Paul Gerrard

What are modern leaders’ key technical weaknesses?


Modern leaders don’t have to be masters in every single craft. After all, with a strong team and collaborative approach to operations, there can be no limit to what a company can do. However, in the digital age, there are certain key tech-related skills that can distinguish true innovators from the rest of the pack.

Yet according to recent EY research, many leaders lack some of the vital competencies required to succeed. What are these?

1) Leading with digitisation

EY’s research suggests that many leaders fail to understand the impact digital technology will have on their business – not just in the present, but also for future transformations. By developing a deeper understanding of current trends and how they will reshape the environment you work in, you gain a competitive edge over many other leaders.

Has your leadership adapted to the digital age?Has your leadership adapted to the digital age?

2) Digital literacy

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee ranks technology use and applications skills as the third most vital competency for an Australian to have in the current employment environment. Even if your leadership was built on face-to-face communication and more traditional skill sets, embracing technology is going to be key to your continued success.

This doesn’t have to come from formal training. Simply onboarding new talent with these skills can provide the bedrock upon which you learn.

3) Learning to run a virtual team

As the modern workforce becomes more flexible, leaders need to embrace technology that facilitates group collaboration across large distances. This means effective communication technology, the ability to video conference on a whim, and establishing frameworks through which teams of a dozen or more can remain accountable to one another from different corners of the country.

The ability to lead virtual teams was another competency that EY determined to be a core weakness among Australian leaders.

4) Changing the guard

EY reports that in many businesses, leadership will be too resistant to the digital revolution for the company to truly flourish. In these cases, innovative leaders may need to completely refresh the way the organisation is run. Difficult decisions like this are a hallmark of strong leadership.

5) Bringing multiple perspectives together

Think of this as the business-focused version of running a virtual team. Rather than bringing disparate individuals together to help a team run smoothly, you are bringing together different perspective to create a new vision for the business.

By embracing forward-thinking perspectives and dropping any semblance of tunnel vision, a leader can find true growth. However, identifying patterns and adapting to them remains a weakness for leaders. One solution here is total immersion in a system that forces leaders to adopt this “360 thinking”.

Do you understand the value of 360 thinking?Do you understand the value of 360 thinking?

This is not to say that leaders are completely unprepared for the rapid advancement of technology. EY identified that managers generally exhibit several important strengths for digital transformation, including:

  • Adaptability and the ability to execute plans.
  • Hyper-collaboration (with a focus on breaking down siloed teams)
  • Developing and onboarding the next generation of talent.

This last point is perhaps the most important. Without a strong base of talent that will grow to lead your business in the future, all the technological competency in the world won’t help business growth. Don’t just identify talent for technical savvy – onboard them for the improvement of your business’ standing.