What is Digital Leadership

Lea Böhling

Member of the Product Management & Speaker team

Why

Purpose
The question of why “Digital Leadership” is relevant seems simple and difficult at the same time. Nowadays, the fact that we are in the so-called digital revolution is already chewed over. The idea of Moore’s Law, namely exponential growth in computing power, innovative technologies and disruptive work concepts are here to stay. If a company wants to survive in a world that is fast-paced and constantly changing, traditional leadership concepts need to be
adapted. Why is it that some companies seem to be doing this very well, while other market leaders disappear within a few years?

Examples:

  • Nokia vs. Apple
  • General Electric vs. Apple (Former #1 in S&P500
    compared to Apple nowadays)
  • Toyota vs. Tesla

Digitalised processes, the shift of the workplace into digital spaces, the incentives of ‘New Work’ and the development of new responsibilities are necessary and unstoppable aspects of the digitally transforming corporate world. The core idea is: no industry, no company and no leader can avoid the concept of digital leadership.

How

Digital Leadership
To be able to run a business in a future-orientated and promising way, fundamental structural changes are inevitable. This restructuring must not only take place at the company level but needs to become visible in the management and leadership concepts. The sole acquisition of new technologies and digital mechanisms is not enough.
This digital transformation above all levels brings chances and challenges. In the age of constant change and acceleration in the digital sphere, how do I – as a leader – keep up with the times? When is the right time to invest in new technologies and digital opportunities? What responsibilities exist towards employees?
For this, the development of a Digital Culture and the awareness of Digital Responsibility play a major role in achieving the goal of being a digital leader.

What

Digital Culture
The relocation of the workspace also creates the need for advanced work concepts. “New Work” as a part of Digital Culture, breaks with traditional ways of working and challenges employees as well as employers. The questions of where work takes place and how work takes place are seen from a completely new angle.
Virtual rooms offer many opportunities for different ways of communication. Digital designs like the “Metaverse” are setting new standards in the (working) world. It seems as if temporal and spatial separation are becoming more easily surmountable hurdles.
Beyond that, agile working hours, home office and the so called 4-day-week are no longer purely theoretical considerations. But to what extent should our workspace and private space merge? And can a healthy work-life balance, educational opportunities and cultural offers bind the employee to the company and even lead to increased productivity?

Digital Responsibility
New ways of working also raise the need for adapted responsibilities. The responsibility structures themselves are shifting within the company – the hierarchies are becoming flatter and the individual moves into the focus of interest.
A digital leader is responsible for making sure their employees are doing well. The “human resource” is scarce and in order to attract talents to stay with your company in the long term, incentives and values must be set.
Digital Functionality – The correct handling and implementation of New Work concepts.
Redistributed Responsibility – Due to the new redistribution of responsibilities in companies the individual gets far more autonomy and works more independently. This shift also brings change to management positions.
In addition, responsible handling of digital data and the company’s digital presence also belong to the range of tasks of a digital leader.

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