Is digital leadership the new digital transformation? It certainly seems to be one of this year’s buzzwords. A total of 20 individuals and organisations from the non-profit sector made it into the 100 finalists for Digital Leaders earlier this year. Meanwhile, Julia Unwin, chair of Civil Society Futures, recently blogged about how social change is now driven by networks and movements, asking whether we need new styles of leadership to drive this. #Icebucketchallenge was a case in point, an organic campaign that came from nowhere and raised more than $115m (£88m) for motor neurone disease in a single month.
Yet such events rarely happen in isolation. Behind every amazing campaign or digital initiative is a great leader – and it doesn’t always have to be the CEO.
So, what is digital leadership? Is it really more than a passing fad? And why does it matter?
Leadership Has Changed
Digital is a fundamental part of the way the modern leader operates. It’s not just being on the channels – it’s using them to build networks, be more collaborative and respond quickly. The command and control model of leadership feels increasingly analogue, clunky and old fashioned. Your charity may have run the same services for decades but the world in which it operates has changed radically. That’s why we’ve decided to recognise digital leadership for the first time this year as part of the Social CEOs awards.
David McNeill, Director of Digital at Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, defines digital leadership as “leadership that’s fit-for-purpose in a modern world. We perhaps too often deliver the same services, in the same way as we always have. We need to take more time to reflect on whether our services still meet the needs and expectations of our users, as well exploring whether there are more efficient and effective ways of working to achieve the same outcomes.”
Remember the brands that were once household names but failed to adapt to the times, such as Kodak. A forward-thinking leader, quick enough to respond to change, would have spotted that their organisation had to modernise and go digital if it was to thrive.
To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.