Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Digital Leadership Substances and Styles

The substances make leadership more profound, and the styles make leadership more effective.

Substantially, leadership is all about future and change; direction and dedication; influence and innovation; methodically, there are authoritarian, delegation, and participation leadership styles. With “VUCA” characteristics of digital new normal and today’s cross-functional, cross-cultural, and cross-generational workforce, vision, and influence, as aways are substantial for digital leadership, and mentorship and coach are emergent digital styles to improve leadership effectiveness.

Vision as a substantial element in digital leadership: The leaders need to observe, perceive, and pay attention to the myriad of internal, external, national or global forces that define and influence the way we do business these days. These digital forces must be dealt with, but before they can be dealt with, they must appear on digital leaders' radar screens. It's true that leaders must have a clear vision--not the vision clouded and distorted by rosy colored glasses or narrow-minded perspectives. A clear vision is circular rather than tunnel; multi-dimensional rather than single lens; colorful, rather than black and white; upward-driven, not backward-dragged; it should be vivid enough to tell the story and positive enough to overcome barriers; it touches the hearts and connect the minds and lead the team to the mountaintop or the ocean deep. The digital strategy should be driven by visionary leaders and being on the ground does not prevent a person from being a visionary; as being on top does not prevent a person from being short-sighted. And exceptional leadership will welcome additional perspectives on how to add better definition to the organization's current vision.

Influence is another substantial element of digital leadership: There is indeed a subtle difference, one need to be "influential" if one wants to "motivate." To "influence" means to be able to shape other people's views or opinions towards one's own views or perspectives. This ability to "influence" then sets the ground for getting your "motivation" going. To "motivate" is to get other people to move into actions, to act on whatever view you have influenced to take. There are different languages for leadership, one of which is "Advocate," which means to support, argue or persuade in favor of or against something or some groups of persons. To advocate is to exert degrees of persuasiveness and influence in the circumstances that require it. Vision broadens influence, and insight deepens influence. In essence, leadership is an influence.

MentorshipA mentor is by definition someone outside of the individual's chain of command, mentorship inspires the culture of learning for the long term direction. Mentorship motivates people by allowing them to learn by giving them the time and the confidence to work out for themselves what needs to be done in certain situations. There should be a balance between the organization and the individual where the responsibility for learning is concerned. The organization should be able to identify fundamental skill requirements at different levels of management and the individual must self-assess and identify what they lack to move forward and seek to learn through whatever means is made available. Great leadership includes mentor capabilities. By mentoring you are showing that you value others, and in order to add value to others, you need to hold people in high regards, not only for who they are but for the potential that lies inside of them. Great leaders should be ideal mentors, If the leaders are not willing to mentor the next generation of leaders, it will lead to reduced competitiveness and effectiveness and suboptimal business results. But you need to understand where people are and where they want to go in order to be an effect leader.

Coaching: Coaching is a medium-term approach in guiding an individual to achieve a specific goal where the coach has goal-specific experience. It is an interactive process through which managers and supervisors aim to solve performance problems or develop employee capabilities, coaching is the subset of mentoring. And leaders today are not the one who always have all the answers due to the information overloading and shortened knowledge life cycle, but often they need to participate in framing good questions, and encourage teams to find more than one answers, and always discover a better way to do things. The coach leads by asking: "How would you like to do it"? "Are there any other ways of doing it"? "Can you compare them"? "Which is best”? Continue to update her/his own knowledge, coach and learn at the same time. The philosophy behind the coach style leadership is to build a winning team and develop other leaders to encourage the creation of an environment in which all feel the need to demonstrate leadership, to take responsibility for the results, to unlock the teaching potential of the company's best and brightest.The coach/mentor can show the team how to explore their own natural skill sets, talents, and strong sides, take into account their own objectives in line with working needs.

Effective leadership is the good combination of substances plus styles, both philosophical and methodical, it takes hard work and endurance. The substance of leadership never changes, but it has to shift the styles to adapt to the changes. Learning, coaching, and practicing leadership are the iterative continuum that is improved by constant learning and practice.


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