There is no disputing that we absolutely live in a digital age. If you are reading this you are part of that march towards all things digital and the electronic age is fully upon us. As a Gen X who continues to embrace new technologies almost as fast as they are introduced (and can afford them) I got thinking about what it takes to be a Digital Leader. While the tides are pushing us all towards the great digital divide there are people and countries that still try to hide from the push that mobility and social media provide…looking to the concept of Digital Leadership is an something that I have been thinking about a lot lately.
As I was thumbing through content to find inspiration from my initial search term that I used to build this post one of the first articles I found was one titled Talent 3.0: Solving the Digital Leadership Challenge – A Global Perspective it is funny how there seems to be a whitepaper or digital snipit for every question or query that is run on within Google. Does that make Google and its management team Digital Leaders? I would think that we could all agree that Google is a Leader and millions of us turn to the Search Engine every day to help us along and guide us to the right information.
But if Google is a Digital Leader…then what defines the leadership role? In an article by Ernest J. Wilson III “LEADERSHIP IN THE DIGITAL AGE”, Digital Leadership is defined by looking at two separate but equal parts:
All leaders whether leaders in health, the arts or in manufacturing must be aware of the new constraints and
opportunities ICTs provide, and use them effectively. The second, “digital leadership” refers to leadership in the core sectors of the knowledge society – the three ‘C’s of computing, communications and content (broadcasting and print), and now multi-media.
So at its base, a Digital Leader is the same as a typical leader that has many different qualities and regardless of industry or focus, has embraced and leverages the new digital paradigm. I like it. That is something that I can see being a reality. Am I a Digital Leader? What about you? You must have Leadership qualities or are striving to build Leadership Skills right? So beyond just the qualities of a good leader you see technology and communications as a tool to be leveraged and built upon.
1. Self-respect and respect for others. The Digital Leader is not only a “brand manager” but also a mentor and fellow adventurer in the digital journey. The respect that is shown and information shared is appreciated and fostered.
2. The ability to communicate effectively. The skill of artful communication is a skill that is becoming increasingly difficult to find in the digital age. I see this a being a renaissance man having one foot in the future and one in the past. If you struggle with communications skills…find a local Toastmasters to help you build your communications skill set.
3. Integrity and character. Leaders are remembered because they take an unwavering stance. The sense of right and wrong, good and bad…they stand on one side and whether they stand by that morale compass.
4. Having a vision. Until the day I die I will push and promote the importance of goal setting to the success of any person. If you don’t have a goal, you lack the course to achieve success and fundamentally the path to leadership.
5. Being grounded. Not only do leaders have their Integrity they also can admit when they are wrong. Weakness does not come from working with others and listening to their contributions. No man is an island.
6. Courage. The first step into the unknown is always the riskiest. Fear of change, Fear of the future these are very real. It takes courage to stand out as a Leader…especially when life is now moving at the speed of the Internet!
7. Persistence, commitment, and dedication. Nothing in life comes easy. Luck comes to those who make luck happen by working hard, consistently.
8. Humility. Leaders are those who really do just lead. The blow hard know it all with the rah rah sis boom bah rants…they may lead…but they are not leaders. Being the best rarely came in isolation…there were others that supported and helped to build that quality…remember them because the trip back down the ladder is far faster that the trip up it!
9. A sense of responsibility. The morale compass comes back into play. A real leader looks to the greater good, even if there are personal sacrifices that need to be made.
10. Decisiveness. Well this is where I pull out my one and only Star Wars Quote “There is no try. Only do or not do!” With the many shades of grey that cloud our lives…it is nice to know that ultimately every decision boils down to that simple statement.
So are you ready to take your leadership skills that you have built and apply them to the digital world? Do you understand the world of Communications, Computing and Content? Leadership is a price that was once paid for in blood, then in sweat and tears…today it is about the ability to transform and build a new and exciting tomorrow.
And that is where I leave, as I mentioned in my post yesterday…a new journey of 115,200 minutes starts today…and I am excited and plan on taking a much stronger leadership role…what about you?
Chris J Powell