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Where leadership goes wrong in a digital world

Female manager on her laptop

As waves of change continue throughout the pandemic working landscape, digital technology is on the rise. Asana, Monday, Zoom, Trello, Teams – they are part of both our professional and personal life and they won’t be going away. 

In many ways, the introduction and our acceptance of digital technology has made managing staff much easier. Whether it is getting your people to Toggle their timesheet, or tracking group conversations in Slack, oversight and transparency seem bizarrely more achievable when people are working from various places.  

What might be in short supply though is humanity. As a manager it is much easier to see your people as numbers on a chart, pixels on a screen, boxes to be ticked. It is much easier to cross a professional/personal ravine when it is a digital, rather than a physical valley you need to scale. What you find on the other side might not be in the best interests of your organisation.  

Bridging the digital divide 

Digital technology changes our relationships. We are ever-present on the other side of a glowing screen, and inhumanity occurs when your demands don’t take into account family, or downtime, or hobbies. It’s all too easy to phone or text outside of office hours when there’s a perception that we are all at home now anyway.  

Effective leaders inspire and engage people with clarity and optimism regardless of where their teams work – no easy task when you’re relying on communicating via digital channels. From lacking intentional plans to nurture a creative culture, to failing to build trust in relationships, there are many mistakes that managers make with remote teams, but a standout is disregarding social and emotional wellbeing. It really gets to the crux of the issue for managers – that if their people aren’t always present in real life, then their empathy can begin to wan.  

Building connections by being human 

Research worldwide shows that mid-and-post-pandemic employees expect their jobs to bring a significant sense of purpose to their lives, and employers need to meet this need or see their staff turnover increases. Areas that influence a worker’s sense of fulfilment include purpose outside of work, purpose from work, and purpose from the organisation. It is that last one that is essential for managers to grasp and act on, because it is all about fostering a thriving organisational culture.  


HR managers expecting employers to prioritise employee wellbeing

Skills Consulting Group revealed in recent research that 93 percent of HR managers are expecting employers to prioritise employee wellbeing. This means that these organisations have realised the importance of employee experience; the way employees interact with their manager, their co-workers and their company is essential to productivity and staff retention. The key skills for the future aren’t all digital, they’re interpersonal. Learn how to be a good leader, a good mentor, how to manage expectations and facilitate solutions. In the rush to learn ongoing new digital technology, it is easy to forget that at the end of the day, we are just people operating it. 

The future is human, and the skills to achieve success are ultimately human as well.    

Find out more about how our people can help yours here 

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