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The article presented here talks about the influence of technology on leaders and leadership. The article starts with identifying the key practices that a leader need to perform in a typical organization and then states the ways in which, technology has influenced these practices.
The article present two aspects, one is key roles and responsibilities of leader and characteristics of leadership and then presents how technology has its influence. In the end, the article make justification of the concerned topic i.e. is technology has an impact on leadership and leaders or not.
Key words: technology, leader, leadership
A leader is a person who motivates its employee to perform high. According to few management gurus, what the corporate world needs are leaders and not managers. Leader’s main work is to motivate the employees for harder work. Leader is very widespread character that could be originate in any area of a company. Leadership is the quality which is possessed by the leader. In any leadership stream the most significant work is to motivate people to work under him.
Leadership can better defined as the process and set of activities by which the leader establishes a social influence on the people by imparting them support and helps who are working for the achievement of common goal. It is the leadership of the leader to bring out the maximum contribution from an individual as possible. A leader must have a quality leadership. He could also provide people working for him the social security so that they feel secure under him and should also be able to motivate people for common beliefs. (Dee)
The issue of the report is to discuss the impact of technology on leaders and leaderships. We know that in last few decades, the technology has developed too many folds. This technology has changed the working process of employees and entire organization. No one today thinks of working without a computer and the world is entirely connected to each other. The report will thus, try to find out the impact of these technological advancements on the leadership styles and on leader too.
Methodology and Discussion:
Leaders enjoy a great amount of powers in the organization. With these powers leaders are said to be engaged in power-politics that is using the authority for own sake. Leader’s faces a lot of problems in an organization in terms of issues related to power and politics. The first one is managing diversity at work place. In country like UAE, where the workforce is completely diverse in terms of cultural background, education etc, managing diversity is a big challenge for the leaders.
The leaders also have to maintain proper communication with the employees. Literatures suggest that this is one of the primary causes of leader’s problem in the organization. 
Another issue which leaders have to face is regarding work environment. Work environment is a major constituent of an effective organizational culture. The work environment not only constitutes the physical constituents of the location but also the culture of the work like senior-subordinate relations. (Pilerot, 2009)
Another issue which leaders need to address is employee training. The problem here is that when new technology is introduced in the company to cut operational expenses, the work and expectation from the employees also changes a lot. So there is a clear need to employee training. Employees are needed to be trained at new technology so that they are able to be a part of company’s cost cutting scheme. Employee training is a necessary part of any organization which needs to be happen periodically. Also, the modern high competitive world has generated new concerns like work life balance etc for leaders to address.
Introducing technology here, technology has provided many of the tools and ways for organization to produce effectively and also to manage their workforce effectively. Employees can now work from their home as technology keeps then connected to the office. The works which use to take days can now be addressed very quickly and precisely as now there are software’s and hardware to address the problems.
In the later part of the report, we will focus on how the technology has influenced on leadership and leaders keeping in mind the discussion regarding roles and problems a leader faces in an organization. (Dee)
Technology and work life balance:
As discussed earlier that one of the key issue a leader needs to address is the work life balance of the employees. In this highly competitive world, every organization wants its employees to perform as effectively as they want. The labor laws which use to restrict the working hours and just dummy rules now the problem of work life balance is on high alert these days. Leaders are constantly facing problem to retain their employees and to keep them motivated towards the work place. Here, technology forwards its hands to help leaders. With development in technology, employees are no more restricted to work in office premises. Employees can now work from their home as technology keeps then connected to the office. The works which use to take days can now be addressed very quickly and precisely as now there are software’s and hardware to address the problems. What leaders now use to do is to email the work to the employee assigning the time line and the employees have to do the work without any restriction of attendance in the office. So, if the employees have a high propriety work, he can address the work while working from this home. This also saves the time consumed in travelling etc and adds to work life balance of the employee. This adds to the job satisfaction of the employees and also helps leaders to keep the trust of the employees in the organization as using these techniques gives a message to the employees that leader do think about them. (Pilerot, 2009)
Technology helps leaders to manage work force diversity
The world today is a single entity. The borders of nations have not left with any restrictions on passage of trade and business. This has made the global GDP to increase with many folds. The other outcome of this globalization is diversity. There could be no better example than UAE which has more people of foreign origin than the natives. The issue of managing a diverse workforce is increased too.
Technology again helps leaders to address the problem. One important problem raised to leaders by diversity is managing documents in different languages. Technical solutions like translators, converters are now helping leaders to communicate with the employee in their native languages. For example, Google translator is used in UAE to convert Arabic documents to English and vice-versa. Leaders thus can communicate properly with employees of other ethnic origin. (G. Sheard, 2009)
Leader’s issue of maintaining communication with the employees:
For any leader, maintain proper communication with the employee is a key issue. Leaders need to know the views of the employees, their perception of any issue or decision, and employee aspect of company policy. The size of any organization is the most significant obstacle in this direction. Also to keep the records of every communication with every single person is out of scope of common individual. Technology again helps leaders in this perspective. The leaders now can maintain digital copy of their communications with employees. Emails, chats, memos, reminders are now all digitized. The leader can record important events like meeting with a group of employees, birthdays of employees etc on electronic calendars which make the probability of missing any information close to zero. (Albion, n.d)
Technology also is providing different ways of communication. For information communication needs, there are ways like cell phones, chats, video conferencing etc by which a leader can keep touch with the employee. Now the leader can exactly see what the employee is doing and how he is doing the work. Taking about few new advancements too, there is a facility to share your computer screen with others via internet so that now the leader can see what the employee is doing, the progress of his work etc.
So technology has changed the way a leader communicates with his employees and has increased the efficiency to great heights.
Technology is helping leaders to conduct trainings
Another issue which leaders need to address is employee training. The problem here is that when new technology is introduced in the company to cut operational expenses, the work and expectation from the employees also changes a lot. So there is a clear need to employee training. Employees are needed to be trained at new technology so that they are able to be a part of company’s cost cutting scheme.
The problem here is employees are reluctant towards change and there are evidences which prove that employees have negative attitude towards undergoing training. This attitude increases an issue of motivating employees towards training for leaders.
Leaders again get support of technology for addressing this problem. An example is Learning Management system. One case is of Aventis Pharmaceuticals and IBM which implemented learning management system. It is critical in enabling an organization to compliance with modern business standards. LMS enables employees to register online, join other business training activities and personalizing training records by conferences, meetings and documenting training taken outside the LMS.
With the help of technology like LMS, leaders can now arrange trainings for the employees in more efficient manner than before. (Dee)
Technology help leaders to establish a sound work environment:
Another issue where technology is helping leaders is establishing a sound work environment. The business structure now a day is required to be employee friendly and at the same time should encourage employees to perform effectively. This is a tough task for leaders as these demands are contradictory to each other. Technology again has a role here to address the issue. With efficient ways to maintain proper communication, managing diversity and other issues addressed earlier, technology helps leaders to build an efficient as well as employee friendly environment.
From the above discussion it is clear that technology has influenced almost every aspect of leadership and leader’s role. But we see critically analyze it, we will found that the leader still have to manage communication with the workforce, leader still has to ensure that employee are satisfied with the company in terms of work life balance. Leader even after great advancements in technology has to look for training needs of the employees. (Albion)
All these shows that technology do has influenced the ways in which leaders used to work but the basic roles of leaders and concern of leadership practices are static.
On the basis of the report, we can say that even with the great advancements in technology, the basic roles and practices that leaders and leadership involve are still the same. The primary roles of leaders incorporate managing work force diversity, ensuring work life balance; encourage employee participation and most of all, directing the efforts of the employee to achieve the goals of the organization as a whole.
With the advancements in technology, the ways in which leaders use to perform all these tasks can changed significantly but has not change the theme of leadership. Technology has greatly improved leader’s ways to manage the workforce but has again given birth to new types of problems too.
As we defined in introduction section, “a leader is a person who motivates its employee to perform high. According to few management gurus, what the corporate world needs are leaders and not managers. Leader’s main work is to motivate the employees for harder work”. Technology has changed the way in which a leader works but has not changed the characteristics of leadership. (Pilerot, 2009)
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