In a fast-paced digital world everything is shifting pretty quickly – from technology and consumer patterns to business agility and adaptability. So what does leadership look like in an era of unprecedented change?
Whether you’re a sole operator or have employees, keep these evolving leadership traits on your radar.
Old: Delegate and control
New: Communicate and empower
The traditional model of directing from afar is out, because there’s so much information and increased transparency in the digital age. Today’s benchmark of leadership practice is rolling up your sleeves and putting in the hard yards. Instead of coming from a position of command, work on building up complementing skill sets to achieve your business goals. Working just as hard within your team, if not harder, proves you have what it takes.
Old: Sheer survival
New: Working collaboratively
Work culture in the past had a lot of merit in working ‘hard’, sans sleep, breaks or holidays. But this has shifted to a culture of working ‘smarter’ – more sustainably and collaboratively. More entrepreneurs who’ve experienced burnout and collapse are also advocating wellness and its direct correlation to productivity and creativity. So instead of focusing on the hours put in, focus on finding the right skill sets and experience to work smarter. This collaborative approach is more likely to inspire your team and spark new partnerships.
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Old: Brash confidence
While confidence is always required of a leader, authenticity has replaced bravado. Authentic brands will always appeal to customers more because honesty resonates and builds trust. Being authentic and humble will also make you more approachable and open up lines of communication.
Old: Bound by fixed structures
New: Continually learning and open to change
People no longer stay in one position for life and the average length of a job is three or four years. There’s a lot of swapping and switching and almost no jobs left which will stay the same over time. To keep up, leaders and their team should constantly learn and leadership should cater to developing skill sets instead of fixed rigid structures. The upside of constant learning is it sparks new ideas to stay ahead of the curve.
Old: Thinking locally
New: Thinking locally vs globally
Digitisation means that brands are no longer confined to their local markets, but stiff competition means that appealing to markets locally is more crucial than ever. Having a handle on local area marketing and building up trust and rapport through custom-engineered initiatives underpins wider success. How can you get in front of your local market in a way that is relevant and meaningful to connect and build a stronger brand? At the same time, leaders should be thinking of how they can open their local channels up to wider digital markets at a global level – because of course, digitisation makes the world a very small place. Bartercard has just opened up doors for members to sell and distribute products in China and globally, via the world’s largest retailer, Alibaba. Read how one Gold Coast brand has expanded its market to China via Bartercard’s Members Plus program.