The world as we see today has witnessed a major shift towards the digital age and the organisations have emphasised more on digital transformation to keep pace with the changes all around. Digital transformation can be disorienting and can create panic but if the leaders are confident about the changes and how it will benefit everyone then adaptation becomes easy.
Leaders like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, have embraced the digital change and adapted to it very swiftly with their good leadership skills which have made them stand out leaders. With the advent of technology, they have upgraded their skills that go hand in hand with the changes necessary.
What exactly are these digital age leadership traits that set them apart from the rest?
But before we delve in the skills that will make you a standout leader, let us look at the traits that a good leader possesses.
1) A good leader never stops learning
According to a survey of 3,100 executives worldwide conducted by Oxford Economics for the SAP Centre for Business Insight, 96% said digital transformation is their primary business goal, and 56% have seen their organisational structure change as a result of digital transformation.
Companies around the world are experimenting and innovating every day, with new ideas and methods that could disrupt your industry at any time. Therefore, leaders need to consistently learn new skills and experiment with new tools to meet the needs of the constantly evolving market.
To adapt to the change in working styles, our ways of learning need to change as well. One of the biggest assets for leaders is the ability to unlearn old methods that have become irrelevant or counterproductive and incorporate new practices in their management and leadership styles. One way to become more open and receptive to lifelong learning is to consider yourself a work in progress at every stage of life. You need to be willing to add to or adjust some of your ideas and beliefs in line with the requirements of the day.
A good place to start is by listening. In the journey of lifelong learning, listening to your employees and customers is one of the best practices you can start today.
2) A good leader builds trust
According to a survey by PwC, 58% of CEOs expressed concern that a lack of trust within their organisation is hindering business growth. 69% said they find it more difficult to earn and maintain people’s trust in the digital age. Trust is one of the most important aspects of business and leadership, but it is most often underrated. Most of the time, we hear about the need for technology and traits such as intelligence, agility and vision, but we don’t hear leaders sharing the importance of trust as much.
Trust cannot be built overnight. You cannot earn the trust of your employees or customers with one great offer or by providing excellent service for one day. You can earn trust only by doing the right thing over and over again until you’ve convinced the other person that all the good things you do externally come from the core values that you believe in internally.
3) A good leader value the human touch
One of the most essential requirements of the digital age is understanding how humans and technology work together. The problem with digital transformation is that many organisations begin with technology, rather than people. The primary purpose of technology is to make lives easier for humans — both workers and consumers.
One way of maintaining the human touch is through communication. Preferably, this communication should be based on empathy and emotional intelligence rather than business logic or statistics. Good communication skills will make you more accessible and approachable to your employees and customers. It will open doors for your team to clear up doubts and share their sincere concerns with you.
Technology is good for repetitive and bulk tasks, as it reduces time and resource utilisation. However, when it comes to leadership and management, humans need empathy. This is something technology cannot do for you.
In short, one way to have a competitive advantage in this digital race is to put the human experience at the core of your business, with your employees and customers.
It is not easy to develop any skills or traits overnight. Patience, hard work, communication skills and perseverance are the keys here. Just give yourself some time to process the changes going around you. Learn from it, explore and embrace the unending possibilities that you will get as a leader.
You will be able to provide opportunities for your employees with these furnished skills and prepare them. Prepare them well for the upcoming future that holds limitless openings to grow.
If you would like to develop your skills as a leader in the digital age, check out our short courses on digital leadership to give you the boost you need:
- Digital-Age Management for Innovation and Agility
- Executive Certificate in Digital Business Strategy & Leadership