Globalization and the increase in knowledge-based work have been influencing the world of work for a long time. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a real boost in digital collaboration. New ways were created to interact flexibly and location-independent in virtual teams. In the blog article Return-to-Office – Competent and successful in the future, we have already discussed possible approaches for work design after the pandemic. Possible approaches are on the one hand hybrid work and on the other hand work that is completely location-independent, also known as remote working.

In this article we would like to take a closer look at the requirements for (digital) managers that arise from the new possibilities of digitization. Digital leadership goes beyond the application of new technologies. It is particularly important to meet the needs and challenges of employees and so that to design digital work efficiently and successfully.

Six challenges in a digital work environment

The greatest challenges for employees and the resulting demands on managers can be summarized in six focal points classify:

  1. Managers should help their employees in selecting suitable technologies include in order to generate a high level of acceptance of the new way of working and thus promote efficient communication, cooperation and a sense of togetherness.
  2. Also the way in which a leader in the digital space Communication designed is of the utmost importance. The appropriate handling of and in the selected information and communication technologies as well as their framework conditions are elementary.
  3. At the same time the Autonomy of the individual is crucial. Instead of checking every single work progress, managers should focus on the results of their employees.
  4. In addition, these are physical and emotional well-being and the satisfaction of the team are essential to create a successful working environment.
  5. trust represents the basis for working in the digital space. Effective communication, autonomy and emotional well-being cannot be created without this.
  6. Ultimately, a high transparency in communication as well as in decision-making and task delegation, another important prerequisite for successful leadership in virtual space.

Successful digital leadership – How do I become a digital leader?

The success of a manager depends on the situation in which they are being led, their personality and their individual leadership skills.

Some theories, such as Fiedler’s contingency theory, state that a leadership style can only be learned to a limited extent. Of the Management style depends on life and professional experience as well as personality the manager. Personality is constant across different situations and time. In addition, it can only be changed to a certain extent.

In order to prepare a manager for the challenges in the digital space, it is therefore important to expand their leadership skills for the virtual space and to recognize facets of the individual leadership style, which can be applied well in the digital context.

To this end, we at Work & Experience have developed a training concept that uses trust as a basic construct.

Trust (V) forms the basis of CONET’s digital leadership concept.

The further training enables managers to develop a basic understanding of the success of leadership and to align their own leadership skills and individual leadership style to the new challenges in the digital context.
In order to make communication efficient and effective in the context of new technologies, the necessary framework conditions for the use of digital communication and various communication tools are explained.

Visit our homepage to get more information about Work & Experience and our consulting services. Was this article helpful to you? Or do you have questions about “leading digitally”? Write us a comment or give us a call.

Photo: Michael Vogel

Michael Vogel works as a consultant at CONET Solutions GmbH and advises partners and customers on the topics of work & experience, new work and digital transformation with a focus on the future of work, organizational development and transformation support.


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