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What makes great Digital Leaders?

Written by Murray Simpson
21/01/19 - 17:23

Having recently completed some training with ILM covering Leadership Skills Development (thanks Cathy), I gained a huge eye opener not only in terms of developing my own skills as a leader within Cathcart Associates, but also how important it is to identify these skills in the candidates I recruit for.

The IT skills shortage is well documented and the demand for skilled technology professionals shows no signs of slowing down. The flavour of the month is most definitely “Digital Transformation” with many organisations at varying stages of embarking upon the modernisation of traditional, manual or even outdated technical systems and processes. At the heart of every transformation project is people, and while it can be hugely challenging competing for skilled technical staff, the demand for digital leadership has probably not received the same level of publicity. That doesn’t mean it’s any easier and it is equally key to the success of any such project, if not more so.

It really sparked some thought about what makes a great digital leader and having spent years recruiting people into a range of IT Management and Change type roles, I (hope) believe I know a thing or two about both what both employers are looking for and what great candidates look like, here are some of the traits:


Direction: Providing vision and purpose, understanding the digital landscape and disruptive technologies

Innovation: Creating the conditions to experiment with new technologies and tools

Collaboration: Getting people to collaborate across team boundaries, restructuring around customer journeys

Inspirational Leadership: getting people to follow you and your digital vision

Business Awareness: Combining high level business knowledge and digital strategies to achieve business outcomes

Building Talent: Supporting continuous self-development and the ability to spot future stars

Influence: Persuading and influencing stakeholders


Leaders who can create harmony between the technology and people, foster a digital culture to become more adaptable to change and ready to embrace new technology have become invaluable, so good news for those in such positions. So, if you are considering a new challenge or keen to hear about any such projects, then please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss further.


Murray Simpson
Principal Consultant | IT Management & Change |