The Hands-on Digital Leader of today

Digital transformation is something we have been talking about for close to a decade, ever since it was first coined in 2012. Digital transformation is the method of using digital technologies to create new or modify existing business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet the ever-changing business and market requirements. This just got accelerated, thanks to the pandemic. 

What does it mean to leaders?  


Though challenging in many ways, digital transformation is a facade that changes every process of your business from planning to execution and leaders cannot ignore this if they want to succeed.  

To leaders, digital transformation is not just about adopting technology, it is also about overcoming resistance to the changing way people think and work. Companies everywhere may even need to rethink the composition of their top management teams keeping digital in mind.  

Why hands-on?  

Have you ever heard of great leaders who are completely detached from their teams? Those who do not involve themselves with the work as much as they can and just ends up letting go to a large extent.  

Well, I have not!  

By hands-on, I am not talking about micro-management. They are two different things altogether. Micro-management can be stifling for the people who work with you. Hands-on is when as a leader, you are assisting your team, being there for them, but let the teams take ownership and drive things. Over the years, thanks to running multiple businesses, I’ve had to let go mostly, but I still try to stay connected enough to help the leaders in my teams. 

The Digital Leader 

Not everyone is a digital native, especially those of us from Gen X. However, the challenges the leaders of today face are nothing compared to a decade or two ago. One must learn to quickly believe and adapt, in other words be willing to be digital immigrants. To be successful, leaders must learn the different facades of the digital world that help shape product design, user experiences, and technology direction.  

Many would object to this and say they can just hire a tech expert. I am not against that, in fact you must! However, being literate digitally is something that you must do as well. And when you are hands on, you already have that rapport with your team to push the change thanks to your open communication channels. Yes, getting your own hands dirty is clearly one way if you want to reap the benefits of digital. 

You will agree that especially in the pandemic induced world that we live in today, nothing is more important or comes close to digital. If not for it, many companies would not have been able to survive. Just as leaders spend time on products, services and user experience, going digital is also crucial. With businesses turning digital, the onus lies on the leader to lead their company’s transformation personally. GO digital or GO home! seems to be the mantra now.

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