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How will the advancement in technology affect leadership styles in the future


We are part of Voyagers 2012 and are putting on a breakfast in May that will focus on how the advancement of technology will affect leadership/managment styles over the next 10 years.  For example- we believe collaberation, multi-tasking, agility, communication, versatlity will take on entirely new meanings.   

How will leaders need to adapt and prepare for this evolution that is on the horizon?   all comments are welcome!  Thanks for your insight



Tags: leadership, tech

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It requires leaders to be fluent in new technology - both the tech but also the culture and norms of new communication technology

Requires leaders to be even more human.  As new technology like video, Twitter, internal collaboration, requires leaders to be with their people and speak with a human voice


awesome stuff, thanks!

Older blog post, but gets at my thinking on this subject:

Thanks Andrew!

For government, the biggest impact comes with a change in administration.  At it's core, IT advances are about lowering transaction costs.  Over the past 10 years, content storage and management has been the partner trend.  In the 1990s, process management was the partner trend.  If we assume mobile technologies (and end-user devices) will be the partner technology over the next ten years, then tech-savy leaders will demonstrate that they have figured out how to use mobile devices and app's development to differentiate their organizations' performance.  We are likely to see a big round of government leaders sponsoring mobile apps development to show that they are "ahead of the curve." Will their action provide big gains in government effectiveness? Will these leaders turn government into an information or apps provider to drive America into self-governance models?...probably not.  I cannot see government leaders at the supervisory level threatening their operating models.

So, in 2017, when a new Administration shows up, I would anticipate lots of leaders who come into government and dramatically shift the use of mobile computing to drive government productivity up.  That probably means lots of work around integration across levels of government, while shutting down mobile apps development efforts that benefit government dedicated developers and compete with commercial apps stores.  

I also think this will have dramatic implications on data ownership and bandaids like  Many of you may have seen Steven VanRoekel's FOSE speech about getting a handle on 400,000 data sets.  The issue for leadership isn't just the data sets, but answering questions such as how many times are different government agencies collecting the same data (there are over 6000 forms at  How do 6000 data collection forms become 400,000 data sets?  How much federal regulatory reform (the basis for the 6000 forms) will be doable politically, as local governments continue to use Twitter, Yelp, etc. for regulatory enforcement and give up less effective data-collection and licensing regimes (e.g., can you get better health care reviews from Twitter or another website than the decades old government attempts at publishing such info)?

I raised a similar question last August - What are the defining characteristics of leaders in the Digital Era? - and got some great responses. Later this week I am going to publish a post that shares the feedback I received, provides some preliminary models for framing leadership competencies, and solicits additional perspectives and insights. I may include a link to this exchange there, and I will be sure to post a link to the post here.

PS - The GovLoop responses to my initial question will be in the post, including the link to Andrew's 6 competencies post.

Thanks Courtney!

I think, overall, the workforce is going to become a lot more decentralized.  Although I just posted a blog about the challenges of telework at some agencies, I think these problems are going to be solved over the next 5 to 10 years because office culture as a whole will change.  Teleworking is already here.  Online education is already here.  And as devices like smartphones get cheaper, more and more people will have access to technologies that will allow them to work from anywhere, at any time.  As workers spread out, leaders of the 21st century will have to adopt styles that allow them to effectively manage employees who are, literally, all over the place.

This is great insight with key implications for how agencies operate.  Some seem to be focused on consensus based decision making, so that a lot of time is spent walking halls to build support for your point of view. Others want to see people working, and their managers often consider the ability to see/prove work is most important. Too many agencies fear confronting people with change in light of data that shows significant reforms to be needed. 

If Dorothy is correct, maybe we'll shift from those management styles that rely on "going along to get along." Instead, we would see leaders and manager shift from friendship-based styles to a more data-driven, result-based management framework.

Thanks Mark for your insight and info!

Thanks Dorothy!

Not sure if you saw this thread of answers when we cross-posted it in our Gov 2 group:

One of the things I find interesting is that this environment, not necessarily the technology but the environment the technology has wrought, is showing the fundamental lack of leadership skills by those in leadership positions currently in the government and business. While both the things Andy and Charles mention are aspects of good leadership, the skills I think that are essential are vision, communication, and fluid thinking. It is not enough to know how to navigate the road before you; you must also know where you are going and why. A good leader must have vision enough to recognize risk and threats and courage to keep moving toward the goal while adjusting for setbacks and the unexpected.

Good leaders will use whatever technology is available to them to advance their mission. Today's technology increases communication and decision-making when applied properly. Leadership is communication and decision-making. Decision-making is about observing the situation at hand, orienting yourself to the situation with your mission goal in mind, making a decision on that information and acting on that decision. Acting knowing that your action, your input, will change the dynamic and hopefully that change will be in your favor. If not, then recognizing the change and trajectory, deciding and acting again using what ever technology will enable you to gather information to make better decisions to move closer to your goal in a timely manner.

It is not about the amount of information, but the accuracy and timeliness of relevant information that makes the difference. Knowing what information is relevant and what is not is also a key skill of a leader. Understanding what are your key performance indicators, why they are your key performance indicators, and when to change them is critical. Technology can help if it supports a leader's KPI and communication with and among the team.

Back in the early 1990's I had the opportunity to look over and into the cockpit of the Soviet Sukhoi SU-27 "Flanker" fighter aircraft. It was sparse and relatively rudimentary especially compared to the US McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle. At the time both aircraft were the height of aeronautical achievement for their respective countries. I also met the first US Air Force Pilot to fly the Flanker. His normal aircraft was the Eagle. He said something to me that I find relevant to this conversation. He said, something to the effect: The SU-27 is an amazing aircraft. It's power and maneuverability are very close to the F-15. I would not want to be in a dog fight with any of these SU-27 pilots I've been flying with, they are very, very good. But as long as I can knock them out of the sky 4 miles before they can see me I won't have to ...

Technology that provides responsive communication and relevant, timely, and accurate information; plus leadership that inspires the team to remain on task and on target will equal mission accomplishment.

Comment by John Bordeaux on Monday
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So perhaps the real challenge is:  How to continue leveraging timeless leadership methods in an era of data overload and information scarcity?  I agree with Charles, and go a bit further:  Truly great leadership has always been about understanding that leadership emerges from the interaction of a leader, the team, and the situation.  Rapid adaptivity has always been the coin of the realm, the question is how to evolve our competencies in an accelerating environment.  

Trust one's intuition is ideal in a high-stress environment, rely on your experience to guide you.  However, Cognitive Resource Theory holds that the experienced leader will continue to rely on intuition without reflection in low-stress environments.   This endangers innovation, and the very adaptivity needed for successful leaders.  

As ever, context matters. 

Comment by Andrew Krzmarzick on Monday
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I agree that great leadership styles are timeless...but wondering if there are a couple new competencies that have become more important:

- ability to analyze lots of data and make decisions more quickly

- trusting one's intuition in making that quick decision even though data is not fully baked and keeps on rolling in...

Those are just a couple = not new necessarily...but maybe added emphasis for today's leaders. "Rapid adaptivity" might be the best way to put it.

Comment by Gerry Cooney on Monday
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Well said Charles.

Comment by Charles A. Ray on Monday
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Andrew:  I think the question that should be asked is, has technology changed what are effective leadership styles?  From my own observations, it hasn't. Effective leadership today is not much different than the time of the Roman legions.  Technology might have changed the ways we apply leadership techniques, but team building, empathy, communication, honesty, and integrity, are still as important as ever if one is to be effective as a leader.


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