ARTICLE: Emerging Digital Leadership
Updated: May 1
Deloitte has published Leadership disrupted: Pushing the boundaries, an article on a different kind of leader emerging in organizations facing leadership gaps in an increasingly digital world: a "digital leader" who builds teams, connects and engages people, and drives an innovative, risk tolerant, and continuously improving culture. High-performing leaders today need different skills and expertise than in generations past to address digital disruption, and most organizations have not kept pace to promote the new leadership models needed.
Leadership today is driven less by the strength or art of leadership as in years past, and more by the need for more agile, “digital-ready” leaders. The topic of human capital vs. technology may still be in debate, but some executives continue to focus on the technology side of the business at the expense of developing leaders.
Highly effective companies, as digital “immigrants,” new to this world and built on older models such as control mechanisms and financial returns, are now scaling for different goals, redesigning their organizations to be more dynamic, team-centric, and connected. These changes require a different type of leadership with interdisciplinary skills that that can mobilize and execute these new models, build and lead teams and partner with the broader ecosystems, keep people connected and engaged; and drive a culture of innovation, learning, and continuous improvement. They must also be able to lead a workforce that now includes contractors, the contingent workforce, and crowd talent.
Great leaders who succeed in the context of ambiguity now face even greater pressures as their role becomes even more digital-focused and team-centric. A focus on organizational practice, including culture and organizational design, will become an ever-more important part of leadership development. Despite this more challenging environment, leaders will be asked to execute at a higher level—and ensure that their organizations do not lag behind in the digital transformation.