Leadership 4.0 Changes and adaptations required for leaders

This is the last post in our Leadership 4.0 series. Thanks for all who read. In this final post, I want to pose to you several changes and adaptations that will be required to leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The leaders of the future will need to adapt to five environmental changes:

1. Competition – react quickly to faster, younger and dynamic organizations emerging to challenge market leaders.
2. Hierarchy – free up the decision-making process to speed up the pace of change.
3. Technology – harness the talents of individuals to maximize technological advancements.
4. Hyper connectivity – quickly take advantage of the opportunities of hyper connectivity.
5. Transparency – manage change with open and honest communication.1

Seven things successful leaders in the digital do differently

1. Responsibility – Traditional managers clearly define responsibilities and roles. Team-oriented or cross-functional tasks beyond the manager’s outlined hierarchy immediately lead to conflicts. Digital leaders learn how to distribute tasks according to the situation and team competence, where the abilities of managers together with employees are continually linked; success means all participants contribute their competence networking intelligence.
2. Results – Traditional managers control orders, plan resources, and evaluate results (and as a rule, their own comfort zone will define the borders of a project).Digital leaders control voting processes and discourse, evaluate tasks and results together with team members, and use resources according to potential and competence (cross-functional and cross-hierarchical). Practical results are generated by integrating constant feedback between internal and external stakeholders.
3. Distribution of Information – Traditional leaders typically distribute information under an obligation to provide data in a “strategic” and piecemeal manner (embodiment of the “knowledge is power” syndrome). Freedom of information (or choice) leads to control mania. Digital leaders create a transparent framework, counts on a “collectible debt”of self-responsibility and proactive behaviors.
4. Objectives and Assessments – Assessing the performance of employees individually in fixed cycles is within the comfort zone of a traditional manager. Situations determine the need for assessing employees and teams equally by a digital leader, with exchange/ feedback continually occurring.
5. Mistakes and Conflicts – Rules with consequences for violations avoid mistakes are the hopeful path the traditional manager takes before conflicts occur. An open atmosphere with the learning effect in errors is endorsed by digital leaders, who places the company’s own responsibility for solutions in the foreground.
6. Change – Maintaining budgets, stable quality, and minimized risks are a priority for traditional managers, leaving little room for creativity. The energy of a digital leader sustains the high-level willingness and ability for change within the company while deliberately promoting as well as encouraging high agility between the market, customers, and employees.
7. Innovation – Creating new ideas for new products is typically extremely challenging for a traditional leader, as it does not fit the normal cycles or processes. The future is invented and designed, therefore, a digital leader knows innovations are based on a team’s focus on a common goal to make the best possible use of the abilities of each individual (Right Potential). Innovation is learnable. This is helped by transforming old structures through the use of multidisciplinary teams, flexible working environments, and creative processes.2


1. Leadership 4.0: training for revolution. https://www.manufacturingglobal.com/leadership/leadership-40-training-revolution

2. 7 Characteristics of Leadership 4.0 – What successful leaders do differently. https://www.oxfordleadership.com/7-characteristics-leadership-4-0/

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