A digital transformation of business has become a significant trend the recent years. Technology is constantly evolving, thus even some professions have been dramatically changed or become obsolete. But when speaking of digital transformation, people usually imply IT-development or implement new tools among employees.
The idea that the leadership approach should also evolve and transform has been avoided for some time, while the transformation of current leadership practices is something that can’t be ignored. After all, a company has to be innovative in order to be successful.
A contemporary leader is no more a person who sets goals and pays a salary. First of all, it is a change in thinking that we have to consider. Today’s leader is the one who heads and inspires a team in the world, where IT-approach has been widely spread, entering absolutely any industry.
The new leadership approach has to take into account numerous factors, including the one that in a modern world your company needs employees more than they need your company. That’s why, while performing a digital transformation of your company, you have to work on your new leadership style. Here are five useful tips on how to achieve it.
Leader as an example
Make sure your company or a team is headed by a person who understands what the digitalization of business actually means. Adding more restrictions to employees by using modern-day control methods or forcing people to create reports in an Excel spreadsheet will not make your business digital.
What is actually needed is to get your management team familiar with digital technologies. More important, your management has to know how to “sell” new tools to employees, and how to show actual profits of working with those tools.
Innovation without understanding can bury any sort of business. Digital transformation requires an inspirational approach, and your team’s leader has to be the one who inspires. Keep in mind that changes always induce fear, and you can’t force people not to fear with mere authority or corporate order.
Invest in learning
Be prepared that digital transformation can’t happen without fear and anxiety among your team. People tend to think that implementing new technologies leads to getting rid of employees. As a leader, you are a part of this team. Thus, it is your duty to teach people how to work with new tools, which you take into service.
It means a leadership style has to be adjusted to confront fears and provide people with confidence and necessary knowledge. Technology must be used to empower people, freeing them from dull routine tasks.
Make sure you invest enough time and resources to get people familiar with new technologies. Let’s say you are about to hire a great guest posting service. It means that you have to take time and to teach your marketing team how to use it. Sometimes it is very wise to make things clear and to tell your team that it is a measure to simplify your copywriters’ work and to automate some routine activities. Fear will lead you to nowhere, so take time to dispel it.
Think of people, not technologies
“We have one awesome technology!” is a motto of plenty of modern digital companies. Still, digital technology development must be a mean, not a goal. As a leader, you have to understand that even the most advanced tech idea worth nothing if there is no one to buy it.
Remember that all the innovations are great if there is a point in them. Before gathering your coders, ask yourself at least these questions:
– Do we really need to implement this specific tech?
– What is going to happen after the technology development is finished?
– How will it help us to aid our customers?
– Will it be justified from a financial point of view?
While implementing something new, keep in mind that the digital solution has to be linked to your business’s outcome. You don’t want to develop new technology for its sake, right? Thus, working on your digitalization, do not forget about the business objectives. What are you going to sell to your customers?
Create an inspiring environment
Every manager loves to speak of an inspiring environment, but no one understands what it actually means. The classic leadership approach forces people to visit the same conference room to discuss the issues and to work from 8 till 5. As mentioned before, the digital era requires a new approach from a leader at first.
Provide people with all they need to feel comfortable. Ignore them coming late or, if possible, let them work from home. Another source of inspiration could be a coach or corporate courses that will give your team new skills and knowledge. It means new motivation and a new approach to problem-solving.
When working on inspiration, try to think outside the box. Museums could be a great source of ideas for your designers’ team. Hackathon is incredible for developing new skills of your coders. And get rid of those dress-codes. No one really needs fancy suits for their work, except, perhaps, public relations specialists and those who directly contact your clients.
Develop vivid cooperation schemes
As a leader, you have to understand that your primary task is to assign the right people to the designated jobs and do not interfere. As a matter of fact, you have to create opportunities. And one important opportunity no one pays attention to is an opportunity to cooperate inside the team.
Admit it – both the team lead and the CEO today are merely nannies for a group of people. A reverse side of it is that no one is truly responsible for anything. It often leads to the situation when no one has the required information. A general problem of modern days business is that in fact, no one is fully in charge of the customer experience, but there are plenty of people in charge of different pieces of it.
A digital leader has to be an organizer and not a source of top-down directives. If you build a working circle of cooperation in your company, that will inevitably lead to the overall improvement of customer service. Your people will be able to generate solutions to customers’ issues without your guidance. That’s why it is much better than cultivating learned helplessness and absolute lack of initiative. Forget about “I’m the boss here” concept, it has nothing to do with the company’s effectiveness.
A digital transformation of a business can be an excellent opportunity to take the next step on the way of your company development. It also a reliable method to get rid of old and ineffective practices and concepts that can slow down your company’s growth. But a real transformation starts from the very top. Want to perform digital transformation? Start with the leadership, and we hope the ideas we have just shared here will inspire you!
Got any other ideas on how to improve your leadership approach? Feel free to share your thoughts with everyone in the most convenient way. Good luck!
Marie Barnes is a writer for Bestforacar and an enthusiastic blogger interested in writing about technology, social media, work, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs. She shares her insights through blogging. Follow her on Medium.