The Future Of Work: Leading With Digital Transformation

The business industry has changed considerably since the beginning of the 21st century. Several factors caused this commercial transformation, the foremost of which involves – as you can guess – the world's rapid digital conversion. Recently, global events such as an ongoing pandemic have also contributed to the creation of today's shifting marketplace. So, how does digitization affect the future of the workplace for business leaders? Leaders must possess new skills to remain relevant and ensure success in this tech-dependent world.

Just as many jobs will become irrelevant in the future, specific “soft skills” considered crucial for leaders will also gradually disappear. If you wish to elevate your career and communicate effectively with clients, colleagues, and customers, acquire the abilities deemed “the norm” in 2021. These capabilities will help you pursue the newest opportunities for gaining excellence in your career. In the world of a rapid digital transformation, only those leaders and managers who are creative, innovative, and emotionally alert will survive.

1. Tech Management
Let's begin with something obvious for all employees who wish to become future leaders to leaders who want to retain their positions. The world has become more tech-dependent than it was. As apparent from recent COVID-19-driven transformations, this dependence will continue to persist even after the pandemic is over. Automation and artificial intelligence will become mainstream. A survey shows that over one-third of managers spend 3-4 hours daily on administrative tasks. But AI, in the future, will redefine management. Managers should learn how to use tech solutions to gain the maximum benefit thereof in order to get their jobs done. They must embrace new technologies and induce workers to adopt them too.

2. Data Analytics
And how can you hone your tech management skills? Well, educational programs are now available online for professionals who wish to improve their digital expertise. These facilities allow employees and future leaders to acquire the right skills without attending on-campus classes. You can pursue the Leading the Future of Work course online to explore factors that influence the world's digital transformation. Such courses will help you gain the basic know-how of skills relevant in the future.

You must also focus on honing your data analytics acumen. Experts opine that jobs in this field are vital for companies in the upcoming days. These skills enable business leaders to make data-driven decisions and eliminate risks/threats in the policy-making process, thereby ensuring more success.

3. Accepting challenges
Employees expect future leaders to combat challenges head-on instead of merely preventing them. Since the future work environment is expected to be riddled with competition among companies for better products/services, managers must learn to accept challenges.

Workers want someone who motivates people to escape their comfort zones and improve their self-confidence. A courageous leader keeps her/his team ready to meet new challenges while delegating essential responsibilities to them. It makes workers feel trusted and valued.

4. Being result-oriented
Gone are the days when leaders would assess employees' productivity by how many hours they have put into their work. Future leaders will now have to focus on results instead of hours as many employees will prefer to work remotely. Freelancing will also encourage business leaders in the future workplace to become result-oriented. It was already speculated that 40% of the American workforce would become freelancers in 2020. Truthfully, about 59 million people in the United States are self-employed. Leaders must be more result-oriented to ensure their subordinates are more productive. In the future, companies will not obtain profits by ensuring employees work certain hours daily, but by empowering and educating them to generate results.

5. Communication & motivation
A great leader must be an effective communicator as well. This requirement won't change for future leaders. So, what's the point of mentioning it here? Don't forget that methods of communication have changed drastically since the pandemic and will continue to change in the future. Employees will rely more on digital media for communication and collaboration. Therefore, it's a leader's responsibility to adapt to changes and learn to utilize digital means of communication too. Only by doing so will leaders be able to inspire a wave of change throughout the company. Hence, learn to use apps and tools such as Zoom more effectively now.

6. Honesty & transparency
Who doesn't like an honest person? This trait won't stop being important and sought-after in future leaders. Instead, it'll become more necessary than before. A study by Glass Door indicates, when a company shows transparency, it becomes more successful. And future organizations can't conceal information as effectively as they can hide it today. Therefore, business leaders must also practice transparent communication with workers. A dishonest leader won't succeed in the future office.

7. Commercial awareness
Many employers complain that recruits show a complete lack of “commercial awareness” today. What does it mean to be commercially aware? Employees should know how their business operates. It's akin to an accountant knowing how the money circulates worldwide. Business leaders need to understand the organization's objectives, learn about the industry, and identify competitors. This awareness will enable leaders to contribute more to the success of their organizations.

8. Emotional Intelligence
A recent study confirms that emotionally intelligent people make well-performing employees, managers, and leaders. Termed as EQ, emotional quotient isn't an ability machines have mastered yet. It allows people to manage/control their emotions and show empathy towards others. Therefore, EQ makes a leader an active listener and an excellent communicator. It enables managers to make better decisions while leading with the “human touch” that is gradually being lost in the world's digital transformation. It'll give a leader an advantage in the future of the workplace. Hence keep harnessing your EQ.

9. Tolerance for diversity
The workplace shall continue becoming more diverse as immigrants, minorities, and cross-border nationals transform into integral members of American workplaces and society. Future leaders must learn to embrace diversity and show their support for inclusivity. Gone are the days where the “straight white man” had privileges over others. Your teams will consist of people from different racial, ethnic, and sexual backgrounds. So, you must learn to be more tolerant of diversity and understand that it only promotes productivity.

10. Cognitive Flexibility
This skill allows you to shift your train of thoughts swiftly from one concept to another perspective. The business industry has become fast-moving, where ideas and situations alter in the blink of an eye. Trends relevant today may become obsolete in the next moment, and successful products can start failing shortly.

Employees want a leader who can lead them through these changes while simultaneously focusing on the organization's commercial objectives. As a leader, you'll be tasked with managing several responsibilities while at the same time making informed decisions. So, start bolstering your cognitive flexibility to become an eligible leader in the soon-to-be future workplace.

How will the workplace change in the future? Future leaders have begun asking this question as the business industry undergoes heavy changes under the banner of digitization. We know that several technologies – such as automation, FinTech, and virtual reality – will prevail in future work environments and industries. Therefore, you must focus on acquiring the skills needed to successfully manage work and navigate in this digital world. As more millennials assume roles in management and leadership, they must understand how digitization will influence their generation and those yet to come.

Have you heard that many jobs that exist today will disappear in the future? Similarly, it's predicted that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't been invented yet! And these jobs require people well-versed in technology and well-equipped with digital expertise. Future leaders must be empathetic, transparent, and emotionally intelligent. They should have cognitive flexibility, be result-oriented, and also tolerate diversity in the office. Keep developing these skills to become successful business leaders post COVID-19.

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