In the course of digital transformation, tasks become more complex, change management is on the agenda and the pressure to innovate increases. In order to consistently achieve corporate goals, companies need highly qualified top executives. The demands on leadership have changed drastically. But what makes a digital leader and what mistakes are made in the selection of digital executives?
Digitization as a challenge for managers
Digitization makes leadership more complex and means change. A manager today always has to fight against the shortage of skilled workers associated with digitization. Digital leadership therefore means not only technically advancing digitization, but also motivating and retaining employees as part of the change process. Managers must be communicative and resilient. They have to integrate employees and manage them participatively, but at the same time they themselves are valued much more than before. The upheavals caused by digitalization are not always pleasant for the individual employee. How managers deal with them is discussed in the public eye. “Many managers today are also more in the focus of the external public, for example on evaluation platforms. It takes resilience to withstand the pressure personally,” says Jon Smith.
The demands on the employer change
“Good salaries, mobile devices and home office opportunities are often taken for granted,” explains Jon Smith. Managers today increasingly attach importance to a pleasant corporate culture and a meaningful activity. One should be aware of the fact that in the course of digitization, the power structure in relation to the employer has shifted in favor of technologically savvy managers. They can choose who they work for much more often. This increases expectations of companies. Employer branding is also much more important today: companies have to show their attractiveness.
Mistakes in executive selection
It is usually not up to the companies if they do not have good managers to cope with digitization. Sometimes they simply don’t have the right people internally and can’t find anyone externally because they don’t have the digital skills they need. Then they seek the advice of a human resources consultant specializing in technology.
“The most common mistake that we see is that companies are trying to promote professionals to digital leaders who don’t really want to or who can’t play the role because of the shortage. Leadership always means a passion for design, you should never underestimate that”, Jon Smith points out.