Is digital leadership a skillset or a mindset?

18. Mail 2022

By Stephan Breitfeld 

Is digital leadership a skillset or a mindset?

The digital transformation is a topic that’s been with us for a long time and it’s quite clear by now that there is no way around it. But companies keep on struggling with it especially when it comes to the fact that it’s a constant transformation that never stops. A transformation that effects all aspects of a company and makes for a whole new working environment and relationships between colleagues and to customers. The constant and ongoing transformation calls for leadership that is agile and able to adapt and keep up with all the changes. Sounds nerve-wrecking, doesn’t it? 

No digital transformation without a digital leader

A quite decisive element for conquest or failure of digital transformation processes is the digital leader who steers the change in the company. And not surprisingly: real digital leaders are in high demand. Because – as said above – every company basically needs them. Digital transformation requires a comprehensive and holistic look at the company. It’s not about changing processes here and there, introducing cloud solutions, etc. It’s about changing culture, it’s about introducing concepts that drive innovation and change, networking against traditional hierarchies, allowing personal growth and making mistakes. It’s about a real transformation.

What’s a good digital leader?

Real good digital leaders have a variety of qualities and the fact that they need to be agile leaders in transformation processes calls into question whether there even is a definition for it, but there are certain traits that can help identify digital leadership qualities:

  • Flexibility
  • Agility
  • Active and open leadership
  • Curiosity
  • Digital mindset
  • People Skills
  • Data knowledge
  • Vision

Of course, any combination of the above traits can work really well. It’s about incorporating the skills more into a mindset. It’s not as important to have the technical skills than to understand the technology as a process. The skill is not to know how the software works, the skill is what the software can and will do for the company, what role it will play and who needs to be a part of it.

Where to find them 

Yes, and then comes the big question: where to find people with this mindset? Of course, there is no one answer to this and they for sure aren’t easily found. In a way the traits of a digital leader also apply to the searching process: it needs to be flexible, agile, open, knowledgeable and willing to look beyond the traditional concepts. Know what you’re looking for and be open to find candidates in an entirely different place than expected. And get someone good to help you with this! 😉

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