The digital age can be scary – it has enormous benefits, but also poses very real threats to our humanity in the workplace. Indeed, the way we work is changing: we need to learn and acquire new skills all the time, and adapt to constant changes and updates.
For today’s leaders to stay effective, they have to develop soft skills and cultivate their leadership, their assertiveness and their communication capabilities. Only then will they truly contribute to ensuring the success of their organizations. New management methods are putting the collective above the individual, but in the end, the individual ability to make decisions, the capacity to resolve conflicts and the notion of accountability remain crucial.
Regardless of the technological advances we’ll witness in the coming years, human beings will need to continue developing their empathy, critical thinking and creative thinking. Those behavioral skills won’t be able to be carried out by a computer and will therefore make a big difference in the business world. This challenge touches everyone, and not just the newer generations. The limits in our emotional intelligence affects the way work together, interact with each other and carry out projects.
According to a Forbes study that tracked 20,000 new hires, 46% of them failed within 18 months; 89% for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of them for a lack of hard skills. This gap in soft skills is having severe impacts on talent acquisition and retention within organizations, which in turn is affecting organizational performance. Soft skills in a corporate context will become increasingly important because interactions will rely more and more on digital technologies. To best operate these technologies, emotional intelligence and digital leadership is critical.
An independent study conducted by CrossKnowledge in 2016 showed that an overwhelming majority of organizations (82%) agree that learning to use digital technologies is the most needed skill for today’s organizations. However, only 40% of them have dedicated digital training programs for their employees. In reality, digital skills go much further than knowing how to use digital tools. In the words of Eshet-Alkalai “Digital literacy involves more than the mere ability to use software or operate a digital device; it includes a large variety of complex cognitive, motor, sociological, and emotional skills, which users need in order to function effectively in digital environments”
To act on this today, here are some simple steps that will help you roll-out digital leadership in your organization. Start by overcoming fear. Lack of familiarity with digital tools can be a strong cultural barrier to digital transformation in organizations: it’s time to move past the fear and embrace the change! Then, it’s important that you self-assess your own digital literacy.
It’s important for your organization and your teams to know where they stand when it comes to digital literacy. You need a way to measure where you are and where you may struggle the most. In addition, because digital technologies change all the time, it’s essential to measure regularly because your pain points may change. Finally, don’t be scared to explore! Based on the results from step 2, get familiar with the myriad of technologies out there. Start by asking yourself the question “What do I want to achieve for myself, for my team, and for my organization?” Even if you can’t use them now, if you did, what would the benefit be?
Once you complete these steps and start implementing these new technologies, you’ll be able to spark collaboration, to share smarter and ultimately to boost productivity.