The Need to Develop Virtual leadership in the New Ecosystem of Work


I perceive the ongoing pandemic  as a great leveller. Along with people, organisations across industries too have been reminded of the need to partner with each other in order to drive value. For organisations, this new ecosystem has meant protecting their employees,  striving towards sustainability and maintaining  business continuity and it is heartening to see HR, successfully leading  this ‘people-first’ rally!

The COVID-19 crisis has made remote working or hybrid working  a burning need and it is decided that the new workplace should be more mature and inclusive that caters the right human experiences and balances the employee-employer relationship. Various reports and studies have  revealed that one of  the important considerations for organisations across industries to emerge victorious from the crisis is to pay heed to  the operating realities that are shaping the work ecosystem. Virtual leadership is now peremptory. By ‘virtual leadership’, I mean  a form of leadership in which teams are managed via a remote working environment, where the  focus is on inspiring workers and helping teams accomplish their goals.

Today companies are vehemently trying to  meet the challenges posed by COVID-19. As a ripple effect of this, the paradigms of the future of work and its implications for HR professionals have become issues which cannot be done away with. As organisations change their business models  the need for effective, virtual leadership development has never been more urgent. In tandem with this thought, it is comforting to see leaders adopt empathy and compassion in dealing with their associates – an extremely essential feature bordering the traits of virtual leadership. While employees struggle to adapt to the virtual world and ways of working, providing them with adequate technological support and mental prop up, is imperative to  ensure high levels of productivity and simultaneously, business continuity.

Digital workplaces are all about forging productive relationships within organizations and beyond; and automating is the catalyst in amalgamating the ‘old’ and ‘new’ methods of working to finally form the ‘new normal’. With new age technologies, traditional labour oriented  and time-consuming jobs are automized thereby augmenting and amplifying human-centric functions. However,  the ‘human capital’ which provides the ‘human’ touch will never cease to matter. In fact, remote work requires meaningful human connections and interactions. Therefore, leadership roles  will need to be  more specialised to provide the needed assistance and guidance, online. Leaders across verticals, have to be equipped with the relevant technical, relational, and communication skills in order to uplift operational efficiency.

During the crisis, we saw an accelerated adoption of smart work (such as remote work, travel reduction, and virtual meetings); and in the new now, smart work and virtual leadership will be the bedrock of work culture across all organizations. Effective virtual leadership helps organisations to create work-flow and business processes flow in a way which permit new technologies and services to be adopted rapidly. It also makes sure that any existing legacy applications which are relevant, are maintained and embedded at the core of the seamless virtual working operations.  Hence elevating our remote workforce with a virtual leadership is what will shape our sustainable and progressive work ecosystem.

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