What influence does it have digital (r) evolution performance? Subject of an article of the Hannover tradefair was the influence of precisely that change. So it says in the invitation text:  Experience shows that companies are innovative and tradition-conscious at the same time. In many areas, these companies are not technological first movers, but rather observe some trends and developments with some reluctance. In the context of digitization, it is important to find a balance between required innovation and desired tradition. Customers, companies, management and your own role are affected. This article aims to focus on the topic of digital leadership – how does it change our collaboration? – be focused.

Challenge: leadership in the digital age

Flat hierarchy, new ways of working, dealing with opinion leaders in organizations … The new challenges for managers are diverse. These are shown in more detail in the illustration. It turns out that people work together in networks and that managers have to control them. Control in the form of knowledge building: individual knowledge should become collective knowledge. The familiar hierarchy becomes unbureaucratic and flat hierarchies. In this way, experts and opinion leaders take control of the organization and new ways of working such as Scrum and Co. are tried out. The biggest challenge for me, however, is the speed of the digital transformation. I already notice it while blogging: Every day new topics, knowledge and questions come to light that can be worked on. The speed is enormous and the first voices are loud: It’s changing faster than we can change.

Digitale Führung
At its core, digital companies face 7 challenges that arise from digital transformation (own illustration based on the ideas of Capgemini).

Promote digital awareness

“Decision-makers need to make digitization part of their DNA. Companies and their employees should think and act digitally at all levels, “so this Consulting house Accenture . Managers should primarily promote digital awareness and identify pioneers in the company. Together with these pioneers, “get up to speed” by constantly trying things out and ensure lasting commitment. Success factor is a new leadership behavior that collectively distributes responsibility. But what exactly does it look like and how are the tasks of digital managers changing?

6 tasks for digital leadership

The central question in this scenario is: What does digital leadership do? What are its tasks? According to the study by Capgemini, these are 6 central points, which are shown in the figure. All in all,  that the manager drives forward, recognizes, gives orientation, promotes cooperation but still makes decisions. What I particularly like about this study is that everything takes place within the organizational framework. This is a scenario that is forgotten again and again, because this framework is given to all of us. We have to try to get the best out of ourselves within this framework. However, what is currently being questioned in research: Aren’t these frameworks a little too narrow? However, this will be in mine Articles on digital leadership and the Interviews on agility  thematized.

Digitale Führung
According to a study by Capgemini, digital leadership has 6 tasks, which move within the framework of the organization (own illustration).

7 tips: leadership in the digital age

Leadership in the digital age therefore leads to new challenges and a new description of leadership. These points have already been clarified in the article in the first approaches. But one question  remains open, especially for the practitioner: And how does it work now? For this I have  read various articles and derived 7 tips from them. Of course these are not complete but certainly a first step.

  1. Make people aware of their role as a digital leader:  In the first step, every manager should familiarize themselves with the digital transformation. What does this trend mean  actually and how can it be used in my company?  It has to be clear that there is no clear definition of this trend. The key question is: what does it mean in the context of my company? Help is available in the article: What is the digital transformation ?
  2. Design a digital strategy and define goals:  After you have a clear picture, it is important to develop a targeted digital leader strategy. This is where direct cooperation with your employees is important. More on this can be found in Digital strategy article .
  3. Clear framework conditions  create:  Now it’s down to work – working together. This has to be regulated but not tightly  Directives can be linked. A modern manager sets framework conditions for the employee. More about this in Article on agile leadership .
  4. Expand digital skills : After a manager has become aware of how the digital transformation will strategically affect the company, they should also participate operationally. Regular workshops on topics of digital transformation and the introduction of support tools are important to create a digital culture.  Read more about this under digital culture .
  5. Content and Image  promote digitally:  When the work is running and you have reached the processes, it is important to use the collaboration as a loyal, watchful network. Now it is important to bring this knowledge onto the street and use it as a figurehead (keyword content marketing). Many attentive minds can help here. But leave your employees room for their own ideas and contributions. Read more about it in Articles on agile marketing .
  6. Establish role models
    Successful managers in the digital age change companies, exemplify openness and are agile. Role models who exemplarily implement these attributes in their leadership role are perceived as digital role models. Role models can also be other employees in the team who, for example, use new tools directly and profitably. Read more about the digital leadership .
  7. Pioneer spirit  establish:  Mistakes happen especially in times of change. You are human. “ One avoids mistakes by gaining experience. You gain experience by making mistakes. ”  (Laurence Johnston Peter).  In our society it is often the case that mistakes are negatively affected. It starts at school. Mistakes are “bad” and are punished, flawlessness is rewarded. This is no longer possible in the digital transformation. Due to the high level of complexity, we are forced to try things out and allow mistakes in order to explore new things. Read more here on the topic of leading digital .


Overall have  changes the demands on managers in a digital world. The different generations (from baby boomers to Generation Z) must be formed into a team and “digitally managed”. So there has to be a rethink in the minds of digital managers. According to these studies, managers are called upon as role models and companions.
It  however, it is clear that this digital leadership should not be underestimated. Companies that understand that their own digital transformation depends on the people in the company and invest in precisely that will have it easier in the future. So leading experts believe that agility and innovation should become part of the DNA of every company. With the help of the seven tips, one step can safely be taken in this direction. Because  the adventure of digitization is only just beginning!
[werbung] Image source: People photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com
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I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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