Are you managing to lead?

Does the move from Intranet Manager to Digital Workplace Leader require a new way of thinking?
I ask this as, when I look at previous roles and I look towards future roles for myself I see success likely coming from a very different set of skills. Of course Intranet MANAGEMENT and Digital LEADERSHIP (see what I did there?) have very different focuses and should not be compared like for like. Rather, my question comes from asking whether successfully stepping in the digital sphere, from Management to Leadership requires, no, DEMANDS networked thinking? Do those that make this step succeed more than those that don’t? and if your organisational culture isn’t there yet, then are you required to disrupt this culture?

I was fortunate enough to attend a Masterclass from Jane McConnell on the Digital Workplace Strategy earlier this year and then attend the Entopic Intranet Congres in Utrecht, I came away with the feeling that a large part of the skills required to be a successful Digital Workplace Leader might be nothing more than those required in the future by all employees. It’s just we’re  some of the early adopters, ahead of the curve. Jane mentioned that the role of Chief Digital Officer is a temporary role and that of community manager is too.

Why? well Jane feels that this way of working will soon be normal. Leading Digital transformation in organisations has a limited shelf life as eventually organisations will have digital in their DNA. Leading and connecting digital groups within the workplace as community managers do should become a standard skill all employees have.

So the skills Digital Workplace Leaders need to succeed today will be the new normal ways of working in the future. And with future we are talking 5 years plus. Jane says 5 years, I think this is when we will see the beginning of the end, but I question whether it will take a lot longer to become normal working practice in some organisations, but that is a topic for another blog.

All in all I wonder if we are the colonists of the brave new digital workplace and if so, what does this mean? With 25+ years left to work (lottery win aside), I wonder what the future holds for the digital workplace leader’s career path? Do we need to discover new ways of leading which are only now being explored?



About Dan Leonard

Based in the Netherlands, I've been working on intranets and digital workplaces for over 12 years. Mainly in financial services for Learning & Development, HR and Corporate Communication functions. I am interested in the skills required by Intranet Managers and Digital Workplace Leaders now and in the future.

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