As technology evolves, an increasing amount of business is done remotely, especially where leadership and management are concerned. Previously, effective leadership meant being in front of a team at all times, ready to manage people and tasks at a moment’s notice. However, things are changing, and more businesses are leaning towards e-leadership. Businesses with e-leadership often benefit from improved efficiency. Leaders can delegate tasks, manage projects and provide feedback to team members quickly and at any time. But, what is e-leadership and how does it work?
What is E-Leadership?
E-leadership, which stands for electronic leadership, refers to the ability to lead and manage a team virtually. With a lot more people working remotely in light of changes made during the pandemic, e-leadership is becoming increasingly popular. It relies heavily on digital technology, which enables collaboration, communication and decision making to happen remotely. There is less of a need for a leader to be there in person, as technology allows for so much to happen from elsewhere. Successful e-leadership involves a combination of leadership skills and technological understanding to effectively manage teams, projects, and communication. Though this type of management uses digital tools and platforms, it also requires leadership experience and abilities.
What are theBenefits of E-Leadership?
There are a number of benefits that come with e-leadership, which is why it’s something that a lot of leaders are leaning towards. It provides a more flexible working style, as you are less confined by being in a certain place at a certain time. You can lead from wherever you are, without having to navigate a long, costly commute. This also saves time and money; you can focus on leading your team, without having to take time away from travelling to and from work. It’s a good way of achieving a better work life balance.
E-leadership also has the benefit of increased speed of communication and decision making. You can make a decision instantly, from wherever you are, without having to delay things until you arrive at work. This means that employees aren’t left waiting to hear back on a decision and can put a plan into action right away. Businesses with e-leadership often benefit from improved efficiency. Leaders can delegate tasks, manage projects and provide feedback to team members quickly and at any time.
It’s also a lot easier for team members to collaborate and share ideas with each other. Digital tools such as video conferencing and instant messaging platforms allow team members to communicate and work together seamlessly, without the need for everyone to be in the same place.
What are the Challenges of E-Leadership?
Despite the many benefits of e-leadership, there are a handful of challenges to overcome. It can be difficult to communicate with others remotely, and many people find that video calls and instant messages are not as natural as communicating face to face. This is especially difficult if people are working in different time zones or with limited availability. It can also be difficult to conduct training with those who are not physically present, which runs the risk of some staff feeling underprepared for the task at hand. There is also the issue of staff not feeling part of a team, as there isn’t the same connection and camaraderie found in a physical workplace. Often, e-leaders need to make more of an effort to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
One of the biggest challenges of e-leadership is linked to the technology side of things. Leaders need to be comfortable using digital technology, tools and platforms in order to successfully manage a team. This isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone, and ongoing training is likely to be required. There are also greater cyber security risks, as people could be working from various locations, using shared internet networks and working from public spaces. It’s a lot easier to guarantee cyber security when everyone is working from the same place, using the same network.
A lot of e-leaders find it difficult to manage staff performance remotely, and it can be difficult to assess how well someone is doing virtually. This is why it’s so important for e-leaders to establish performance goals and metrics, and then measure them effectively. A lot of e-leaders find that they need to check in with individuals a lot more, as it’s not quite as obvious what is being done and when.
What is the Best Practice for E-Leadership?
To ensure that e-leadership is a success, there are some best practices to follow. It’s important to invest in training, technology and collaboration tools. Without these, it’s unlikely that e-leadership will be effective, and managing a team remotely will be a struggle. It’s also important to stay up to date with the latest technology, and don’t shy away from upgrading to a new tool or technology just because it can be daunting to try something new. It’s also important to embrace change and be flexible, understanding that e-leadership is a new way of doing things. It might take some time to ‘iron out the kinks’ before you get into the swing of things, but the benefits are sure to become apparent.
As an e-leader, you need to make sure that your online presence is always professional, and that it encourages collaboration and trust. Having a leader working remotely is likely to be new for a lot of workers, and they need to feel confident that it’s something that will work well. It’s important for your team to feel that they can approach you for help and guidance, and that they can come to you with any concerns, in the same way as they would if you were working alongside one another in an office. Remote leadership requires the same level of professionalism and authority as leading in person, if not more, to build a team that trusts in your decision making and leadership.
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