Source: @ianlumsden

What is leadership in a digital workplace? What attributes do we expect from leaders and how are these different?

These were just some of the questions and topics raised in our recent series of Digital Leadership panels conducted in Sydney and Melbourne.

Both events involved  active audience participation that navigated our way through current and future issues being encountered in digital workplaces. In fact, the definition of a digital workplace remains contested – ranging from the use of enterprise technologies (including social platforms & apps) being widely adopted across an organisation ie. the digitisation of work – to the concepts of complete changes in the nature of work, how we approach tasks and how work is managed.

This led to some debates about the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms, chatbots and of course, robots. The concept of a management proxy as a chatbot created a flurry of exchanges as the groups traversed the issues ranging from objective feedback on performance (versus manager’s favourites), more timely and regular feedback, to the question: What will managers do if AI/chatbots and robots are doing a substantial portion of their administrative work?

The attributes of a digital leader introduced the concepts of trust and authenticity – while transparency was questioned: the good, the bad and the see-through.

There was agreement that traditional models of leadership were becoming irrelevant – which raised the question of how we develop future (and current) leaders. Are our traditional leadership programs preparing people for the future of digital workplaces?

The panel sessions were actively engaged through the Twitter channels – thanks to Jakkii for collating both events into a Storify.
Sydney Storify and Melbourne Storify

Highlights from the Melbourne event were also captured by Rebecca Jackson in a fabulous sketchnote:

Digital Leadership sketchnote Melb


In addition, Anne and Euan joined Kai Reimer and Sandra Peter from University of Sydney Business School to record a podcast for the Sydney Business Insights series: Leading digital change in the workplace. 



In Melbourne, thanks to Rita Zonius of ANZ who hosted the panel event – Euan and Rita recorded a BlueNotes video: Can sharing help us beat the robots?



The overall conclusion: Leadership is no longer simply a title – it becomes an earned position with people following their leaders based on respect. It’s less about effectively using new systems and processes and more about networked mindsets that can nurture cultures of innovation and adaptability.

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