“These leadership qualities are particularly important”
“To me, leading in the digital age means, first of all, that the possibilities of modern communication are used, for example with Microsoft Teams, Zoom or other tools. Apart from technology, the following leadership qualities are particularly important to me, as they have played a major role for me, even before the digital age. On one hand, it is about trust, i.e. that managers rely on their employees. Especially in times when teams are led from distance. The second point is participation. This means that employees are involved in decision-making processes and that the manager does not make decisions alone. Another point is flat hierarchies, with the effect that decision-making paths become significantly shorter. Furthermore, open error culture is also crucial. Employees are allowed to make mistakes, they are not punished, but they learn from them and share this learnings with the team – so that everyone takes something away from it. And, of course, it is also about a culture of innovation. Employees should contribute their ideas, regardless of whether they are interns, working students or managing directors. We, at nextexitfuture work in that way too”.
“In the future it will be all about sharing leadership responsibilities”
Prof. Dr. Jutta Rump
“Digital leadership can be defined in two ways. A narrow definition is about leadership in digital contexts. So the question is: How do I lead a team in a digital world where there is interaction between machines and people? The broad definition revolves around Work 4.0 and New Work. There are many approaches to describe the term. I like to choose a pragmatic one: Firstly, New Work is about flexible working, in terms of time and place; Secondly, it is about the creation of meaning, purpose and talent orientation in personnel development and deployment. Thirdly, it’s about agile forms of work, i.e. working in a very self-determined, self-organized way and, more or less, without hierarchy. The fourth element of New Work is the topic of participation and democratization, also in management areas. The key question here is: What remains of leadership when it is no longer about mere instruction or the specific professional aspects? When leadership means shaping the framework alongside the supposed management tasks. Taking care of the employees, having an open ear, encouraging employees’ willingness and ability to learn. To create an environment, which is fun and in which one does not have to be afraid. To find and promote the strengths and talents of the teams. And although you might delegate more than before, this results in a much higher requirement profile. And if you are sincere, you will realize that a manager cannot fulfil all these tasks alone. And if the intrapersonal approach – one person combines everything – is no longer valid, then you have to deal with the interpersonal approach. Then it’s a matter of finding co-leaders to make up for the missing skills. In other words, it’s about a really smart composition of leadership teams and sharing leadership tasks according to respective strengths. If you think about this consistently, it means: You don’t have to leave it at the management level. You can delegate certain tasks to the team. And that closes the circle and we are back to the topic of participation, democratization of leadership and, ultimately, agile working methods”.
“Job sharing has proven its worth in the crisis”
“What do you need in digital leadership? Trust! You have to listen and, of course, create models so that people can organize themselves differently in the first place. We have noticed that organizations with flat hierarchies, which already put a lot of trust in their employees before Corona, have managed the crisis much better. If you have established a culture that supports people in driving forward the issues on their own responsibility, where not everything is regulated top-down, processes work better. Job sharing is a good example, because it is based on a sparring partner principle at eye level. You entrust teams with tasks that they then solve them together. Corona has shown that this is the right approach: If one tandem partner has to take care of the children’s homeschooling at the moment, the other can handle the matter accordingly. Such developments will intensify in the future.”