How leaders can stay relevant in ever-evolving workplace
ACQUIRING new abilities while nurturing timeless skills will help leaders become digital leaders – and stay ahead of the competitive game.
The rules keep changing as digital transformation sweeps through the workplace, affecting almost every industry and sector. The pace of digital disruption is accelerating, and it is impacting on leaders.
ManpowerGroup South Africa managing director, Lyndy van den Barselaar, says: “As the lifespan of skills continues to diminish, it is more important than before for leaders to be focusing on skills development.”
A combination of personal traits that remain relevant over time and emerging digital skills can help business leaders become the digital leaders of the future. The good news is that experience and soft skills can help leaders to lead their teams through the digital transformation.
Here is how to nurture the right skills to stay relevant in today’s evolving workplace.
Nurture timeless soft skills
Certain skills never go out of style even as digital changes affect the rest of the workplace.
According to the Accenture’s Inclusion in the Digital Economy 2018 report, the rapid pace and scale of technological change and global flows of information, among other forces, are disrupting labour markets and fundamentally changing the future of work.
The powerful combination of attributes like brightness, adaptability, endurance and drive set a solid foundation for effective leaders, and are predictive of future success. “The good news is that soft skills can be nurtured, with the right amount of dedication,” adds Van den Barselaar.
Develop learnability and curiosity
The Inclusion in the Digital Economy report says that in most job adverts, the demand for employees who take the initiative to develop their own skills has increased by nearly 300% since 2010.
In a world of rapid, frequent disruption, new skills emerge as fast as others become obsolete. What you know now is less important than what you can learn.
“Learnability is defined as the desire and ability to grow, and adapt to new circumstances and challenges throughout your work life. Today, professional success is determined both by an individual’s ability to adapt to change and their willingness to own the progression of their career,” says Van den Barselaar.
Digital leaders need to be role models by seeking out different experiences, unusual perspectives and by being open to fresh ideas.
Acquire digital skills and expertise
Leaders must have an understanding of the technical skills required to transform their business effectively. They should surround themselves with experts and take time to stay informed about the latest trends, challenges and opportunities facing their organisation – and continue to upskill and learn in this regard.
Don’t stand still
Digital transformation is not a one and done – it is here to stay. Change is dynamic, so agility and continuous adaptation is essential.
Feedback is important in identifying the steps leaders should take, be it from management, mentors, coaches or connections.
“Seek connections with people that can give you constant, constructive feedback on where you are in your journey and how you can improve,” she says. Throughout your career, plan to innovate, experiment and learn fast.
“Tomorrow’s environment is just beginning, focus on being ready for it,” says Van den Barselaar.