Remote Work - Double edge sword.

“In an era of unprecedented industry disruption, digital leaders are spinning more proverbial plates than ever before,” begins Ramyani Basu, Partner at Kearney. “Today’s digital leaders must live, breathe, and drive the right digital mindset, skillset and cultural changes across the organisation so that digital is not looked upon as just ‘a programme’ but rather a revitalised way of doing business going forward.

“Digital leadership is about driving change at pace and scale and building the required support across the organisation to bring everyone else along for the journey. This means that a digital leader must act as a broker between the business and technology, an orchestrator of business and customer outcomes, a networker and collaborator with external partners, and a true leader of people.”

Echoing Basu’s thoughts, Amanda Line, PwC Partner and PwC’s Academy Leader adds,”Leadership has always required a specialised set of skills, such as curiosity, empathy, and decisive action. In today’s world, there is an urgent need for a new type of leader – one who has a digital mindset and has the skills to drive transformation. With the ever-expanding spectrum of new technologies, we need a new wave of digital leaders who not only understand the application of intelligent technologies in the workplace, but also know how to enable and empower their teams.” “These skills not only motivate and drive your teams forward but are also essential when it comes to influencing your stakeholders,” continues Basu.

Adding to Basu’s essential traits, Line says, “Knowledge of digital and data literacy is a given essential to have a strong command of the future economy. In my opinion, what’s even more important are human-centric skills. It is the soft skills such as communication, resilience, emotional intelligence, and entrepreneurial thinking that are pivotal in this new-age digital world.”

However, despite the demand for future skill sets “we’re currently facing the biggest skills shortage of our lifetime, adds Line. “PwC’s Middle East CEO survey highlighted that 80 per cent of CEOs believe that a shortage of skills in the workforce is one of the key threats to their organisation’s growth prospects.”With COVID-19 shining a light on the need for digital leaders to be more resilient and responsive to immediate threats and opportunities, “agility and adapting to new ways of working became paramount,” explains Basu. Further adding to Basu’s comments, Line says, “Prior to the pandemic, the World Economic Forum set an ambitious target to upskill one billion people by 2030. This was initiated to tackle the 75 million jobs expected to be displaced by automation and AI by 2022. Since Covid-19, the window of opportunity to reskill has become shorter in the newly constrained labour market.The role of a digital leader as the pandemic progresses

With Line highlighting that “84 per cent of employers are set to rapidly digitalise working processes, including a significant expansion of remote work—with the potential to move 44 per cent of their workforce to operate remotely,” the role of a digital leader has “evolved from a state of ‘respond’ to a mode of ‘recover’ and ‘reimagine’,” adds Basu. “As next steps for recovery and re-invigorating growth, digital leaders must redefine and respond to customer needs. COVID-19 has resulted in a major shift when it comes to customer expectations and demands,” she adds.

This article has also been published in: Business Chief

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