Developing Digital-Savvy Leaders: The 20% of Skills to Fine-Tune

Disruptive technologies are redefining the role of leaders in forward-thinking organizations. These coachable skills will help position your leaders for success in the digital age.

In my previous blog Developing Digital-Savvy Leaders: You May Already Be 80% There, I discussed the foundational traits that are predictive of effective leaders in the Digital Age. The good news: 80 percent of the competencies that have always defined good leaders remain the same today. The other 20 percent comprises a newer set of leadership tools that are essential to overcoming the challenges and unlocking the opportunities of digital transformation.
These capabilities—which are highly teachable—all revolve around driving a culture of innovation to meet the Digital Age.
Foster Learnability: To lead a knowledge-based organization is to embrace a paradox: what you know is less important than what you can learn. Today’s effective leaders are continuously learning, curious about technology and open to fresh ideas and innovative ways to help the business grow and change. And to accelerate organizational performance, they foster that same curiosity in the workforce through opportunities to learn new skills, reshape existing ones, and diversify into new areas. 
Unleash Talent: Digital transformation doesn’t reside in a few machines on the manufacturing floor or in a server in the IT department. It permeates all levels and functions within the organization, and a digital-savvy leader has to motivate every team member and align their contributions to achieve success. Leaders who champion career development aligned to new digital business models will create a talent-focused workplace culture that attracts the best and brightest. 
Dare to Lead: Having the courage to lead is a critical but often under-appreciated skill in turbulent times. As the organization moves through a digital transformation, leaders at all levels should feel empowered to drive the agenda forward. Senior leaders must sanction a culture of measured innovation and reward managers who bring entrepreneurial passion and wise decision-making to the job, day after day.
Disruptive technologies are redefining the role of leaders in forward-thinking organizations. But that doesn’t mean you have to start at ground zero with your leadership development program and pipeline. The fundamental attributes of brightness, endurance, drive, and agility remain vital and relevant—and if you’re not already assessing for these traits, you should start. Next, layering in coachable skills around fostering learnability, developing talent, and leading with courage will help leaders amplify their influence at all levels and take the organization forward.