What are digital leadership skills?
With the rate of technological change showing no signs of slowing, digital leadership skills are becoming vital for managers of any workforce.
08 February 2022
Good digital leaders don’t need to be experts in emerging digital technology that could be helpful in the workplace, and they don’t need to specialise in a variety of digital skills either. What they do need, is an open mind to digital changes, and an understanding of what skills they and their employees need to make sure the business runs as effectively as it can.
Being willing to try new technologies to support digital transformation can help your business to be more responsive, more efficient, and potentially more profitable.
The workplace is becoming more and more digital every day, and like many managers, you might be wondering “how can I improve my digital leadership skills?” In this blog we’ll explore some of the digital leadership skills you might find helpful to help build relationships with your workforce and develop and grow your business.
What makes a successful digital leader?
The skills a successful digital leader needs, aren’t too dissimilar to the skills a leader in any industry needs. Effective communication, trustworthiness and knowledge of business goals are all examples of skills required, but there are ways that technology can help with these skills including:
- Effective communication: technology can help leaders keep in touch with their workforce faster than ever before, being able to give people answers immediately can get projects started – or stopped which can prevent costly delays
- Transparency: keeping employees and customers in the loop by sharing news with them that they should know about – both good and bad can help build trust in a business. Using digital technology to do it means it can be delivered in the moment
- Willingness to explore emerging technologies: being open to change and adapting your approach to using digital skills can help a business. A good digital leader will find out what these technologies are, and is able introduce them to their workforce without much disruption.
What are digital leadership skills?
Successful digital leaders do well when they focus on some of these areas to use technology to their advantage, let’s take a closer look at some essential digital leadership skills required for the workplace:
Communication is a vital skill for any leader – digital or otherwise. The use of technology can really support effective communication though speeding up getting messages to the right people quickly. Some of the ways you can do this is through effective email use, video conferencing tools and instant messaging apps.
2. Digital literacy
Digital literacy is an essential skill for any aspiring digital leader. You don’t need to be a subject matter expert for each type of digital skill in the workplace, but you do need to know what skills could help your business succeed.
There are some basic digital literacy skills you’ll need to master though, and digital communication is a key one. Does your business have an effective data analyst, digital project manager or social media presence? It’s a good idea to know what these are and the impact and value they could add to your business.
According to this government report 70% of staff were interested in learning more digital skills at work, and when they received digital training relevant to their jobs it improved their productivity and reduced their stress levels.
Making sure any necessary digital training is provided to keep you and your workforce up to date with relevant digital skills, could be really valuable to your business. Take a look at this blog to find out what skills you and your employees could benefit from having.
Good digital leaders are curious and not afraid to make change. But making changes to improve your employee’s digital abilities and simplifying processes thorough the use of digital technologies can be a tough balance. Some employees might think that they’re being replaced by machines, but machines can’t replace the knowledge an individual has about a business, or build relationships like humans can.
An innovative digital leader will use the data available to them to help establish where a person can add more value to a business, and let technology do some of the more menial jobs like recurring tasks or calculating invoices.
4. Digital awareness and adaptability
Technology is constantly evolving. New digital skills are emerging all the time. Great digital leaders make sure they stay up to date with changes to their industry and similar industries by signing up to newsletters, following digital innovators on social media and checking the news regularly. By doing so you can find out about the latest trends and the newest projects that could have an impact on your business.
Being ready to take action and make changes is a key skill, and being flexible can help your business respond quickly if needed.
How can I improve my digital leadership skills?
If you’d like to improve your digital leadership skills, there are a few simple things you can do to get started:
- Check what the digital skill level is among your workforce, find out if your employees are happy with the level of training they’ve had, and ask them what digital skills they’d like to know more about
- Research your industry and find out what others are doing with digital innovation
- Do some digital literacy training, and find time for your employees to do some too. You could even get them set up on Digital Wings to do some learning – email us here if you’d like to find out how you can set up tailored learning tracks for your business.
Being a successful digital leader can bring many benefits to your business: a workforce that’s less stressed and more productive, employees that are up to date with emerging technology and a business that’s ready to adapt quickly to change should it have to.
You can keep improving your digital leadership skills, and help develop your employees digital learning by registering for Digital Wings.
If you're a leader, and want to help your team to develop their digital skills, the Digital Eagles might be able to support you. The team help organisations to develop their own group of Digital Champions through our programme designed for volunteers, employees and trusted members of the community who want to support the people around them to develop essential digital skills.
Click on the buttons below to find out more.
Find out more about Digital Champions here
Explore digital skills for business in this module
Disclaimer: Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.