Digital HR Summit: New Leadership Competencies

My second session at the Digital HR Summit is with Jennifer Jordan from IMD on leadership competencies in the new digital world.

Virtual teams can work better than face to face, but don’t have the same opportunities for knowledge sharing, so leading these teams is a challenge

Power is more distributed so leaders need to be better at working in the open

We need to get out of our comfort zones eg moving from being a functional expert

Leaders don’t need to know digital technology procedurally but be savvy enough to know what is possible, and be able to build a network around it.


Leadership was all about the individual but now is all about the network they create around them, so they pull in other people’s technical expertise, and be mentored by others from across the organisation.

This means the new competencies include connecting with other, facilitation skills, etc. In my discussion group we talked about the more digital the environment, the more important our human and relational skills become (why in The Social Organization I write about knowledge workers becoming relationship workers).

Also balancing data with gut insight (my ‘wisdom artist’ point again).

Specific competencies in IMD’s model include:

Humility and self awareness (learning from experience, and especially failure)

Adaptability and comfort with uncertainty (being both opinionated and adaptable)
Visionary (having and being able to sell and emotionally influence or persuade people around this; simplifying; learning, building and measuring in a scrum type way, outside of software design)
Engaged (being in an ongoing listening mode).

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  • jon [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com



I graduated from Imperial College, London in 1987 and joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as a systems development consultant. After ten years in IT, change and then HR consulting, I joined Ernst & Young as an HR Director, working firstly in the UK, and then, based in Moscow, covering the former USSR.More recently, I have worked as Head of HR Consulting for Penna and Director of Human Capital Consulting for Buck Consultants (the HR consultancy owned by ACS).

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