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The concepts of leadership and the way we define them have been oscillating over the years. In the past, leadership was mostly associated with being a strong individual or leader, and it was primarily connected to the ability to manage resources, people, and capabilities to accomplish specific tasks. However, this definition of leadership has evolved over time, and it is now increasingly linked to change and the capacity to transform the direction of a company in an ever-changing business environment.

Today, the global landscape of workflows and organizational structures is undergoing a significant shift towards optimization through digital tools. By leveraging the power of data and decision-making capabilities, organizations are now able to automate processes, foster connectivity, drive innovation, and make more informed decisions. As a result, companies from various industries and sectors are embracing digitalization and implementing digital transformation strategies to gain a competitive edge in their respective markets in various ways.

Communication with Employees

In the past, organizations typically followed a hierarchical model of communication. This model mainly involved top-down communication, restricting cross-departmental interaction. As a result, employees at mid- and lower levels of the organization had limited opportunities to contribute to the organization’s direction or express concerns related to the work culture or problems they encountered. The lack of open channels for communication hindered the sharing of new findings and knowledge.

Akofada (DFS Ethiopia)

Moreover, surveys on leadership have consistently shown that a top-down organizational structure creates a disconnect between the company’s vision and culture and the internal motivation of its employees. Consequently, this disconnect often leads to reduced productivity and output.

However, the emergence of digital channels such as Microsoft Teams and Slack has brought about significant changes. These platforms enable seamless communication and collaboration among employees across different departments. They facilitate intra-departmental learning, assistance, and cooperation. Importantly, digital channels also provide an avenue for leaders to actively seek input and ideas from mid-level and lower-level employees regarding operational and strategic issues.

The utilization of digital channels has had a positive impact on employee engagement. By fostering better communication and interaction, these platforms increase intrinsic motivation among employees, resulting in higher levels of productivity. Additionally, digital channels serve as an effective means for organizational leaders to transmit the company’s values and ideals throughout the entire organization.

Business Process Automation

Business process automation (BPA) is the utilization of digital tools to automate everyday tasks. For a leader, it is crucial to have the necessary space and time to assess the business environment in which their organization operates. This enables them to make informed decisions that drive value and foster growth within the company. By implementing BPA, leaders can minimize their involvement in routine tasks, thereby freeing up mental capacity and resources to focus on strategic thinking and exploring new business avenues.

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The landscape of BPA is evolving with advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, giving rise to Intelligent Process automation (IPA). IPA goes beyond BPA by incorporating intelligent automation capabilities. According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Co., IPA has the potential to yield significant benefits for businesses. It can result in cost efficiencies ranging from 20% to 35%, as well as reduce the time spent on day-to-day tasks by 50% to 60%. These outcomes provide leaders with more valuable time and resources to dedicate to strategic considerations for their business and operational growth.

Information and Decision-Making

Data and information play a crucial role in enabling businesses to make well-informed decisions. With the widespread availability of the internet, the amount of data accessible about customers and the business environment has grown exponentially. This expansion provides us with the opportunity to utilize data analytics effectively, allowing us to tailor our products to meet the specific needs and preferences of individual consumers.

In today’s dynamic business landscape, company leaders are constantly seeking new opportunities and evaluating potential expansions. The use of digital tools empowers us to access the necessary information that enables leaders to make optimal decisions for their businesses.

Moreover, beyond merely providing information, leaders can now harness the power of open-source AI tools to enhance their strategic decision-making processes and shape the future of their companies. These tools offer valuable assistance in analyzing complex data sets and generating insights, facilitating more effective and forward-thinking decision-making.

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Michael Tomas Gebremariam, an Associate Consultant at Shega Insights, has a passion for exploring the intersection of the digital economy, behavioral science and leadership. With a deep interest in these fields, Michael seeks to understand how technology can be used to transform the lives of individuals and communities in Ethiopia and beyond. For any inquiries or to connect with Michael, he can be reached at [email protected].