How To Be An Effective Leader In The Digital Age

The growing digitalisation of business means the older models of leadership are less effective in a modern workplace. Managing a super-connected and fast-changing work environment is a challenge for both new and experienced leaders who seek to inspire and support their team.

In this article, the experts on our LEAD21 ILM Leadership & Management courses share the skills effective managers need to motivate their team to thrive in a digital workplace.

Digital literacy

Most companies, from large global organisations to start-ups, are embracing digital transformation and emerging technologies to facilitate organisation growth and future proof their business. In a period of breathtaking change, most leaders recognise the importance of digital literacy in taking their business to the next level.

Digital literacy means being able to comfortably use technology to share, evaluate and manage work. A digitally literate leader possesses both technical knowledge – the ability to use technologies to fulfil business functions – and digital fluency – an understanding of the role technology plays in our daily and professional lives.

Virtual Collaboration

The growth of digital in the workplace means staff members might be dispersed throughout different locations or even countries. Effective leadership uses digital technologies to facilitate team collaboration, information sharing and innovation. Being able to manage your work using technologies such as Skype, Google Docs and Google Hangouts becomes a necessary skill.

Our LEAD21 ILM courses are committed to enhancing the digital literacy skills of participants. By using digital technology to deliver the course, alongside face-to-face teaching, the digital delivery and the short length of the course offer an alternative to the more traditional classroom-based courses.

Course participant Paul found that the use of technology in learning encouraged collaboration. He says, “The course encourages us to use technology to keep in touch.”


Being able to utilise data to inform decision-making using a good balance of insight, experience and intuition is a crucial leadership skill in the digital era. Whilst harnessing analytics is a fairly recent tool in leaders’ toolbox, it encompasses a mix of already existing leadership skills, including critical thinking, problem solving, opportunity scouting, communication and the ability to focus on key issues.

Design Thinking & Innovation

Some problems can’t be solved using data or past experience, which is where innovation comes in, employing a wide variety of methods to solve complex problems. Design thinking uses systematic human-centred approaches to solve difficult problems and discover opportunities for innovation.

There are many applications for design thinking and innovation, from developing new business ideas to identifying value in existing products, services and technologies. Be prepared to challenge yourself on how you can develop your leadership skills to gain competitive advantage.


Being able to adapt and thrive in new circumstances is an essential skill for any leader in the digital age. In practice adaptability, a skill considered essential for emotional resilience, can take on several meanings.

Depending on your organisation, it can be developing an openness to introducing new technologies to your business or working with different cultures – a leadership imperative for larger organisations.

How to be an effective leader in the digital age?

Inspired to learn more about developing your leadership skills to benefit your career and organisation? Take a closer look at the benefits of attending the LEAD21 ILM courses or view our LEAD21 course dates. If you have any questions, take a look at our FAQs or send us an email!



June 4, 2018
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