Career Trends: Rethinking Leadership in the Digital Age

4 min read

Edition: September 17th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Businesses need to establish a stable, recognisable brand with a sharp and clearly communicated vision. (Image Credit: Shutterstock)
  • Excerpts from article by Amir Sohrabi, published on

Never before there’s been a time in history when new business players, competitors and market leaders appeared as rapidly as they do today. The driving force behind this is the dramatic progress enabled by digitalisation.

This has numerous implications for leadership in the digital age.

Simply making decisions faster to keep up with the rapid pace of business life and innovation will not be enough. Today’s business leaders need to focus on a clear vision, engagement, humility, and fostering growth in their teams.

At its heart, the accelerating force of digitisation affects communication, access to information, and data analysis, but this triggers a whole cascade of consequences.

Digitisation has sped up the go-to-market of new products and services, ultimately creating a dynamic competitive landscape where situations can change in a flash.

In all of this, there is one fundamental strategic conflict: on the one hand, businesses need a to establish a stable, recognisable brand with a sharp and clearly communicated vision, on the other hand, they are constantly challenged to adapt to the rapidly-changing circumstances, technologies, and market conditions.

This has intensified the demand for competent leadership prepared to meet the new challenges of the digital world.

Leaders need to re-think their leadership style by focusing on the following:

1. Vision 

  • A clear vision has always been a must-have in business, but it has never been exposed to more stress from outside forces than today.
  • Leaders must constantly look for new challenges, prepared to adjust their course flexibly, sometimes at a moment’s notice, without ever losing sight of their direction and ultimate goal.
  • This also includes leveraging all tools and channels of communication that are available today to drive vision, and communicate it to employees, partners, and customers.
  • Always having an open eye for the enormous impact digital transformation has on businesses and society in general.

2. Growth mindset 

  • In today’s complex world, being successful is very much a team effort.
  • Leaders need to switch from a control mindset to a growth mindset, and have a passion for developing and empowering people around them to achieve their goals, both as a team and individually.
  • Focus on the enablement and empowerment of your team to work and grow in a self-reliant way, reducing the impact of geographic, cultural, and language barriers. New technologies are a big help in this.

3. Engagement

  • To strengthen their growth mindset, leaders need to continuously engage with their team members.
  • They need to identify the high potentials, be open to new ideas, and make sure that these ideas are quickly implemented.
  • At the same time, leaders always need to have an open eye for the concerns and shifting dynamics of their teams.
  • While it always helps to be a good speaker, most of all, team leaders need to be good listeners– especially in diverse teams.
  • A high level of diversity means that at times, there will be hugely differing points of view and a need for discussion.
  • But listening to a wide spectrum of viewpoints and bringing them all together is a highly productive way for finding better and more innovative solutions.

4. Humility

  • Today’s leaders must be more humble than previous generations.
  • Knowledge and experience tend to age rapidly today.
  • Leaders must be open to feedback, suggestions, and initiative from the people they interact with – team members, customers or partners.
  • In an increasingly complex environment, no one could possibly know everything that is relevant in each situation.
  • Accepting that others may know better is an important step in taking decisions that ensure long-term success.

5. Technological soundness

  • To succeed in the digital era, a balance between technological progress and people-centric leadership is essential.
  • Technology is a key business driver in today’s world, helping us to work and communicate efficiently, but it needs to be combined with an open-minded company culture, transparent communication, and joint values.
  • Only then, teams can unlock their full potential, being productive and supporting their businesses in keeping up with the rapid pace of development and innovation in the digital era.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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