10 skills effective leaders must possess in digital age


The hyper-connected, dynamic work environment requires organisations to redefine the traits of an effective leader in the digital era.

The new-age digital world of work is different from how it was until a few years back, and in line with that, the definition of effective leadership has also undergone a sea change. In addition to inspiring and supporting people to achieve the desired outcomes, the digital era requires leaders to be more agile and nimble in adopting the new times, and yet be very grounded in ensuring the same human connect that brings people together to work efficiently.

This is why, developing great leaders is now one of the biggest agendas for chief executives across organisations. This hyper-connected, dynamic work environment now requires organisations to re-look at their long-held leadership-grooming models, and the foremost step in that direction is to redefine the traits of an effective leader in the digital era. Here are some key skills that leaders need to possess in the age of digital transformation.


This is one trait that has been really overhyped in how it has been used ins various contexts across business, while losing out its real essence and application in the real world. Agility in mindset, behaviour and actions is a key skill for leaders in the digital age. The ability to use iterative approaches to divide work efforts into short phases, for early and frequent evaluation; and the flexibility to pivot and transition between varied roles and activities is what makes one agile in the true sense.

Cross-functional dexterity
This is an important quality for leaders, to be able to effectively collaborate across a range of functions, ensuring interconnectedness and streamlined operations across the organisation. In addition, great leaders are capable of offering solutions to cross-functional challenges.


Is your business ready to adapt? Do your leaders have the required skills to take your business forward?


Design thinking
It is the ability to take a design-centric approach to work, while combining empathy, ingenuity and rationality, to address customer needs. This can be achieved by observing behaviour and drawing conclusions about what customers want and need.

Analytical/data-driven mindset
This is one of the most crucial and defining skills that leaders need to possess to be able to survive and be effective in the digital age. Using data and insights for better decision-making and the ability to take a balanced approach to make data-driven decisions have become vital to working in times of big data and analytics.

Virtual collaboration
With flexi-working and remote-working becoming increasingly common, the leadership rules for managing remote or virtual teams have also changed. New-age leaders need to be able to productively drive engagement and demonstrate the power of their presence, even as leaders of virtual teams. They need to be open to leveraging behaviours, practices, techniques and tools that facilitate ef?cient and effective cooperation among dispersed collaborators.

New media literacy
Being socially active and leveraging all media to effectively communicate is essential for leaders in the ‘here and now’ times. This skill entails the ability to leverage new media for persuasive communication and use techniques that target social networks and applications to spread brand awareness and promote products and services.

Computational thinking
This is a problem-solving technique that allows one to decompose a certain problem into smaller, more manageable fragments that are easy to analyse and then draw patterns to look for feasible solutions. It is the ability to understand and practise data-based reasoning, and translate data into abstract concepts. It is what makes leaders adept at finding effective solutions to complex issues in the digital era.

Passion for continuous learning
One trait that never fades out, but has become even more important in the fast-paced dynamic work environment now, is the zeal to learn more. The enthusiasm to seek out and acquire new information and knowledge coupled with a sense of curiosity and a willingness to continue to develop and grow is what will prevent leaders from getting outdated in times of digital transformation.

Team-based orientation
One of the evergreen and most essential skills that leaders need to display is the ability to understand and use behaviours, practices and processes that optimise team interaction and facilitate achievement of common goals. Being an accountable leader to the team and having a desire to achieve consensus and involve others in decision making is vital for any leader to succeed meaningfully in the present times, and more so in those to come.

Customer-centric orientation
A skill that is important for every employee in an organisation, but is a make or break for determining the efficiency of a leader is customer orientation. Great leaders consider customer experience above all. The skill involves using practices and techniques to identify and resolve pain points most critical to the customer.

Leaders in the digital transformation age cannot do without the new skills mentioned above. In addition to conventional skills that never run out of importance, these skills here will redefine effective leadership in the times to come. They will determine how good leaders function and organisations need to consciously identify and develop their leaders with a strong focus on these skills.


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