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

Home Forums Leadership and Management How will the advancement in technology affect leadership styles in the future

This topic contains 17 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Ben Tornton 6 months, 1 week ago.

  • Author
  • #158268

    John Holland

    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

  • #158300

    Steve Ressler

    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

  • #158298

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

  • #158296

    Mark Forman

    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)?

  • #158294

    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.

  • #158292

    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.

  • #158290

    Mark Forman

    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.

  • #158288

    John Holland

    Thanks Mark for your insight and info!

  • #158286

    John Holland

    Thanks Dorothy!

  • #158284

    John Holland

    Thanks Courtney!

  • #158282

    John Holland

    Thanks Andrew!

  • #158280

    John Holland

    awesome stuff, thanks!

  • #158278

    Steve Ressler

    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
    Delete Comment

    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
    Delete Comment

    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
    Delete Comment

    Well said Charles.

    Comment by Charles A. Ray on Monday
    Delete Comment

    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.

  • #158276

    Here’s the blog post link I promised to share:

    Last August when I posed the original question in a wide variety of LI groups and other communities (including GovLoop), I got some amazingly thoughtful and insightful responses. This post consolidates those responses and offers a preliminary structure for organizing the ideas. It also seeks additional input on both the core question and some specific follow-ups.

    It’s a great conversation that’s only just begun…

  • #158274

    Christopher Dorobek

    I think one of the more interesting challenges for leaders is… HOW do you communicate. I have come to believe that e-mail is passe — yes, it dominates in most government organizations right now, but that is bound to change.

    I wrote a column for AFCEA’s Signal magazine a few years ago: The First Step Toward Collaboration Is to Stop E-Mailing – SIGNAL Magazine

    And I think we are seeing this come to fruition more and more… See this GovLoop piece: Could your office survive “No email” for 80 days?

    There are better tools out there every day, but we continue to try to use e-mail to collaborate.

  • #158272

    Mark Forman

    terrific post Chris. I think one of the issues at many agencies is that the workflow is paperbased, so the email system serves as a way to move electronic papers (word, excel, .pdf, and other documents) along an approval channel. We’ve had workflow tools and document sharing tools like sharepoint that are becoming more and more prevalent, but it seems that most agencies are still relying on email for document sharing. This is best documented in storage purchases by agencies, where there are typically terabytes of storage being acquired quarterly to handle the email attachments.

  • #158270
  • #358608

    Ben Tornton

    I think that in the future, there will be many opportunities to prove oneself as a leader, but I think that politics and the career ladder will step aside.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.