Leading through digital innovation is tough.  Implementing change in the way an organisation works digitally, across generations, with people who have different preferences for communication and levels of adaptation to change is a hard gig.

Here are some top skills you will need to lead an effective digital innovation within your organisation.

Digital Literacy

This is the ability to find, evaluate, utilise, share, and create content using information technologies and the internet.  It requires technical, cognitive, critical, and social skills.  You will always be learning when it comes to digital technology.

Spread Your Digital Vision

Sell the idea of long-term benefits before the new technologies are brought in.  This allows for the most technically hesitant workers to have time to get used to the idea. 

At the same time, it excites the most motivated by technology changes and stimulates them to become early adopters.

Be the Advocate

As a leader, you establish the tone for the rest of the organisation.  Advocacy is about energising people to embrace the digital vision

Transformation can only flourish when the environment is cultivated for growth. 

Have a non-manager guide you in how they use digital technologies in their everyday lives and work.  Investing time in your own mastery encourages others to pursue similar knowledge.

Be Aware of Your Presence

Walk your talk. 

Leaders can have a strong digital vision and actively advocate for others to take it up. Still, if they aren’t visibly engaging in their own digital vision, in front of the workforce, no one will become invested in the change.

Always Consider Your Communication Style

Your communication backs up your presence. 

Consider how you come across and what you are saying to promote your digital vision messages or any relevant business messages for that matter. 

Are you writing out long-winded emails, or sending out short snappy self-filmed videos, 30-60 seconds long, giving updates?  Show your real and authentic side.  Make sure your messaging backs up your digital vision.

Adapt, Overcome, Survive

Develop an openness to explore new technologies and take a flexible approach to strengthen your adaptability muscle. 

You need to develop a higher risk tolerance for experimentation to allow for innovation to thrive and drive your business forward. 

Know Yourself         

Leadership requires a high degree of self-awareness and the impact of your actions on those around you.  Leaders need to reflect on their approach and how it may affect others both at work and in their personal life.  And this process of reflection should be ongoing and explicit. 

With remote workers, you often have access to them 24/7.  Inform your workforce if you have quirks that you don’t expect them to pander too.  If you check emails at 4am in the morning before going for a run, let your remote team know you don’t expect them to answer until they are clocked in for their regular working times.  It is just the way you function.

Digital innovation can be a long process of consistent re-evaluation and change.  But it can also be refreshing and exciting.  You don’t need to make it painful.  Utilise your leadership skills to bring the teams and workers along with you. 

Exploiting your natural talents and getting the early adopters and path the way for the more risk-averse changers.

Categories: Leadership


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