Effective leadership has a key role to play in society. This is especially true for a transformational leadership style, which inspires others by encouraging positive changes. As John Maxwell, a famous American author and leadership coach, says: “A leader is great not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others.” In that context, therefore, let us understand the role of a transformational leadership style in the modern digital world.
What is Transformational Leadership and Why is it Crucial in the Digital Era?
Transformational leadership is a leadership style or approach focusing on influencing people to bring positive changes. Transformational business leaders motivate, inspire, and influence their team members to achieve organizational and personal goals. Here is why a transformational leadership style is critical in the digital era:
- Promotes continuous learning and inspires a growth mindset within the organization
- Fosters a culture of innovation and creativity
- Offers a clear vision and direction to team members and helps navigate challenges
- Encourages team members by promoting ownership and accountability
How Does Digital Transformation Impact Leadership Styles and Strategies?
As new technologies are introduced, and competition increases, leaders need to revamp their styles and strategies to showcase the following:
1. Agility and Adaptability
Digital transformation makes organizations need to become more agile and improve adaptability so that leaders can respond to new opportunities and challenges.
2. Data-Driven Decision-Making
In the digital era, leaders must adopt a data-driven approach for enhanced decision-making in a hypercompetitive business environment.
3. Emphasis on Innovation
Most leaders in the digital era focus on a transformational leadership style to encourage innovation across all aspects of business.
What are the Key Characteristics of a Transformational Leader in the Digital Age?
The following three features characterize the transformational leadership style:
1. Fond of Innovation
Transformational leadership style leaders should incline to innovate. They should be creative enough to leverage digital technology and build innovative products.
2. Focus on Improvisation
This leadership style also calls for improvisation. Rather than blindly implementing digital tools, they should be able to understand business requirements. This helps in the customization and implementation of digital tools.
3. Data-Driven Approach
Data is the most essential element for facilitating growth in the digital world. Hence, the transformational leadership style requires a data-driven approach to find the latest industry insights.
Challenges Leaders Face in the Digital Era and How to Overcome Them
Digitalization has improved transparency, accessibility, and collaboration. Nevertheless, it has also become difficult for businesses to adapt to rapid technological and digital advancements. Some of the most common challenges faced in the digital era by transformational leadership style leaders include:
1. Employee Resistance
Business growth in the digital era requires leaders to be constantly aware of digital trends in the market. They must also adapt to the latest technologies and innovations to stay ahead of their competitors. However, employees’ resistance to change and lack of support can hinder leaders. This can be overcome by implementing an effective organizational change management framework and seeking employee feedback and opinion before integrating new tools.
While the digital environment creates multiple communication channels and helps improve communication, it can also pose significant challenges. Multiple communication platforms often lead to overcommunication or miscommunication between team members. Synchronous or real-time communication can become overwhelming at times. It further reduces productivity. Hence, leaders need to set clear communication guidelines for their team members.
3. Data Protection and Security
Data protection and security matter a lot, especially in a remote setting. Many companies are transferring their data to the cloud for better management. Undoubtedly, it improves transparency and accessibility. However, securing organizational, employee, and customer data becomes difficult—especially if multiple organizations use the same network. Thus, leaders must implement a stringent IT security policy and conduct regular security audits.
4. Poor Work-Life Balance
Statistics show that around 60% of leaders face burnout at the end of the day. This reduces productivity and makes it difficult for leaders to focus on growth. Leaders can prevent burnout by coaching their employees, delegating work when necessary, and taking occasional leaves.
How Can Leaders Effectively Communicate and Engage With Their Team Members in a Digital Environment?
Miscommunication or lack of communication is one of the biggest challenges in the digital world. Here are the five best ways for leaders to engage with their teams in a remote work setting:
1. Focus on Personal and Professional Well-Being
Working in a completely remote setting can create a feeling of isolation among team members. Therefore, one of the best ways for leaders to engage with their team members is by asking them about their personal and professional well-being, interests, and hobbies. This makes the team members feel valued by the organization.
2. Arrange Fun Activity Sessions
Another popular way to help team members stay engaged and improve communication is to arrange weekly or monthly online sessions for them, where they can play online games and learn more about each other.
3. Continuous Feedback
Team members often feel that their efforts are not being appreciated or recognized. This leads to a lack of communication and demotivates them. One way to avoid this is to seek and offer regular feedback to your team members. It makes them feel appreciated and also motivates them to achieve organizational goals.
4. Use Communication Tools
The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools such as Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams have also proven effective in helping team members stay connected.
5. Integrate Gamification
This has become a popular method to keep employees engaged and improve communication and collaboration between team members. It involves adding gaming elements to encourage team members. For example, leaders can conduct inter or intra-departmental competitions and offer incentives or rewards to the best performers.
Why Emeritus Online Leadership Courses are Popular Among Professionals
Emeritus offers online leadership courses in collaboration with leading educational institutions worldwide. Industry experts teach these courses, and they offer you the latest leadership skills and industry insights to help you grow in your career. Moreover, these leadership courses are developed using a backward-design methodology that offers goal-oriented learning. This helps learners gain practical learning, expand their professional network, and enhance their transformational leadership style. Check out Emeritus’ online leadership courses and advance your leadership career.
By Sneha Chugh
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