3 Questions to … Leadership From a Research, Coaching and Practitioner Perspective

MBS Insights: Which key skills characterize a digital leader or an executive of today and/or tomorrow?

MBS Prof. Dr. Ellen Schmid

Ellen Schmid: This is one of the central questions on which there is still a lot of uncertainty and no final answers have yet been found in research. We have therefore conducted numerous interviews with managers and HR decision-makers and asked them what they consider important. A central requirement seems to be to break up organizational structures. It is becoming more and more important for managers to think in networks, to exchange information, to break out of rigid hierarchies and to question old thinking patterns. Likewise, executives have to develop an inspiring vision for the company more than before. At best, this creates a sense of unity among staff and gives employees the feeling that they are contributing to the achievement of an important goal. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly important for leaders to be responsive to each employee and his or her individuality, and to give everyone a sense of importance.

Gabriele Müller: In my opinion, key skills for digital leaders are help with escalation, role clarification, building trust, perspective changes and dealing with proximity and distance when working from home. In addition, the motivating and varied organization of team meetings and the design of an open, efficient and continuous communication process are important core competencies of a leader of tomorrow.
This requires self-care, getting into touch and mindfulness to generate new perspectives and approaches to solutions. All potentials of the employees should be recognized and optimally exploited in order to lead the employees to the point where they can get the best out of themselves.

Sven Zimmermann: From my point of view, the executive changes into a person who understands and makes possible. This means that in an increasingly digital world, the focus is interestingly shifting towards human and empathic aspects. In the future, the key qualifications of the digital leader should focus on the soft factors, because the focus is shifting to content and rigid processes are therefore an “evil” from the old world and have to adapt more and more and again.
Digital leaders today are developers of potential. They are responsible for the provision of resources and have to give employees the freedom to make decisions. As part of the team, they serve as a source of inspiration and orientation and delegate responsibility. They are trustworthy, open and honest. The most important key skill of an exemplary manager is therefore to conduct authentic conversations with employees.

Would you like to get deeper insights into this topic? Then we recommend our trainings Certified Digital Leader, Systemic Business Coach and Certified Agile Project Manager, which we offer in cooperation with the interviewed persons and companies. Find out more on our website!