The Impact of Technology on Leadership

Traditional leadership patterns are often opaque, unilateral and rigid in nature not because formal leaders want to maintain a stranglehold on leadership influence, but more because of the challenges and constraints of acting in a contrary manner. 

Formal leaders are often at the epicentre of organizational information, serving as gatekeepers to the essential information and resources that are needed to keep an organization running. Before the advent of digital resources, sharing information and information was often a costly and time consuming process. Access to vital information was frequently limited because it would have been prohibitively expensive and logistically complicated to freely share these resources with all stakeholders. 

While the development of the personal computer and the Internet made it easier to distribute materials, the exchange of information was still most often unilateral with knowledgeable leader disseminating information to their followers. The complexity of creating web resources limited the number of people that could participate in the creation of information or resources that could influence the knowledge, practice or motivation of others. These early web resources were also read only, leaving little or no opportunity for readers to contribute their input or alter the original document. Even email, which revolutionized organizational communication, was reliant on direct person to person communication and unwieldy when it came to interacting with large numbers of people.

With the new millennium came the development of the read-write web or Web 2.0 resources like social media. It was the use of social media with its emphasis on active participation, connectivity, and collaboration, that finally enabled leaders to easily and efficiently share their knowledge and ideas with an unlimited number of followers. Thus, technology enabled leaders could overcome many of the challenges and constraints of traditional leadership to engage in leadership actions that are more open, collaborative and dynamic.

How has technology changed your leadership?

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