Technology is booming and its impact is reaching far and wide – growing rapidly. One of the most classic examples of the overriding changes caused by the ever growing technology is the actualization of jobs one only reads about in science fiction. Considering the worldwide phenomenon and its impact on technology in its various faces and forms, the leadership development and management style need an upgrade. And they need it fast.
Leadership development is not and hasn’t been for sometime a neglected area of work, inputs or resources in any way especially over the last few years. Millions are spent in this sector alone every year in an effort to continue growth and learning amongst the leaders. So, what, one may ask, is the problem here? The problem lies in the approach. Despite the millions being spent on this very cause, not having the right approach or action plan is what pushes those millions down the drain.
In order to be a successful leader in the digital economy, there are some archaic methodologies that the leaders need to let go of, and simultaneously also adopt a very specific set of researched and developed qualities of a good leader. There are namely six such leadership development skills that are touted as highly effective in the leadership development program.
Following is a brief peek into the six qualities of good leadership in the digital age:
Abolish the mentality of a hierarchy. Indulge in connectivity and connective networks
The system of hierarchy in the corporate world, much like its distant cousin – the monarchy, of politics – is growing outdated and might soon only be found in the deep recessives of the archives of companies’ automated records. A connected network, on the other hand, where all employees are engaged in communication and coordination working as diverse, flexible and cross-functional teams is quickly becoming the ideal. These teams are mission driven and require effective leadership through motivation, innovation and influence as opposed to leadership simply by authority. The only acceptable form of authority now – is empathy.
You might also be interested to read: Changing Responsibilities of Leadership in the Digital Era
Facilitate collective growth, not just personal
An ideal leader is one who leads with empathy. Someone who has an understanding of the dynamics and the workings of a cross-functional team and the impact it will have on the organization. Someone who can be proactive. The successful leader of the digital age is not the one running a one-man show, playing superhero or divine ruler. A leader who displays effective leadership is the one who can be a guide, a source of encouragement, a means of learning and a facilitator of growth.
Empowering, not micromanaging
Effective leadership is about building a work environment of collaboration and initiative taking. A leader should look to empower his team, giving them the freedom and prerogative to make their own decisions, to give their opinions and take risks instead of trying to micromanage and be autocratic.
Innovation beyond simple execution
Leaders, more than overseeing, have to build an environment of innovation. They should have the insight to effectively make use of technologies to their optimum utilization in favor of advancing the company’s growth. They should be able to recognize opportunities, embrace trends and promising ideas and encourage experimentation.
A new mindset
Along with changes in skill sets, leaders of the digital age also require a dose of new and adaptive mindset. It is the mindset that will facilitate the leader to engage in constant learning and growth, and also allow him/her to lead in a way that is open, expansive and innovative. In the face of a crisis, the mindset plays an important role in deciding how the leader reacts, whether he stays strong and stands tall or succumbs to the stress and pressure.
Be a democrat, not an autocrat
As the tide of cross-functional and mission-based team work system has taken over the commercial space, the system of a hierarchy is slowly becoming moot. The cross-functional connective network style has created, at multiple levels and within the team as well, several opportunities of leadership development. This has increased the number of trainees simultaneously undergoing development for effective leadership, spreading out the concentration from being restricted to senior employees to now include all members being prepared for effective leadership.
Six leadership development truths organizations cannot do without in the digital age – Lipi Agrawal – HRKatha