We began this course just 8 short weeks ago assessing the flat spots and spiky peaks of the world. A world transformed by technology and innovation resulting in rapid globalization and infinite connectivity. As humans, we have transformed from citizens to netizens, ever-reliant on the web for networking, resources, education and social connectivity. By 2015, 60 trillion pages were added to the WWW and today more than 80 million blogs are posted each day…with an estimated world population of 7.1 billion, that equates to 1 blog per 89 netizens (Kelly, 2016). The digital age has no doubt changed the landscape we operate and live in, but also the landscape we lead in.
Despite its challenges with security, privacy, controlling the narrative and fake news, technology can be seen as the answer to many leadership challenges. With studies abound on leadership behaviors, styles, models, and theories, technology is reshaping what we value in leadership and as leaders we are charged with reacting to this change. In many ways, I can relate to Martin’s leadership assessment. ‘Being the hero’ is nearly impossible and quite exhausting, particularly in a hyper-connected world. Within my unit, I strive to push the decision making to the lowest level. I focus on organizing and equipping (through manpower and resources) the unit to succeed without me at the helm dictating every turn. I do not accept “this is how we have always done it” when there are better, faster and more innovative ways, particularly through technology, for us to operate. This is how I assess if I am doing things right or doing the right things.
In concert with Martin’s post, both Jarche (2016) and Newman (2018) believe digital technology in a networked workplace perpetuates autonomy and decreases the need for the traditional “leader.” Autonomy provides flexibility and fluidity and enhances diversity by allowing workers to operate across multiple teams at once. The generation we lead craves autonomy, flexibility, and individualized thinking. Through technology we, as leaders, can and must feed this craving to build trust and foster critical thinking while enhancing job satisfaction and workplace engagement. Technology also enhances the ability to incorporate diversity in thinking by keeping us connected throughout the world. Think about where we all are and how we have come together. Finally, earlier in this course, we reviewed the “Future Work Skills of 2020”: sense making, social intelligence, novel and adaptive thinking, cross cultural competency, computational thinking, and new media literacy. The year 2020 is just around the corner, if we are not leading in a way that advances these skills, we are already behind the power curve. As we continue to navigate the changing valleys and peaks of the digital world, we as leaders must embrace the digital age and lead through technology to empower, adapt, and continually flatten our landscape.
Jarche, H. (2013). Networks are the new companies [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://jarche.com/2013/11/networks-are-the-new-companies/
Jarche, H. (2016, December 8). Closing the learning-knowledge loop. Retrieved from http://jarche.com/2016/12/closing-the-learning-knowledge-loop/
Kelly, K. (2016). The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 technological forces that will shape our future. New York, NY: Penguin Books.
Newman, D. (2018, September 26). Modern digital workplace: 5 current trends making waves in the office. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2018/09/26/modern-digital-workplace-5-current-trends-making-waves-in-the-office/#10f760e76d95