Saturday, March 14, 2015

Digital Master Tuning #58: The Digital Leadership Brainstorming

The future of leadership will answer less, but ask more; less commanding, more engaging; less controlling, more flexible; less bureaucratic, more creative.

Leadership is about future, what’s the future of leadership? Leaders are the people with influence, what does the big influence come from? The backbone-character, the fresh ideas, the recombinated capabilities, the influential skills or the in-depth technical knowledge? There’re still many questions tangled around the future of leadership, but there are even more collective insights on how to grow the digital masters and future of leaders.   

The leadership character is like a raw diamond, part nature, part nurtured, Building character can't be achieved in the classroom. It can be sharpened with coaching guidance from mentors and coaches. It's not good enough to talk over, but it must be lived through. Many factors contribute to what leads to successful. Every situation differs with variable elements - resources and limitations at play. However, universal principles and values are part of leadership character, not just personality. The consistency of a leader’s behavior, in terms of his/her being, decision and action are all important in inspiring followers. With consistency follows admiration and respect. One can be born with the propensity to learn those easier than others, but what is important is many skills can be learned. It comes down to a person who has mastered the art and science side of leading a group or groups of people towards a common goal upon their own free will. The art side is having the subjective skills like the good character, innate strength, integrity, and dependability to name few. The science side is having the technical skills or T shape expertise required for a certain discipline or the specific domain. The trick is to apply those in practice in a genuine way to build up the trust of the group and inspire them to follow you towards the achievement of the common goal or mission. During this whole process, you will build other leaders.

The business culture plays a big role in who gets to be identified and given the role of leader. What criteria defines the leaders in any given corporate culture is important. In some corporations, leaders are selected based on criteria that may not rate skills/abilities such as creativity, learning agility or cognitive difference as the premium factor for selection. However, in order to manage today’s over-complex and ambiguous business dynamic, the cookie cutter standard or static credential is not sufficient to groom the future of leaders, the leaders’ effectiveness is more based on the gaps they can mind or the influence they can make for problem-solving, business growth or human progress. How about leadership development in those high-mature digital masters, those are the "flexible organizations," which are able to "navigate" the change and the complexity of the present business world. The organizational flexibility is essential for business success. And leadership is not only flexible for the ability to learn and adapt to new responsibilities but also and above all, in the effectiveness of its initiatives, the creativity with which complex problems are solved, in actively seeking feedback on its effectiveness. The agility is also manifested in the ability of managers to change their style of decision-making in response to a wide range of parameters such as urgency, the level of risk, time constraints and the regional and cultural differences. Not all decision-making styles can be applied everywhere or constantly. Agile organizations tend to have managers with the right mix of personal attributes, that is, people who demonstrate a variety of skills, clearly comfortable with ambiguity and respectful of processes, without being slaves to them. They understand the difference between influence and authority and therefore are completely at their own ease in influencing and participating in the team. They do not focus on hierarchy, but on ideas, information flow, creativity, flexibility, openness, and curiosity. Together, these leaders do team, with extensive experience, are resolute, responsive, flexible, able to speed up the decision-making process, given that the main issues have already been discussed. One of the biggest challenges in this complex world is the fact that we need different perspectives, different knowledge and different ways to solve a problem. Sometimes there is not "one" answer: there are some, or many: That is why what is first of all needed is to be an open-minded leader who embraces the collective wisdom.

Delegation without collaboration = silo. Leaders are, most simply, people with influence. This influence can be formal (as in a work situation between an employer and employee) or more informal. Especially now, the digital blurs the working and personal life, leadership is more about the continuous delivery or even daily influence, the progression of your thought process, the creativity for problem-solving, and the advancement of your decision scenario. Many companies have "integrity" as their foremost values. Yet how is it manifested across the culture beginning with the top leadership? When followers see cracks in the system and behaviors, they are awakened to the reality and adapt to the new culture. And, the drawback costs are usually distrust, risk aversion, reaction and play safe just to survive. Effective leadership has to start with a culture of empowerment reinforced by the trust. It is almost impossible for anyone to function well in an organizational structure that does not have trust as its core foundation. The leader of a team or organization and their ability to cultivate the trust necessary for people to feel comfortable being who they are and taking the risks necessary to fulfill their potential. The factors that seem to help build a creative business environment are decision making, user involvement, organizational architecture, open communication, the reward system, personnel selection, available resources, the technology, the clarity of the objectives, less bureaucracy, the autonomy, the help of colleagues, the risk appetite, etc. So inside of a creative environment people feel comfortable in expressing their ideas, also received positive support to develop them.

The future of leadership will answer less, but ask more; less commanding, more engaging; less controlling, more flexible; less bureaucratic, more creative; less micro-managing, more mindful and thoughtful. The future of leaders is multi-dimensional thinkers and digital forerunners.  

Digitalization is like a flywheel, and Digital Masters are the one riding above it. Surf more Information about Digital Master:


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