Seven Core Principles of Digital Leadership
The business world is in the face with such new normal of digitalization, urbanization, and globalization, with the characteristics of VUCA-Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, so what are the core leadership principles to fit in such digital era?
- Authenticity: At the age of digitalization, ‘being who you really are as a leader’ is more critical than ever, as your digital footprint is omnipresent, the working life is converging with personal life. You have to be real and true to yourself and others. This will translate and distill into believability throughout your entire organization. You will be seen as a person / leader who can be trusted not just by your employees but also by your customers / clients.
- Influence: Leadership is Influence. At digital age, leaders can make and amplify influence through multiple digital channels, you not only consume the content, as a leader, you also create content to convey the vision and leadership. To “influence” means to be able to help shape other people’s views or opinions towards one’s own views or perspectives. The leader’s influence is based on the courage to inspire, confidence to assert, wisdom to negotiate, and uniqueness to bridge via taking advantage of expanded digital platforms.
- Empathy: Empathy is the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person’s feelings; or the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. Technology makes the world much smaller than ever, we are all net citizen and C (connecting) generation now, it’s the leadership trait in developing the true understanding based upon related interaction with others. It’s the leadership capacity to be non-judgmental; the capacity to appreciate and communicate with respect for other people’s ways; the capacity to be flexible with tolerance for ambiguity.
- Agility: The most critical characteristic of the digital age is the speed of CHANGE. Effective leaders should have the ability to adapt to changes, and adaptive leaders will inspire crowd sourcing and crowd storming, and adaptive leadership teams comprising a diverse range of individuals with the cognitive difference will be able to draw on a wider set of experiences in order to inform their decision making. It’s meritocracy at its best – a highly diverse set of people collaborate seamlessly to represents nature of how successful organizations work today.
- Insight: Due to the complexity and ambiguity of digital normal, INSIGHT is not ‘nice to have’, but ‘must have’ leadership trait, as insight is based on information, knowledge, and multi-dimensional intelligence, thus, an insightful leader has better perception to be a good communicator upon thinking deeper, rather than just speaking louder. upon knowing when to voice out, when to keep silent, think deeper before speak louder; use fewer words to express more; master of crowd-sourcing and enjoying collective wisdom, with practical ability to convince the value and gain support.
- Balance: Both mankind world and nature world are so dynamic with the balance of energy. Balance is more crucial at digital era due to the interdependence and hyper-connectivity of the business value chain and ecosystem. Balance is the best strategy to engage, yield, redirect, and embrace the interaction of two complementary and opposing forces-yin and yang, leaders need to cultivate the culture of balance –the collective mindset about how they do things here and balance the diversified viewpoints, creativity, and discipline; the team’s collective capabilities upon which strength and skills available, and balance of the long-term strategic goals with short-term tactical tasks.
- Maturity: Maturity is one of the essential ingredients of leadership. By using this word, it often means to be open minded, taking personal responsibility and not blaming others. having the ability to remove emotion from your decision making, so that you can see things from an alternate perspective. Maturity is one part of higher Emotional Intelligence for an effective leader but is not necessarily equal to emotional intelligence. High mature leadership takes discipline, determination, and perseverance
Digitalization and the latest technology trends promote self-organizing teams and creative working environment, however, it doesn’t mean leadership is out of fashion, on the opposite, it takes better leadership vision and stronger management discipline to thrive at today’s business dynamic.