TECHNOLOGY

How can I be a truly digital leader?

How can I be a truly digital leader?

By Tim Hooper is Head of Sales and Marketing for Xledger in the UK

Regardless of the market conditions they face, business leaders today recognise the potential that sophisticated digital tools can have in helping them to gain the advantage over industry rivals. However, no matter how cutting-edge the product or revolutionary the platform, technology doesn’t operate independently in any organisation.

Tim Hooper

Tim Hooper

At the heart of any successful digital transformation project is a truly digital leader capable of empowering their team to drive the change forward.  Digital leadership is not about technology itself, but an understanding of how particular tools can improve people’s working lives, drive results and increase productivity. It’s about setting goals, building capability and empowering people at every level.

The best digital leaders have a clear vision; they possess the ability to inspire the teams they employ while being open to learning from the specialists around them. During a time of fast-paced technological advancement, what steps can a leader take to encourage innovation, win over employees and keep ahead of the curve?

Communicate your vision

Getting employee-buy-in on new technology isn’t always easy. Having adopted specific systems into their own schedules, it’s natural for new solutions to be viewed as an unnecessary curveball to their daily routine. But people don’t hate change – they hate changing if they cannot see a valid reason as to why they should do it. If you don’t deliver change in the right way, you’re unlikely to get buy-in no matter how great the technology.

While training will ultimately assist in showing staff the benefits of a new platform or process, the most critical element in digital transformation is for the people of the business to understand why the technology is being introduced. If you are to convince your staff to welcome an unfamiliar solution with open arms, you must be able to show them how it will improve their ability to perform in their particular role. Winning people over to new technology demands a clear vision to be shared and regularly communicated throughout the business.

Lead by example

Digital leaders aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and embrace emerging platforms in order to test their benefits and weigh up which solutions could aid the organisation to achieve its goals. After all, you can’t expect employees to get on board with new technology if you aren’t leading from the front and demonstrating a willingness to try.

While there is certainly a degree of risk involved in implementing infrastructural changes to the business that redefine roles as well as processes, dedicating time to build on your digital literacy and get to grips with new technologies will enable you to move fast and capitalise on the opportunities that these solutions may present.

Create a learning culture

Change management requires a people-centric approach. If your organisation is to reap the benefits of new platforms, your employee strategy must be as effective and fully-fledged as your IT plans. Part of this is about providing ongoing training to your team; it’s about creating a transparent learning culture in which employees feel comfortable admitting the gaps in their knowledge with regard to a new digital tool, just as you feel comfortable expressing the elements you aren’t sure on.

Inviting staff to test emerging tools you’ve found can further be a great way to convey to your people the key role they play in sowing the seeds for transformational change. To take it a step further, leaders will empower their people by giving them the opportunity to present the benefits of new solutions.

When a truly digital leader sets the tone for an open and inclusive environment in which employees feel able to contribute, ask questions and build on their knowledge, they can address skills gaps and boost engagement in one fell swoop.

Embrace data-driven analysis

It’s not just about technology, it’s about the insights and data that this enables you to take advantage of. By focusing on figures that help you understand customer behaviour, work processes and financial projections, you can make smart decisions to create a leaner business machine. Opting for software which allows you ability to assess financial results in real-time, drill down to see the details of a transaction, and compare the amount of money in the bank with that which has been budgeted, can help you to plan better and adjust quickly to changes in the market. Having this data at your fingers can be truly empowering when it comes to taking charge and justifying digital change. With the right insights at your fingertips, you’ll find it easier to secure buy-in from your team.

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