10 brilliant qualities of successful digital leaders
We are heading towards a world driven by artificial intelligence, machines & technology. Make no mistake about it. The digital revolution has changed the way businesses, societies and humans operate in their day to day lives.
But, the digital world is demanding. It doesn’t respect what you did yesterday unless it provides value today. It demands constant evolution, reinvention, and innovation to excel. It needs highly effective leadership to steer through these times and transitions.
Leaders in the digital world need to be agile, open-minded, & collaborative to navigate the challenges. And seize the opportunities for achieving global scale and success. Here we explore attributes that make highly effective leaders in the digital world!
1. Empower People
The greatest leaders genuinely believe in the well being of their team members and people working with them. They rise up the ladder because they empower people and create a synergy effect where the sum total of efforts helps everyone in the team accomplish more.
The job of a leader is not merely to direct, but to grow and empower people where they can rise to their best. Great leaders build empathy and sensitivity to the needs of their people. They are persistent in the pursuit of improvement themselves and everyone in their team.
2. Foresight and Focus
Today most organisations are driven by digital technologies. The technologies are also disrupting old businesses and bringing new evolutions. A leader in the digital age needs to stay focused amidst the rapidly changing landscape.
When there are too many choices, the probability of choosing the wrong ones is high. The best leaders are able to make the right bets. They have the foresight to understand what the future will hold for them. They are quick, adaptive but focused on the core objectives they want to achieve.
These leaders have the ability to visualise the future with clarity and chart their journey from their present.
3. Global Outlook
The digital world is interconnected and bereft of barriers that curtail opportunities. Today it is relatively easier to build things with all the help available readily whenever you want. It is a crowded world. Everyone is looking for their share of attention.
So, how do you differentiate yourself? Great leaders aspire to be the best. They are satisfied with nothing less than the best. They inspire their teams to work with an attitude of building things that are second to none. They attract opportunities by building things that people love.
Companies like Google, Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and Amazon have all been driven by great leadership, especially relevant in the digital age. It has resulted in enormous growth, scalability and unprecedented success for these companies.
4. Building strong relationships & trust
A Harvard Business Review survey reveals 58 percent of people say they trust strangers more than their own boss. It’s shocking but true. It is important for leaders to come out of their shell and engage more with their teams.
The culture of trust is built, when you allow your teams to make mistakes and let them learn from it. You embrace their faults as well as their strengths. It is not a zero-sum game; infact you only win when your team wins.
Great leaders are able to establish trust because they are authentic themselves. They communicate, operate with transparency and never mislead their people. You build trust by being trustworthy yourself.
5. Accomplishments, not just activity
In the digital age, spending time on your computer, getting busy doing nothing is quite common. Even the best ones are led into the trap of mistaking activity for progress. The most effective leaders are able to draw the line between activity and results.
These leaders are able to set benchmarks that result in progress oriented work for their teams and themselves. They understand the value of time, prioritise stuff and get things done. They benchmark their progress with the right metrics to achieve the key result areas. The never digress from the core.
6. Develop more leaders
A great leader develops more leaders at all levels. The reason it becomes more relevant in the digital world is that decisions need to be taken at all levels. It is no longer the top-down approach. For many decisions and actions, the top leaders depend on advice from those working down the ladder.
People who are at the bottom of the ladder working on actual problems should be empowered to take their own decisions. As a leader, you have to trust their knowledge and guide them to acquire more skills.
The best leaders are open to new ideas and approaches. They can change their opinion to do what is in the best interest of the team.
7. Self-organise, learn and grow
When opportunities are limitless, it is important to identify key focus areas beyond the hype, noise and fads. The best leaders have a knack for picking the right technology trends that help them in their quest for sustainable success over a period of time.
They are able to build teams that are able to self-organise, learn and grow together. The knowledge base keeps evolving in the digital world. So, it is indispensable to keep yourself updated.
8. View failures as experiments
The best leaders view failures as experimentation to learn and get things right. It takes time to get things right when you are innovating. They give space to people to fail, experiment and ultimately build incredible things. The key is to constantly improve and keep learning in the process.
Leadership is often tested during failures. The digital world needs constant evolution, innovation and reimagining new business models. It requires iterations and experiments to make things work.
Even the best and most innovative companies fail in their experiments, but they channelize learnings from these failures to build better solutions. The best leaders encourage their teams to experiment, improve, evolve and build incredible things as a result of this.
9. Unflinching faith and commitment
What separates great leaders from ordinary ones? It is often the courage, conviction and the unflinching faith in their mission. It is the commitment and drives towards making something happen. They give it everything.
It is this strong conviction and ability to bear the pain for the common good that makes them great leaders. They are driven by a higher purpose and they are ready to sacrifice things to achieve it. They think long term.
The digital age is one of convenience and comfort. It is way too easy to give up on things and settle for less than you are capable of. But, great leaders set their standards high. They are never ready to compromise on their vision, purpose, and dreams. They don’t give up until they’re done.
9. Unflinching faith and commitment
A lousy leader cannot motivate people. When you’re energetic and raring to go, the team picks up the cues. The highly effective leaders prioritise their health, they exercise and stay fit. It helps them add more time to their day and also makes them more productive.
The leadership role demands intense concentration, high energy and ability to handle stress for long periods of time.
The truly remarkable leaders excel in emotional, intellectual, physical and mental levels. The best leaders like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, & Richard Branson etc. work out to stay fit. They devote time to stay at their peak.
The digital world is an age of communication, transparency, and empowerment. Leaders in business today are influencing relationships with other countries. Trade is shattering boundaries between nations and creating a level playing field promoting globalism. The digital leaders are writing the rules of the game, reshaping our world, and its future.