How Leaders Can Be More Successful In The Digital Age: Five Tips.

As the economy evolves more in digitalisation, competition, and with a workforce that increases in diversity and demand, more is required from leaders than what they currently offer. The need for change is urgent, and time is running out for leaders who are holding on to old ways of working and leading. 


In Spring 2019, MIT Sloan Management Review and Cognizant surveyed 4,394 global leaders, conducted 27 executive interviews, and facilitated focus-group exchanges with next-gen emerging leaders worldwide to explore what the future of work portends for the future of leadership. These were some of the key findings from the research;


  • Just 12% of respondents strongly agree that their leaders have the right mindsets to lead them forward.

  • Only 40% agree that their companies are building robust leadership pipelines to tackle the demands of the digital economy.

  • Only 48% agree that their organisations are prepared to compete in digitally driven markets and economies.

  • While 82% believe that leaders in the new economy will need to be digitally savvy, less than 10% of respondents strongly agree that their organisations have leaders with the right skills to thrive in the digital economy.

  • While 71% of survey respondents agree or strongly agree that they feel prepared to lead in the digital economy, fewer report that they are effective at activities that demonstrate digital savviness. 

In summary, most respondents are not confident in their leaders ability to lead their organisation into the future of a digital economy. Although most leaders believe that they are digital savvy, very little can prove that they are effective at activities that demonstrate digital savviness.

So the question is …..what can leaders do to position themselves for success in the digital economy?

Here are my 5 tips.


5 LEADERSHIP TIPS FOR DIGITAL SUCCESS


1. BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO EMBRACE CHANGE

In this digital era of evolving and new technology, the speed of change can happen so quickly that sometimes leaders need to make decisions even though they do not have all the information they want. Stay on top of developing trends and be willing to listen to your team because they might be able to help you understand the integration and application of new technology to your business. Also, think about the types of diversity within your team and if it can help advance the organisation in this digital era.


2. INVEST IN YOUR PURPOSE


People tend to pursue a higher purpose than just growing revenue for their shareholders. Leaders need to invest more into the cause and service that they render to the community especially when people are caring more about ‘why you sell’ rather than ‘what you sell’. This perspective allows you to stay customer or people focused because the cause should be primarily about benefiting others. You will discover that your staff will become more engaged and motivated because of a common cause or purpose that gives them a sense of responsibility or calling to fulfil. As staff continue down this path, you will find that many of them will come forward with ideas (like integrating new technology) to help further the cause of the organisation.


3. BE CURIOUS AND GIVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS PERMISSION TO FAIL


Be the type of leader who is curious and willing to try new things. It’s about giving yourself and your team permission to experiment, fail and try again, until they have achieved or learned something of value. So this means you need to trust yourself and especially your team to eventually find a solution, or even better, gain better insight for making a decision. When staff feel like you have their back and are supportive of a platform that enables them to use their talents to collaborate, innovate and solve a problem then you will be positioning your people to succeed and grow the organisation.


4. BUILD NETWORKS AND PARTNERSHIPS


It is important to build internal and external relationships with diverse stakeholders because it enables access to the different types of perspectives and skills for solving a problem. As a leader, you not only have to be good at building relationships and partnerships with others but be able to bring that diversity together to co-create a solution. If leaders do not master collaborative relationships, both inside and outside the company, then it can limit the production of better outcomes for winning new business.


5. LOOK IN THE MIRROR


It’s important to understand what types of behaviours within the organisation (including yours) that are impacting the culture and business outcomes. Beyond adopting the right behaviour, this is also about adopting the right mindset and values that align with achieving your vision.


In summary, as the economy evolves more in digitalisation, competition, and with a workforce that increases in diversity and demand, leaders need be better at embracing change, investing in their purpose, becoming more curious, building relationships with internal and external stakeholders, and adopting the right mindset to position themselves for success in a digital economy.

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