Project management

Digital leadership - managers need these 5 core competences

Discover the five key competences of digital leadership and find out how modern managers are shaping the future. From creating trust to promoting a positive error culture.
ZEP Blog Digital Leadership

The increasing demand for flexibility, speed and agility in the workplace is presenting companies with new challenges. As a result, employees are taking on more responsibility and being involved in decision-making processes. The Spatial separation through mobile working brings with it additional challenges. In order to remain competitive, you not only need to rethink existing management concepts and working models, but also optimise them. In this blog article, we present the five most important core competencies you need as a digital leader and the methods you can use to transform your team's work organisation and mindset.

Digital leadership - holistic approach

Digital leadership represents an innovative management approach that skilfully integrates the dimensions of digitalisation and the modern management style. This holistic approach is characterised by the optimal use of the potential of digitalisation and stands for the introduction of innovative structures.

Digital leadership emphasises the courage to break new ground and recognises mistakes as a valuable opportunity for structural improvement.
Digital leadership is more than just methodology!

The individual development of your team members is at the centre of this management style. Support your employees in their skills, goals and room for manoeuvre. Because in digital leadership, you go beyond your traditional role as a manager! Instead, you act as a trainer and coach for your team. This is because the modernity of this leadership style is also reflected in the emphasis on teamwork. In this way, you not only enable participation, but also actively promote the involvement of your employees. It is crucial to give your team space and show appreciation, which in turn favours creativity and individual development.

You should not only consider your role as a digital leader in theory, but also put it into practice. How do you do that? Rethink company structures and develop modern working methods together with your team. As a digital leader, you have a significant influence on the success or failure of transformation processes in your company. And: an integral element of digital leadership is the freedom to make mistakes and talk about them without fear of sanctions. A pleasant working environment based on innovation, new approaches and intrinsic motivation is created by your role model function. Inspire your team to embrace change!

Key role: digital leader

As a digital leader, you are much more than just a manager. You take on roles with a variety of functions in order to successfully lead your team through the complex expanses of digital transformation processes. This means you are not only a driving force for innovation, but also a change manager, bridge builder and navigator in a dynamically changing corporate landscape.

Each function or role serves a specific purpose, be it delegating responsibilities, promoting openness towards digitalisation, initiating innovation or skilfully navigating through change. As a digital leader, you will become a versatile player who actively shapes not only the present, but also the future of the company together with your team. You can expect the following roles as a digital leader:

⇒ Leader: Delegate responsibilities
⇒ Specialist: Applying the possibilities of digitalisation
⇒ Pulse generator: Driving innovation forward
⇒ Change Manager: React proactively to changes
⇒ Bridge builder: Educating the team about digital possibilities
⇒ Navigator: Coordinate tasks, set goals, plan resources

It all comes down to these core competences

With the growing need for flexibility and Agility in today's working world As a manager, you are entering an era characterised by rapid change and new challenges. But what skills do you need to fulfil to be a modern digital leader who can motivate and inspire their team? The five core competencies that you should fulfil in digital leadership are the linchpin to being successful in this changing landscape.

Digital leadership competences
As a digital leader, you should have these skills!

Let's take a closer look at the individual points:

01 Trust

Rely on trust as a driving force and assume that your team can work effectively even without a physical presence. The focus here is on alternative performance criteria that go beyond attendance times. For example, you can use customer feedback, project results and the quality of your team's work as performance criteria. You should always be able to act flexibly. Shying away from wrong decisions, clinging to outdated structures and reacting slowly to change will prevent your company from undergoing a smooth digital transformation. As a digital leader, you think disruptively, especially with regard to new work processes and business models.

02 General conditions

Creating a clear framework is crucial, especially in the context of remote working. Defining working hours and recovery periods is not only a guide for your team, it is also enshrined in law. Make sure that your employees Comply with regulations on working hours and break times. Appropriate software such as ZEP not only supports you with this, but also with the Time recording obligation according to BAG judgement. As a digital leader, you are always up to date with the latest innovations and changes in the (digital) working world. Continuous further training and the transfer of this knowledge to your team are crucial.

03 Clear agreements

The third competence for modern digital leadership emphasises the importance of clear agreements and consequences. How is progress measured in your company? What is part of your project framework and what is not? Clear communication rules and transparent project definitions create a structure that minimises uncertainty for your team and increases efficiency. A Software for project time recording with a corresponding Planning of project times and Resources can give you the support you need here. Don't forget: digital leadership is based on teamwork!

04 Exchange of information

Especially for remote teams with digital leaders, regular information exchange and the promotion of interaction are crucial. The challenge for you is not only to organise formal meetings, but also to create space for informal discussions. After all, these are what keep teams together in the virtual world. Remember: as a digital leader, you are leading the digital transformation process in the company. Your complete conviction and willingness to change are essential. Digital leadership is not characterised by traditional hierarchies, but promotes freedom for your team to contribute all their skills in a self-determined way. The prerequisite for this is an open exchange of information.

05 Constructive criticism

Digital leadership is also primarily about establishing a corporate culture in which mistakes are not seen as a weakness. Instead, a positive error culture is promoted in which mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn from them. As a digital leader, you deal openly with your own mistakes, act as a role model for your team and create an environment in which new ideas can be discussed objectively. Think of your team as an agile The driving force behind your project success, because only as such can you react to changes and act appropriately. Serve as a role model for your team by actively practising a clear vision, a sense of responsibility, empathy and appreciation in your day-to-day business. Remain on an equal footing with your team. This creates the necessary trust for a working world in which zero tolerance for mistakes is no longer appropriate!

In the context of digital leadership, it is above all the Duty of care for your employees even more important - compared to "offline" management. This is because many people tend to work excessively when working from home, as laptops and emails are always to hand. The increasing merging of work and private life means that not everyone has the necessary Self-organisation to "switch off" which is why it can make sense to separate your private and professional lives (e.g. with your own workspace). In this situation, your role as a manager is particularly important. It is even more crucial in remote teams, Regular constructive feedback rounds so that all team members feel understood, heard and involved. Feedback enables your team to feel like an integral part of the organisation despite the physical distance, which promotes collaboration.

The key to successful digital leadership therefore lies in a solid foundation of trust and a clear objective for each task. Structured organisation of communication is crucial, especially if you as a manager are not physically in the same place as your employees.

Shaping the future

The increasing demand for flexibility and agility not only requires your company to rethink, but also to completely transform its management approaches and working models. This is why we view digital leadership as a holistic approach that makes the most of the potential of digitalisation and introduces innovative structures. As a digital leader, you take on more than just the traditional management function - you become a coach and a source of inspiration for your team!

The core competences for successful digital leadership are identified in the areas of trust, clear agreements, information exchange and constructive communication. Trust in the abilities of your team, clear framework conditions for remote work including compliance with legal occupational health and safety measures, transparent communication, regular exchange of information at eye level and the promotion of a positive error culture are the central components. As a digital leader, our Co-CEO Benny Hahn also emphasises the need for efficient project time recording in order to manage according to productivity rather than attendance.

Digital leadership definitionDigital leadership competences
Digital leadership actively practised

Seize the opportunity to transform your leadership skills. Find out how digital leadership can advance your team and get started now our 30-day trial versionbecause: If you want to successfully master the digital transformation, you will hardly be able to do without value-based leadership and the active promotion of your team in the future.

Tanja Hartmann CEP

Tanja Hartmann

Content Marketing Manager at ZEP

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