Thursday, October 16, 2014

Three Insight of Digital Leadership Effectiveness

Businesses don’t fail… leadership fails businesses.

The history of human leadership is primarily command and control, in some form or another, and traces back to Neapolitan that gave us the Hierarchical Organizational structure. This worked just fine until the last few years where the nature of digitalization such as volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity has hit a critical stage. Such the “VUCA” characteristic has created workplace challenges that are unique. The pace of change for organizations is overwhelming. In such a new normal, Leadership ineffectiveness is becoming the failure of most businesses or even projects or initiatives within a business. So what’re the essentials of digital leadership and how to improve leadership effectiveness?

Substance over style: At industrial silo, leaders thought their leadership quality can be proved by some static credential; or their leadership legacy can be defined by a few spotlight moments; however, digital flow is all about consistency and transparency, the substance, not just-style. The leadership substance includes, but not limited to authenticity, character, vision, creativity, empathy, humility and wisdom. It is imperative that leadership effectiveness manifest respect, caring, trust-building and cognizance to be able to reach the leadership profundity. There’s the very reason why leadership is ineffective because many times you don't understand the people you are leading and what they are in need of to be successful. You tend (not intentional) to lead in a one-size-fits-all format, but digital world is diversified, divergent and dynamic, some of the persons you lead maybe ok under a transactional management where to do their job (well) in exchange for pay, while majority of talent shall unleash their potential and reach their success level through the transformational leadership. That is not easy to know what inspires and motivates those around you if you don't have some insight into their world outside the workplace. If these personal tidbits are found in an organic, authentic manner over time - mostly by listening more than and speaking less - you can see your team more humanly and perceive leadership more profoundly.

Growth mindset & Execution CapabilityDigitalization means change, consistent flow, continuous improvement, and persistent pursuit. Leaders need to learn, delearn and relearn all the time. With accelerated speed of changes, leadership effectiveness is based on leader’s influence, not just title; vision, not just communication, adaptability not just controlling, insight, not just knowledge; with the capability to execute and avoid the following leadership pitfalls:
(1) Failure to walk the talk - saying one thing and doing another causes a lack of trust in leadership;
(2) Failure to be decisive - the organization soon gets stuck waiting for leadership to decide and move out;
(3) Failure to connect emotionally with the people in the organization - your "followership" need to feel that you understand their concerns, particularly in tough times; and
(4) Failure to continuous learning - leaders need to admit they don't know everything and be open to learn & relearn.

The right dose of charisma, no more, no lessThe charisma may often refer to the leader’s personality or style, Western culture has a bias toward charisma as a leadership trait; while the oriental cultures are biased against it. So it's not that you have to try to be less of this or more of that. You should only be aware of such biases. Otherwise, you won't be able to define and recognize authentic leadership. It is nice to have the right dose of charisma or unique style if it can enhance your leadership effectiveness, complement your leadership substance, highlight your leadership uniqueness or amplify your leadership influence.

This is national Boss Day, an effective leader may not have the joy of being bossing, but be passionate to advocate leadership effectiveness; enjoy persuading the cognitive difference and make positive leadership influence. There’s no one size fitting all formula to be a great leader, but there is a common core value in leadership, be open to discovering leadership essential and be disciplined to practice leadership effectiveness.


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