Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » How to be a leader in the digital age

With digital transformation having a significant impact on the business industry, and on all aspects of an organisation’s structure and strategy, having a leader with the ability to steer a business to success is critical.

So, what are the most important leadership attributes in the digital era?

In the Advanced Trends Survey Report 2016, 86% of UK business professionals highlighted the ability to reimagine a business as the top characteristic of a business leader in the digital age. 71% of respondents said that acting with pace was the most important attribute, while 61% thought that taking bold decisions was the number one priority. Just 45% thought that a strong digital skillset was the key leadership quality, with 34% opting for a digital first vision.

With adapting to change therefore a crucial aspect of a leadership role, the report suggested that UK leaders still have room for improvement in this regard, as 30% of survey respondents said that they were “not very confident” in the ability of the management in their organisation to anticipate change.

Speed of response

Another key concern for business leaders is how quickly they can respond to change, with the structure of the business key to ensuring a speedy reaction. 74% of respondents said that their businesses were structured in a hierarchical manner, the disadvantages of which are perceived to be poor communication, increased bureaucracy and slow response to change.

Next steps for leaders

While UK businesses have a solid understanding of the qualities necessary to demonstrate good leadership in the digital age, the Trends Survey Report highlights a “disconnect” between the characteristics required for the role and the degree to which business leaders are equipped to move their business forward and set it up for success.

Change management must therefore be a top priority for the C-suite, concluded the report, in order to “innovate, grow and prosper”.

The Trends Survey Report 2016 surveyed over 1,000 business professionals in the UK and identifies the top issues facing UK businesses in the face of serious digital disruption.