“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”—Charles Darwin
In this digital era we live in, everything, including the business landscape, changes rapidly. Businesses are either disrupting themselves or being disrupted. Technology is changing our daily lives and how we communicate. It is also reshaping how we do business, whatever industry we are in. We are now more interconnected than ever on a much bigger, global scale.
What’s the role of leadership in this digital age, and how are leaders expected to lead amidst these rapid changes?
As Simeon Preston said, “The biggest part of our digital transformation is changing the way we think.”
One of the roles of a leader is to provide a vision that will point people in the right direction. In a blog post by WeForum, they said, “The digital world is not about technology, but people.” In a rapidly changing environment, leaders need to communicate intentionally and with clarity, provide a purpose and a vision, and lead the way in making the vision a reality.
A great leader is in tune with the shifts in trends and can predict where the trend is going. Or at least have people they trust on their team who are able to do this. Innovation's core is this capacity to foresee change before it occurs and respond to change by developing something new before a change is required.
Business leaders solve problems. They create services and goods with the intention of filling needs. They need an agile and solid system in place to deliver these solutions in a timely manner and create environments that can cultivate creativity and innovation.
Creativity begins with inspiration. A good leader knows how to motivate and inspire their teams to get their creative juices flowing. They know what their people value and how to align those values with the organization’s shared vision. And when things get tough, they know how and when to push people forward or pull them up so they can keep going.
Creating a great culture of diversity, inclusion, learning, growth, and freedom to fail and improvise helps spark that inspiration.
Leaders take ownership of their businesses, but they can not know it all. That is why we need the right people on our teams—because we acknowledge the fact that one person is limited in what they know, what they can see, and what they can do at a time. That’s why one of the most essential skills a leader can learn is how to empower their people to reach their full potential.
As a leader, you need their expertise and experiences, and you need them at their best. You need the team to function optimally, with or without you in the room. That is why we invest in the growth of our employees, and that is why they say the mark of a great leader is the ability to raise future leaders.
Your team needs to be equipped, empowered, and given enough autonomy to carry out the experimentation, failures, and iterations that come with innovation.
In a fast-changing world, those who are able to adapt quickly succeed. I think that this is the most important leadership skill in the digital era. We saw it during COVID, and we still see it now.
Perfectionism is one of the enemies of adaptability. Leaders can sometimes get so set in their ways or believe in a false sense of what success should look like, that they fail to give themselves the grace to accept that success could look different than what they originally envisioned.
Having a vision is important. Believing in that vision is essential. However, it is essential to understand that the vision may change and to accept that fact.
As leaders, it is a given that we need to focus on what matters: treating our people right, leading with kindness, and wanting to help. Integrity is a part of that, along with hard work, smart work, and all of that good stuff.
But it is about how you treat people and adapt quickly to your working and living environments. In this digital era—or any era, really—adaptability is the key to success.
Thanks for reading “A Brilliant Tribe.”