As the world has evolved to the current digital age from 1970s by the introduction of personal computers, everything has changed. Be it education or communication or transport or trade, as all these have transformed drastically, there is one more important aspect that needs a change as well, which is leadership. Leadership qualities that prevailed before the introduction of the digital age cannot be put into practice now. If those are still going to be followed, the results will not be quite good.
To become a leader, a person must be extremely good in all aspects. In case of leading a company or a nation, a leader must know to think quickly and come up with ideas in a fraction of a second and tackle the situation. Time management is a key element for every leader. If this quality lacks, he cannot last as a leader for a long period.
From our schooling, the word "Leader" has played a major role. Only those who excel in both academics and extra-curricular activities are being selected as the leaders or the representatives. At those times, many around you will be "what is the big deal in being the class leader?" Well, it is a big deal for that tiny one to be selected from all the other kids of the same age. Later, it will be those kids who will become the Student Pupil Leader (SPL), House captains, Club leaders etc. in high school. Again, when they go to college, it will be them who become the Student Council President and Members.
All these positions will make that child grow more and more with full interest. That student will know how to manage his time fully and effectively. He will know how to handle most situations and give solutions to problems that arise. Most importantly, he will not be a selfish person, but instead be someone who listens and helps other people around him to focus and go in the right way.
Problems faced by leaders due to the change of digital age are discussed below.
Leading Different Generations:
Leaders of this age have difficulty in managing and balancing people belonging to different age groups with completely different mindset. The older generation is new to digitalisation, and the majority of them are not ready to accept and change accordingly. Our next generation will be so advanced and well versed in digitalisation. Here, it will be hard for the leader to bring both the communities together and make them work for effective results. Being leaders of various companies or political parties, they must bring the team to work together at a good pace for better results. Leading becomes quite difficult as leaders have to lead older people as well, which sometimes might be an inconvenience to both the people.
Leading in Disruptive Environments:
In a digital age, methods of leading from yesterday cannot be put into practice today, as the world keeps changing. If the leaders do not adapt to the occurring changes, their business too cannot be carried out smoothly. Digital age gives birth to new technologies. These give rise to the birth of new companies and new models that chuck out the old and prevailing ones. The leader in the digital age must understand the continuous changing world and make good innovations to support those changes, which is the only way to run the business in the profit-making path.
One of the challenges that leaders face in the digital age is very much related to humans. Leaders need to motivate the team members and bring them together. Though technology can connect teams, there are barriers to maintain real and personal relationships with others. A leader in this digital age must lead with absolute transparency and with strategies in order to overcome the technological barriers, thus, helping them to connect with the team members effectively.
Keeping up with Change:
As mentioned earlier, in this digital age what happened yesterday will not happen today, which means that the same methods of planning, executing and leading cannot be used the next day because we need to evolve with time. If used in spite of that, the business is not going to grow. The future leaders being transformational leaders must be an inspiration that anyone and everyone look up to. Along with the changes, he must also change himself and his team to bring out effective results in his company.
Even though there are many obstacles in this digital age, it will be much easier than the old age when once the pattern is learned; no longer will those be known as obstacles. Through this, both the leaders and the team members will gain a lot of knowledge and exposure which will surely benefit them in either way.
Change is the Role of Leadership:
Ever since the second industrial revolution, today's corporate world is facing a lot of new change. This change is reflected in how the business is conducted, how the organisations are being managed and how the consumers behave. Moreover, nowadays it is not essential or enough for the leader to be overpowered and whatever, he must be able to bring together his networks such as team members. He must motivate and manage the members if good and smooth running of the business is needed.
The success of a leader does not just depend on how well and excellent he is as an individual but how good he is in a team and how the functioning of that team is. Continuous improvement within the leader himself and the team is required in this digital age for a good economy. “Knowledge is power” so the more the knowledge the leader has, the better the team and business be. Leaders resemble a wine very much where some become a great wine while some turn into just vinegar.
Similarly, all the other team members must also take up some of the leader's responsibilities and possess the qualities that of a leader, only then can the business run smoothly and effectively even in the absence of the leader.
Change leadership styles:
The olden leadership where the leaders order commands and control can no longer be practised if effective results in business are required. Here are some of the points listed below to change the leadership system applicable for this digital age. The leadership styles should be more—
Focusing mainly on the users or consumers as they decide whether or not the business can go well.
Here, ‘collaborative’ does not mean merging with other companies, but having a good relationship with the team members were communication can be done freely without any hierarchy among the members.
Innovative working methods:
The methods of working should not be just focused on one line. Several lines of working in different ways must be considered and implemented by experimentation and risk-bearing.
Great leaders adapt to changing concepts instead of just blindly following the long-term plans.
Benefits of the Digital Age—
The leader can know about him and learn the limits to which extent he can go. He can mould himself and become more aware.
The leader can discover what type of workspace will be needed for the team to work effectively and produce the best results.
Along with the leader, the team members too become better in working, which gives way in creating the best and skilled team who can do any work perfectly.
Leaders in digital life are designed for:
- Existing professionals who grow wiser about their work and intend to bring together all the team members and make the team the best possible.
- Emerging leaders who can adapt to changes according to the demands of the managers and form collaborations.
Guidelines for Digital Age Leadership—
Requires new formation of the firm's mission:
The change itself will be a threat to the company's existence, meaning that the primary objectives cannot involve moving towards their old mission. Hence, the mission must be changed for the method and work to be changed.
A higher level of collaboration is needed:
Here, collaboration does not mean just working with several other firms, but effective working within the team by first breaking all barriers of communication. This will allow the team to become more competent, which will result in higher productivity
Decision making is data-driven:
In a digital age, decisions can be made only by reviewing the data as then just a precise estimation of what to do and what not to do will be discovered. As in olden days, decisions cannot be made by mere predictions as these predictions cannot be trusted.
Hence, being a great leader even at digital age means that he is indeed an exceptional one. A lot of changes are required for the leaders to be able to lead the whole team that solely depend on him. Rock the world in the digital age as future leaders!