Leading in the digital age

The threat posed by digitisation to employees is omnipresent. Even in areas that are introducing digitization, it is one of the most important issues:

Job loss through digitization!

According to a recent study by Mc Kinsey, 30 to 40% of all employees will have to find a new field of work for themselves by 2030 (Getting practical about the future of work, Jan 2020). This massive change process is a great challenge for the existing management!

Of course, this applies both to their own management style and to the management of employees in terms of qualification, motivation and joint achievement of objectives.

Timely and open communication with appropriate accompanying measures will be indispensable to keep the “right employees “ on the job.

The starting position

The changes in everyday working life, especially through the use of modern methods of automation and the innovative capabilities of „artificial intelligence“ or, correctly, „machine learning“, result in completely new possibilities for improving manufacturing processes.

This especially affects qualified employees with activities in a rather standardized procedures! The new possibilities present these employees with two alternatives. They have to invest massively in further training in order to be able to continue to cope with the essentially demanding tasks of creating and monitoring automated processes or they are reduced to individualized, but very simple activities in niches.

Employee Challenge

Interestingly enough, many employees are aware of this problem, but very few of them make use of existing training measures to escape this dilemma. Even in today’s more „agile“ teams, the willingness to take responsibility is not equally pronounced among all team members.

As we all experience ourselves, changing behaviour is a long-term process and usually requires close monitoring. The management team plays a key role in determining which employees feel comfortable with the new challenges and which do not!

The leadership style

Hierarchical management styles hardly exist anymore, at least if one can believe the management principles of most companies. In reality, hierarchical thinking is still widespread, as it provides clear structures and responsibilities for everyone and seems to be much more easy for everybody.

Leading in the matrix, the acceptance of co-responsibility and thus employee participation will be a decisive change for successful companies. Those change of leadership principles will not come overnight or just with a workshop. It will need a clear plan, daily work and a continuous challenge of the own behaviour.

Important leadership principles remain unchanged

The authenticity of the management team, the living example of the principles that apply to everyone and the sustainable implementation of strategic initiatives will continue to stand for the credibility of management.

Focus on innovation and training 

The changing components are certainly the time pressure to react quickly and efficiently to changing conditions with customers and suppliers. Open communication about upcoming changes is a „must“ for employees. Plans for further training measures and the participation of employees in the change process is also an important accompanying measure.

Dealing with it offensively

The changes brought about by the advancing digitalisation and the fears of the employees associated with it could not be swept under the carpet. An offensive and active approach to you will give the right employees the necessary security to have a perspective in this company in the future. Addressing and acting is therefore the right motto.

It will be worthwhile to think ahead and invest time and maybe external support to prepare for the future.