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Five Traits Of “Digitally Wise” Government Leaders.

“Mobilizing wise public leadership in disruptive times”.

Status centered, command-and-control leadership mindsets may no longer be suitable for the challenges that governments face today. In this digital era, citizens and employees alike expect from leaders to get results within turbulent environment, increasing uncertainty and digital paradigm. The crux of the digital leaders’ role is to make people empowered, engaged and happy. But why some leaders thrive in the digital era while others wilts? Leaders need more than intelligence, status or charisma to cope with the digital paradigm, they need to be “digitally wise”. Yet the knack for wisdom is not something readily taught in classroom. This contribution is meant to share new insights that enable leaders to embrace the digital wisdom mindset. This new concept is presented through five traits that digitally wise leaders have in common.

1. Digitally wise leaders are complexity tamers

It might seem counterintuitive, but the best way for leaders to deal with complexity is to accept the idea that no one can do it. Instead of struggling to get things under control, they rather focus on increasing their influence. It’s like practicing a kind of digital AIKIDO which philosophy is based on taking the energy from an opponent’s swing and redirecting it to one’s own advantage. A digitally wise leader uses social media to gauge attitudes, build influence, shape and build energy on these platforms rather than resist it. By the same token, digital wise leaders apply strategic digital pressures to manage the flow of energy and motivate the action or redirection of smart mobs, much like an aikido warrior physically redirects the energy of an opponent.

2. Digitally wise leaders are boundaries’ breakers

Digital wise leaders tap on the potential of the wisdom of the crowd. They work across boundaries and with many different individuals. With the wisdom of the crowd at the fingertips, they can learn and gather new insights, and then be provided with new solutions to complex challenges. Digital wise leaders are astute users of the principles of social psychology and epidemiology (patterns and spread of viral information) to shape critical masses of energy and direct the spread of information within a digital crowd.

3. Digitally wise leaders are maven navigators

Introducing new ideas to an organization takes innovation, strategic thinking, and vision. However, that’s only half the battle. Digitally wise leaders are able to navigate internal politics and organizational realities. They know how to gracefully tread along the path of competing interests and unique organizational cultures. To do so will take a mix of emotional intelligence, social and political awareness. Wise government leaders are able to leverage these qualities in order to bring about change in even the trickiest environments.

4. Digitally wise leaders are cost killers

Most Government leaders will endure draconian cuts to budgets, digital wise leaders are keen adepts of the old adage that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Under austere budgets, wise leaders are compelled to do “do more with less”. They are entrepreneurial problem solvers, who can creatively and effectively manage human, financial, and technology resources.

5. Digitally wise leaders are value promoters

Digital wise leaders seem to share Émile Durkheim’s viewpoint who has nicely stated that “When mores are sufficient, laws are unnecessary; when mores are insufficient, laws are unenforceable”. Eschewing an excessive focus on laws and regulations, digital wise leaders leverage the potential of shared values to help their organizations build their inner compass.

About the author

Saif ALLOUANI, PhD.
Digital transformation adviser
saif.allouani@gmail.com
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One Comment

  1. May 5, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    wonderful article