To say that 21st century technology has disrupted the way we conduct business is an understatement. From small companies to massive corporations, technology is having an impact on modern day leadership. In numerous industries, leaders are forced to balance challenges, navigate change and promote innovation. As a result of these changes, successful organizations are trying to build agile leaders who can adapt to new technologies, yet still have the ability to connect with their team on a personal level.
When it comes to how technology is shaping today’s leaders, Carl Reader sees the positive. As he explains: “It’s also due to a newer way of doing things (which actually often involves technology). Tools to help monitor staff engagement and customer satisfaction are helping today’s new leaders be far more hands on with live data than ever before.”
Case in point: technology allows leadership more flexibility in the way they communicate with their teams. Directives to staff can be sent via email or through management software programs, which means employees can work outside the office and yet still be proactively managed. Meanwhile, video conferencing and online chat work to bridge the distance between employees working in multiple locations.
While the emergence of mobile technology continues to have an impact on the way organizations and people work, many would agree, it is no substitute for human interaction.
Toronto bank executive Sean St. John explains that despite the positive advances technology has made in the workplace, there still needs to be a human component to leadership.
Sean St. John explains, “To be a successful leader, you have to know how to communicate effectively, show compassion, work as a team, and be able to problem-solve. These are all applicable to every field, and they are skills that make you a better leader overall.”
He adds, “In my opinion, having the right team of people is the number one factor when it comes to a company’s success.”
Software engineer Chris Butcher agrees, maintaining open communication is important to becoming an effective leader.
“Our own company’s DNA is all over the product. We think it’s about treating your team as adults -human beings who think and feel – people who want to come to work and do good. If our customers can spend less time on HR admin, more time on what matters to them, and inject a touch of positive energy into the workplace while doing it, then mission accomplished, says Butcher.”
Maintaining a human component in a technology-driven workplace goes back to a leader’s ability to be agile. Agile leaders understand their teams and know how to inspire, influence, and encourage collaboration. They lead by example and make the effort to establish meaningful connections with others. They can also adapt to new situations or challenges and make proper adjustments quickly. Furthermore, the best agile leaders know how to generate results and reach their goals by cultivating high-performance teams. They prioritize effectively, and encourage their team to excel.
As automation continues to emerge in today’s workplace, there’s no replacement for the connection offered in human learning. The human element is still critical to ensure that employees retain the information they learn, and use that knowledge to develop their skills, contribute to the team, and advance in their careers.
That’s why it is crucial for businesses to invest in technology that will benefit both the organization and the individual. For many industries, that means embracing new approaches to developing effective leaders and building engaged, productive teams that can continue to thrive in the future.