Monday, May 30, 2016

Digital Leadership as Harmonizer

Harmonization is the digital leadership theme to celebrate this holiday weekend.

Though the substance of leadership never changes, it is all about the future. Leadership is situational, in every era, there is a different theme for leadership effectiveness. If the agricultural leadership is about surviving from the scarcity of resources; the industrial leadership is based on command and control to build a certain order from chaos, and then digital leadership is about harmonizing and orchestrating toward the next level of prosperity of human society. Because we slowly, but steadily move to the era with an abundance of knowledge and flow of information and ideas, and digital leadership should also leap to the next level of maturity with the following traits.
Vision: The purpose of leadership is to grow your business and advance our society. Therefore, vision is critical to focus on the big picture, to steer the organization towards the uncharted water without getting lost in the right direction, or inundated with trivial details. A great vision is one that relates itself to a purpose greater than itself which contributes to the common good. Digital leadership is not just about winning, but about harmonizing to unleash collective human potential and orchestrate a scalable innovation symphony. A good vision statement either for personal development, business growth, or societal progress, should motivate us continually to "reach beyond our grasp" -- in the pursuit of longer-term goals to be realized through the achievement of nearer-term objectives.

Empathy: Empathy conveys the respect which is crucial in the binding of peer-to-peer relationships, connecting the minds and touching the hearts, to harmonize the business and the world. It becomes more significant because we live in such a hyperconnected and interdependent digital ecosystem.  Without empathy, there cannot be a rapport and thus no sustainable business relationships. It is the ability to think as if you were in the other party’s position, to gain an in-depth understanding of the thought processes behind each action. The lack of empathy is caused by the homogeneity of leadership setting. Today, many leaders have sympathy, but lack empathy, they intend to help and manage well, however, sometimes, it goes in the opposite direction. Empathy is a very important soft skill that is frequently undervalued. It's not born to a leader, but it can be learned if you have an open mind and a humble attitude.

Balance: What is leadership? It reminds us of the famous fable of “Six blind men and an Elephant.” Each one of them is fumbling around and making the conclusion: Is leadership the sports competition? Is leadership the beauty pageant? Is leadership about richness or spirituality? Is leadership all about winning? Or is leadership about "Just do it," -taking action? What are the emergent themes of digital leadership? Compared to the previous eras, to improve leadership effectiveness, it’s about harmony. To achieve harmony, it’s all about balance. To balance, it’s all about overcoming extreme thinking and silo mentality. Often, superficiality will cause such anti-digital "extreme thinking" pattern: More often, the binary thinking just focuses on the symptoms and stick to the polar situations or two opposite views, they perceive things either good or bad, right or wrong, black or white, there are no shades in between; such extreme thinking can limit your view to observe the world more objectively; distort the picture of reality, restrict the scope of your thought process, and cloud your mind to make a good judgment either in decision-making or problem-solving. The digital leaders with a balanced mind can bring agility and flexibility across the spectrum of digital dynamic and digital paradox. It can also bring in-depth understanding across the spectrum of a "local"/"specific" to "global"/ "holistic"/ "systemic" (boundaryless /transdisciplinary)/ "whole-systems" elaboration.

Leadership is complex because there’re so many variables in it, leadership is simple as well because the substance of leadership never changes: It is about future and progression. Digital leadership should go beyond the status quo, it is about harmonizing a more peaceful world, it’s about orchestrating an innovative society. It's about bringing wisdom to the workplace. Harmonization is the digital leadership theme to celebrate this holiday weekend.


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