What makes a great leader in the digital world?

Handling the rapid pace and increased cognitive demands of an “always on” business brings with it a wealth of challenges. To thrive in the digital world, organisational leaders need a diverse set of attributes.

Core leadership behaviours

Non-negotiable are the core behavioural requirements of successful leaders. These include:

  • Ability to be future-focused and plan for the long term, as well as deal with day-to-day business demands
  • Openness to new ideas
  • Effective networking
  • Capacity to make firm and timely decisions
  • Communicating in a way that impacts, influences, and gets their message across
  • Taking their people with them, by ensuring they buy into the organisation’s vision.

When exercising those leadership muscles, the key difference in the digital world is the impact of size, scale and speed.

The ‘digital leadership traits’ critical for success leading in this environment

  • Humility and awareness of the benefits of learning from more junior employees who are digital natives
  • Courage to take calculated risks
  • Alertness to the commercial, operational and strategic benefits that digital enablement brings
  • Creating an organizational culture that celebrates innovation and creativity
  • Making sense of data from a range of sources and using it to tell compelling stories
  • Embracing the benefits of a truly diverse employee pool.

As a result, there’s a shift in the cognitive requirements for leadership. Digital leaders must have the ability to:

  • Absorb and understand information quickly
  • Learn at pace
  • Connect ideas, people, and opportunities seamlessly.

Essentially, leaders who truly ride the digital wave have to be motivated to continually learn about and embrace new digital enablements and opportunities, adapting as they go.

Leave a Comment