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Development of Digital Leadership



The world is evolving due to dynamic and fundamental changes in the environment, this changes comes as a result of development of new technology. Organization needs to adapt these changes into their business in-order to gain competitive advantage which also leads new leadership challenges.

In a more digital environment leadership needs to be more decentralised and use collective competence and intelligence in the company.

‘’According Wilson et al (2004) digital leaders can be defined functionally by their contribution to the transition towards a knowledge society.’’ There are types of digital leaders such as operational, resource mobilization, structural and awareness leader. Operational leaders are where leaders in a company or government institution allocate and control the soft and hard infrastructure which are vital to the knowledge of society. Awareness leaders persuade number of people to patronize new IT system as resource in-order to help them achieve their set objectives. Resource mobilization leaders persuade companies to acquire and utilise valuable resource to increase the use of ICT more widely whether with high political support or money. Structural leaders are high-profile leaders who use their power to persuade congregations about shifting towards a new kind of distributed digital society and that information resolution is not only about the use of ICT tools.


As the world keeps on changing, digital innovation also change and not static. Due to this, leaders in various companies or organisations must need a mix of leadership skills to be able to manage the activities of the company effectively and efficiently.

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There are disruptive changes in higher education such as the nursing schools which has had a great impact in the healthcare work environment, due to this, successful leaders must possess certain types of skills such as agility, inter-professionalism, civility and strong capacity for strategic emotionally intelligent communication (Thompson et al 2018).

These skills when implemented in a workplace or school environment will help provide better and more transparent communication at all levels of the organization.


Leadership agility is the ability to undertake effective action in complex issues in fast dynamic conditions. Joiner et al (2006) assessed four types of attributes that make up agility which includes:

Stakeholder agility: deals with how leaders perceive the viewpoint held by various stakeholders and how fully they establish considerable alignment with them.

Creative agility: deals with skills needed to solve unusual and complex problems

context setting agility: deals with how a leader select and form relevant initiatives such as knowing one’s goal as a leader together with vision or mission of an organisation enables him or her to select option that is in line with the school or organization mission and vision.

self-leadership: deals how actively leaders learn from their experiences.


This deals with skills that leaders in the healthcare must acquire in-order to deliver optimal and improved to patients by collaborating, learning and sharing new skills. Universities and other higher educational institutions (medical schools) are now of the aim to equip graduates to meet demands of society by equipping them with knowledge and skills that can contribute to enhance the conditions of human beings. For example University of Alabama at Birmingham has implemented leadership academy in the school of medicine to aid improvement in strategic thinking skills, focusing on opportunities and challenges facing the Alabama healthcare centre. (Savage et al 2014)


In recent times incivility has be on the rise in the work environment which has led to an increase in cost to companies and individuals. According to Anderson and Pearson (1999) civility is a form of behaviour which constitute the act of showing politeness, respect and regard to others in the work environment. Incivility results in reduction in job performance leading to high employee turnover and causes customer dissatisfaction. (Porath et al 2015)

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A leadership consultant and a health surgeon, Michael wood (2010) proved a case that civil leadership is important for the current care environment which is stressful, disruptive, complicated and demanding. However, if these are experienced in higher education which caused by new business model, fast technological changes and restriction to access of resources, academic nurses will experience a work place which is risky, stressful and subjected to incivility. It’s the responsibility of a digital leader to set a standard of behaviour that is expected of people in the work environment that will encourage positive behaviour. This can be done by establishing core values for nursing academy which incorporate caring and empathy in the work environment.


Changes in the work environment due to the digital world demand for leaders who are skilful communicators. According to Jones et al (2013), communication strategy provides a framework that contains the objectives and approaches for communication to ensure information reach the right people in a right way. In the digital word consideration has been placed on content clarity and one’s own emotional intelligence which are the two fundamental leadership skills, these are different from the past where information was hold unto without communicating it to people.


Clarity of information helps people to understand and adopt ways to implement change. Clarity gives explanation of prevailing circumstances that reduces uncertainties, due to this a leader must be able to explain the factors that causes challenges. For example, give an understanding of how reduction in budget will have on organisation or school and the people within the organisation. This will ensure transparent communication among people within work or school environment. The ability of a leader to make know the challenges facing the organisation will help increase his or her credibility when taking decisions in difficult situations.

Development of emotional intelligence is one of the best aspect for a successful leadership.

‘’Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise and take into account one’s emotion and the emotions of others in interactions’’ (Coleman 1995). Making people within an organisation aware of this helps them to control their own behaviour through interpersonal interaction leading to positive results and prevent conflicts. Leaders who can check their own and others emotions help them to acknowledge difficult situations to put them in a position where they have greater ability to resolve stressful situations and conflicts.


This report gives the understanding that the world is changing which requires leaders to acquire new skills that will enable them manage an organisation or school in the digital era. Some of the skills that is needed particularly running a nursing academy are agility, civility, interprofessional, strategic communication (clarity and emotional intelligence).


  • Wilson III, E.J., Goethals, G.R., Sorenson, G. and Burns, J.M., 2004. Leadership in the digital age. Encyclopedia of leadership1, p.4.
  • Thompson, S.A. and Miller, K.L., 2018. Disruptive trends in higher education: Leadership skills for successful leaders. Journal of Professional Nursing34(2), pp.92-96.
  • Joiner, W.B. and Josephs, S.A., 2006. Leadership agility: Five levels of mastery for anticipating and initiating change (Vol. 307). John Wiley & Sons.
  • Savage, G.T., Duncan, W.J., Knowles, K.L., Nelson, K., Rogers, D.A. and Kennedy, K.N., 2014. Interprofessional academic health center leadership development: the case of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Healthcare Leadership Academy. Applied Nursing Research27(2), pp.104-108.
  • Porath, C., Gerbasi, A., & Schorch, S. (2015). The effects of civility on advice, leadership and
  • performance. Journal of Applied Psychology,100(5), 1527–541.
  • Jones, K., Baker, P., Doyle, J., Armstrong, R., Pettman, T., & Waters, E. (2013).
  • Increasing the utility of systematic reviews findings through strategic communication. Journal of Public Health,35(2), 345–349.


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