A New Form of Leadership for the Digital Era

HRHQ Digital Leadership

by Thomas de Zeeuw,  Managing Director of cut-e (an Aon company) for the Netherlands and Belgium

Newer technologies and tools are driving big changes in how we work and in our personal lives. And as our workplaces become increasingly “digitized,” there’s an emphasis on new ways of thinking and working to get the most out of ourselves and others around us.

This is certainly true to a large degree, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the best way to work with people in this digital landscape is a new way of thinking that retains a bit of the “analog” path: responsive leadership.

More Profit and Satisfaction

A study by Nick van Meulen of 100 organizations and 70 managers found that employees who were encouraged by their organisation to decide for themselves where, when and how they worked not only felt strengthened in their daily work, but their organisations themselves also performed better in terms of profit and growth, and in employee satisfaction.

These were organisations in which new ways of working were stimulated and that were open to suggestions from employees and continuously offered new learning opportunities. Organisations that were set up in this way, in which connecting with the employees was the most important thing, stood head and shoulders above their competition.

Everyone Is a Leader

To ensure that your employees are encouraged in this way, you need the right type of leadership. The study says organisations that prioritized responsive leadership had better-performing teams, and that departments and people came together. The research emphasizes that responsive leadership is necessary to realize the benefits of a digital workplace. This can require a change in mindset — more trust in employees, and also in the digital competencies that the entire shop floor needs.

Responsive leadership is based on the principle that everyone can be a leader in any situation, regardless of age, title or position. It is the ability to take action and demonstrate leadership when needed. This makes leaders of everyone and nobody at the same time. And it requires involvement — in the department, team, organisation or community.

Technology is indirectly involved: It’s what can help you listen better to employees or to offer more accessible ways of learning. A digital organisation is therefore not only a trend but can have a major impact on the various important facets of your company. For this we must embrace technology — all its possibilities and all the new competencies that go with it.

About the author

Thomas de Zeeuw is Managing Director of cut-e (an Aon company) for the Netherlands and Belgium. As an Organisational Psychologist he likes to combine in-depth psychology with business development. He has over 10 years of experience as a global solutions provider for HR corporate clients. Thomas graduated in Work and Organisational Psychology at the University of Amsterdam in 2007. Before that he gained experience in various sales representative roles for different companies. After graduation he has gained experience in the field of HR, psychology and recruitment. He has extensive experience in graduate recruitment processes and designing and conducting assessment centers. He is able to generate efficiencies in assessment processes and he enjoys establishing long-lasting relationships with clients. His strength is to combine implementation and maintenance of solutions with a service focus and sincere interest in clients.