In the race to digital transformation it is easy to forget that many of today’s senior managers did not grow up in the digital era. The experiences that younger workers might take for granted were not part of a senior manager’s formative years, and so there can be significant scope for differences in thinking and approach when it comes to using digital tools now.
But as organisations pursue their digital agendas, it is vital that all employees find common ground, regardless of their background. And that means managers taking the necessary steps to align their skillsets and management approach to what’s appropriate for the digital age
One of the keys to effective digital management comes through actually learning how to use the tools, as demonstrations of their power tools can be enough to start a manager on their digital journey.
Because these tools are delivered over digital networks, they provide strong options for managing remote workforces, which are increasingly common today. But at the same time, digital delivery also makes them accessible from remote locations, or even from mobile phone, providing greater convenience and more options for interaction for managers.
In the end, simply encouraging leaders to use digital tool can go a long way towards creating a digital mindset.
For HR leaders specifically, digital tools provide many ways to undertake management tasks more effectively, as the digital machinery can take care of many routine tasks and free leaders up for more human-oriented activities.
One of the key areas where they can assist is in data capture, such as when managing performance. Modern digital HR tools can form the basis of systems where workers take on some of the management tasks of setting and updating goals. They can also lead to more regular and effective feedback and coaching capabilities, and create a comprehensive record of interactions. The tools can also sift this data to surface the patterns and events that are most meaningful to the manager.
This in turn generates one of the greatest challenges that HR leaders need to embrace – that digital tools can democratise access to data throughout an organisations. For HR leaders specifically, this can mean giving workers greater access to data relating to their performance.
Hence managers need to learn to release some of their control over data and allow employees to play more of role in managing their own situation. This is one example of where leaders may come to realise that being a digital manager actually means taking onboard more than just the functions of the tools themselves.
It is also important to remember that when a manager embraces digital, that does not mean that the rest of the workforce has already gotten there. And that means ensuing all workers are equipped and trained to use digital tools in the first place.
How would you rate your own skills as a digital manager, and how much more do you consider you have to learn? We’re always keen to hear more about the strategies you are using to advance your digital skills and how you are bringing other leaders and colleagues along on the journey.