Leadership 4.0: What successful leaders do differently in the digital era

We often underestimate the scale and speed of change that occurred in the 20th century. Scientific discoveries and technological advances transformed many aspects of our.
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We often underestimate the scale and speed of change that occurred in the 20th century. Scientific discoveries and technological advances transformed many aspects of our daily and working lives. Today, many jobs still involve long commutes, hard physical labour and little opportunity for professional development or personal fulfilment. But what if that all could change? The digital age will not only reinvent the way we work; it will reinvent the workplace.

The Digital era leads to a more inclusive workspace, a chance for co-workers to collaborate, regardless of the distance between them. The digital era now allows us to work anywhere at any time, playing a key role in the work/life balance for families. It is now fully possible to swap long commutes to the office for the precious moments of being available to run our kids to school and still be online for a full day of work.

Leadership 4.0

Now, more than ever, leaders have to navigate unfamiliar, challenging times, a quickening pace of change, increasing expectations, and a rising tide of rapidly-evolving conditions. These volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) times  present daunting challenges and leaders have to navigate these changes with integrity and provide positive, impactful leadership as the business landscape takes a new shape.

What is the difference between traditional leadership and Leadership 4.0?

There is now a thirst for leadership and for new leaders. We will need to learn new ways of leading: how to successfully manage people who are not sitting in the office where you can see them; how to measure and reward in a virtual work place and how to virtually connect diverse skill sets that will lead to optimum results. As Klaus Schwab notes, “We need leaders who are emotionally intelligent, and able to model and champion co-operative working. They’ll coach, rather than command; they’ll be driven by empathy, not ego. The digital revolution needs a different, more human kind of leadership”.

Five things successful Digital leaders do differently

Leadership 4.0


Whilst traditional managers clearly define responsibilities and roles, Digital leaders learn to distribute tasks according to the situation and team competence, where the abilities of managers together with employees are continually linked; success means all participants contribute their competence networking intelligence.


Whereby traditional managers control orders, plan resources, and evaluate results, Digital leaders control voting processes and discourse, evaluating tasks and results together with team members. They use resources according to potential and competence (cross-functional and cross-hierarchical); practical results are generated by integrating constant feedback between internal and external stakeholders.

Leadership 4.0


Traditional managers review the performance of employees individually in fixed cycles. Digital leaders recognise that situations determine the need for assessing employees and teams equally, with feedback continually occurring.

Managing Conflicts

Rules with consequences are common in traditional leadership, whereas Digital leaders foster an open atmosphere with the learning effect in errors, placing the company’s own responsibility for solutions in the foreground.


Creating new ideas for new products is typically extremely challenging for a traditional leader, as it does not fit the normal cycles or processes. A digital leader understands that innovations are based on a team’s focus on a common goal to make the best possible use of the abilities of each individual. Innovation is learnable; this is helped by transforming old structures through the use of multidisciplinary teams, flexible working environments, and creative processes.

Leadership 4.0

Leadership 4.0: How Ready are You to be a Digital Leader?

Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) revolves around managing challenges in a business environment that it is highly disruptive, increasingly digital and predominantly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). Leaders at all levels need to develop the relevant competencies and skills to successfully adapt to new realities when leading in a disruptive VUCA World.

VUCA is an acronym that emerged from the military in the 1990s. It describes the “fog of war” — the chaotic conditions that are encountered on a modern battlefield. Its relevance to leaders in business is clear, as these conditions are highly descriptive of the environment in which business is conducted every day. Leadership as usual, including creating a vision, is not enough in a VUCA world.

Leading in a VUCA world not only provides a challenging environment for leaders to operate and for executive development programme to have an impact: it also provides a much-needed range of new competencies. The new reality is resulting in the realisation that new and different capabilities are needed for leaders to succeed in this new normal.

Leadership 4.0 Masterclass: Succeed in the highly Disruptive, Digital and VUCA Era of Industry 4.0

Leadership 4.0

Our Leadership 4.0 series of highly practical workshops are designed to develop the relevant competencies and skills for leaders and future leaders operating in today’s highly disruptive, VUCA World. The Leadership 4.0 Masterclass will provide insights and prepare leaders to inspire, empower and create a culture of agility and innovation. Whilst some leaders may be overwhelmed by the complexity of this disruptive world, we see this as an exciting time for bold and forward-thinking leaders to.

This intensive, highly interactive programme combines proven in-action techniques, peer interaction, real-time feedback and insights from the latest research to help participants master the competencies required to lead and thrive in Industry 4.0.

Leaders who complete this Masterclass you can expect to:

  • Understand the impact of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) on leadership styles in today’s dynamic business environment.
  • Apply powerful skills and techniques needed to lead through VUCA and to motivate, empower and inspire others.
  • Create an innovative and change-ready culture in your organisation.

Topics Covered

Creating a 4.0 Culture; Trust; Empowerment; Accountability

  • The skills required to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution.
  • What Leadership 4.0 is and why it’s key in today’s world.
  • Culture and its impact on performance and outcomes.
  • Learning to let go and empower others.

Leading Effectively in a Disruptive World

  • Understanding VUCA.
  • The key principles to lead people, teams and the organisation through VUCA.
  • E.A.P competencies of effective leadership.
  • Too many bosses, too few leaders.
  • Leading and engaging a multigenerational workforce.
  • Six skills needed for effective collaboration in the workplace.

Managing Complexity and Ambiguity

  • Working with complexity and ambiguity.
  • How to define uncertainty and turn this to understanding How to enhance adaptability.
  • Embracing digital disruption and planning for it.
  • Addressing complex issues/problems in the absence of the full picture/information.

Create an Agile/Change Culture

  • Apply five steps towards achieving an agile ideology.
  • State the actions and behaviours required to develop a ‘fail fast, learn faster’ culture.
  • Define the power of habit and understand how to manage the habit hoop.
  • Identify behaviours in themselves and others that may reflect disengagement or lack of coping due to change.
  • Apply techniques that assist the decision-making process to speed up the pace of change.

Cultivating Innovation

  • Building innovation from the business unit up.
  • Common characteristics of truly innovative companies.
  • What innovative leaders do right.
  • The impact of poor leadership on innovation and how to change it.
  • How to embed a culture of continuous process improvement.

Access a wide variety of free training resources on our official KPI Consultancy YouTube channel

To take Leadership 4.0 or a soft skills course, tailor-made for your team, please contact us

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