So leading experts believe that agility and innovation should become part of the DNA of every company. With the help of the seven tips, one step in this direction can certainly be taken. Because the adventure of digitization is just getting started!Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.
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