Has leadership in the digital age changed?

Man standing at the top of hill

Globalisation and the digital age has changed how business leaders lead and manage people. Today we face the mobile revolution that has changed consumer buying patterns and shortens the life-cycle of many products. It has reshaped our perspectives, knowledge and lifestyles.

Do you remember when you were young; the world was your oyster. Everything was exciting and full of possibilities for your future career? If you take a moment to reflect on your career are you happy with what you have achieved thus far? Have you had some great colleagues to work with along the way? Did you respect the managers and leaders that you have reported to and/or had to deal with throughout your career?

Well these are all important question to ask yourself, particularly if you are now in a leadership position.

In life you are a by-product of your environment, therefore it can influence you to excel or be constrained, even slow your thinking and ability.

Globalisation and the digital age has changed how business leaders led and manage people. Today we face the mobile revolution that has changed consumer buying patterns and shortens the life-cycle of many products. It has reshaped our perspectives, knowledge and lifestyles.

Leaders are also faced with yet another new generation entering our workforce that thinks differently to Generation Y and are a lot more resourceful and motivated.

Leaders need to become more agile in their thinking and their actions. Leaders also need to teach, share and inspire thoughts, to inspire and encourage their team members to be the best they can be, regardless of the functionality of the roles they perform in the business. By that I mean it doesn’t matter whether people are process or knowledge workers – all employees need to be encouraged towards peak performance.

The power of words and actions cannot be underestimated. They have started revolutions, wars and created iconic organisations like Microsoft and Apple. Leaders and their team members must have a shared vision.

Seth Godin, in his book Tribes, mentions that you can find tribes of people everywhere, congregating around compelling ideas and causes. However, what is often missing are leaders. True leaders have the courage to step into the limelight and influence, even if it may not be a popular course of action to take at the time. They are not interested in being popular; they are interested in getting the job done as swiftly and cost effectively as possible.

The Digital Age has made it easier to motivate, engage and initiate new direction in business through people. The internet has opened up new horizons for communication, distribution channels and knowledge. Knowledge is no longer power as it is accessible to all of us. ‘Power’ in the digital age is all about influence. Social media is all about having the courage to use your voice to influence other people. Most people are happy to sit on the sideline, rather than being in the thick of the game.

If we can see the good in our team member, invest in their strengths, then extraordinary things can happen. Everyone is capable of being original, inspiring, connected and generous in their commitment to worthy causes. As leaders, it is up to us to show our team that the work they do every day contributes to a worthwhile cause – they make a difference in the organisation.

The power of connection and mutual trust are a differentiator in business. ‘Who trusts you? Who wants to hear from you? Who will collaborate and support and engage with you?’…are all key questions Godin suggests in the connection economy. The more connected we are, the more successful we will become. Connection, leadership and trust are going to get ever more valuable in the digital economy.

If you have the chance to select the people you work with, then surround yourself with ‘can do’ people regardless of whether they have the skillset to do the job or not. A positive attitude can be contagious and almost unstoppable, which means people who think this way can learn the skills required to do most jobs. Remember the old saying ‘where there is a will there is a way‘.

Ask yourself…”Would you want to report to you?”  If not then why not?

So how influential is your leadership style in this digital age? Not influential enough? Then when are you going to start creating a new you and a more engaging way to lead and manage?

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