Digital Age is it Sunrise or Sunset For Leadership?

In A Digital Age is it Sunrise or Sunset For Leadership?

The Current Leadership Situation: leadership has never been easy – if it were everything in the world would be perfect. However, in today’s digital age, leadership has never been so challenging and few leaders are prepared for the challenges of today – never mind tomorrow.

Leaders have never had to deal with so much intense and complex change that is happening at a speed that the human brain struggles to comprehend. The investment of the training leaders require to manage the maze of teams, enterprises, projects and systems is lacking at scale. When you add in the uncertain complexity and volatility of a world that becomes more ambiguous by the minute, it is no surprise that leadership is failing across all sectors of government, society and business.

Today’s environment offers more threats and more opportunity in equal measure, but the opportunities will only be grasped if strong strategic leadership is applied which has a firm grasp of the digital landscape.

How many leaders can honestly say they have the knowledge and awareness to understand AI and machine learning, blockchain technology and its potential and maybe 3D printing and how it will change the supply chain?

Are today’s leaders in touch with the cultural change that is happening across society? Employees and customers and all stakeholders expect and demand equality, empowerment and business conducted ethically.

On the Global scale, the world has enormous challenges of fast-growing inequality, climate change and governments rapidly becoming irrelevant as they struggle to understand the differences never mind keep up or get ahead of them.

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Leaders of today need all the leadership skills and traits of the past, but they also need to understand that the control, command and protect style with consistent, linear best practice is no longer enough and in many cases is damaging.

To understand the threats and change them into opportunities leaders have to be more creative than they have ever been. More imaginative than they have ever been and more empathetic than they have ever been. The opportunities of today can explode with experiential value for those leaders who adapt.

Leadership has always been about creating leverage, and in today’s digital environment it is essential that this leverage is created by embracing peoples creativity and intuition and then give them the ownership to apply their skills to the data, and AI in a lean managed structure.

A leader has to accept and embrace the constant never-ending journey of transforming people, process and products in an environment that enables space for all to contribute and play a part. It is indeed is a journey without end at speed. The more the power and authority are distributed to the edges the more chance the organisation has of keeping up with the furious rate that is required.

Never before has soft power been so influential. Adaptable, compatible and flexible are not nice to have skills they are survival skills that when applied in a strategic agile manner give an organisation a chance


The history of leadership has been studied and taught without much fundamental change for the past couple of centuries. Military, business and administration of countries and movements of people have all been more or less business as usual for those who step up to the leadership challenge.

I would argue that the leadership challenge of today in the digital age that exists is the sunset for many of the traditional leaders of the past and the present. It is time for a new style of leadership to step up to the mark. Leaders that are aware of the risks and the opportunities that digital presents and thrive in an environment with soft skills leading backed up with comprehensive technology and data awareness.

As the sun sets on many traditional leaders, it is the sunrise for the new leaders, and the world needs you more than ever.


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