Six Habits of Highly Successful Digital Leaders You Can Use

Adapting to the digital age is something every small business has to face. Effective leadership can be the difference between success and failure, whether you’ve done so already or continue to feel your way.

To ensure that your company doesn’t experience the latter, here are six habits successful digital leaders have as part of their traits.

1. See and Stay Focused on Your Vision for Your Business in the Digital Age

With more technology becoming available for businesses, it’s easy to get sidetracked with tactical adjustments that feel like change. Sure, you can migrate your payroll to an app-based platform you control from your phone, but how does that fit into your larger vision? Even better, can you articulate that vision?

It takes a clear understanding of the sphere your business operates in, the needs of your customers and workforce, and the digital technologies available that connect these dots in ways that move your business forward. Once you have a clear understanding of these, adhering to this vision is critical.

2. Become the Disruption That Drives Digital Change

Some businesses are coerced by outside forces to adapt to change, a particularly relevant statement especially over the past two years as many businesses are struggling to survive. And while adapting during a crisis is possible, adjusting on your own terms increases your chances of success.

Don’t wait for forces beyond your control to move your business forward. Take steps to adapt before you have to. If you’re considering a cloud-based distribution network that keeps supply chains running interrupted, take action before the next pandemic or crisis forces you to.

3. Invest in a New Mindset

Envisioning your business in the digital age requires an open mind to new ideas, technologies and processes. Is your current mindset in line with the challenges ahead? Or are you being held hostage by your own fears or misconceptions about what’s next?

Embracing the new becomes easier when you familiarize yourself with the landscape. Search online for resources and white papers that redefine what it means to be a digital business. Learn more about people who’ve spearheaded digital advances for their companies and business sectors, such as those in these case studies featured on The more you understand, the easier it gets to consider new alternatives.

4. Get Comfortable With Risk

Even risk-takers who’ve made the leap to owning a business reach a point where they’re risk-averse. Nowhere is this more apparent than in today’s digital age that challenges business owners in ways they didn’t foresee when they started their businesses.

Further complicating matters is the speed of digital change. Because no one adapts just once—it’s an ongoing process that will continue to challenge your beliefs and decision-making processes. Knowing what digital technologies to adopt and when is a challenge that will keep you guessing—and taking risks—at a pace few business owners expect. The sooner you come to terms with this fact, the more successful you will be.

5. Don’t Overlook that Digital Technology is Only Half the Equation

While digital technology is driving business transformation, don’t lose sight of the fact that technology is nothing without the people who understand how to harness it.

Are your work teams up to the challenge if you adopt a cloud-based project management system that connects on-site and remote workers in real time? Would the transformation require retraining or new hires who can better facilitate or navigate the change?

Even in an age where artificial intelligence has made it possible to rethink functions or retool staffing, skilled individuals who understand the digital technology driving change are critical. Remembering this will help you navigate digital change successfully.

6. Stay Connected

No digital business transformation occurs with only one person at the helm. Strong digital leaders understand the value of peer networks, mentors, and contacts. Stay in touch with professional networks and other groups that provide insights or serve as a sounding board for ideas. And rely on families and significant others for emotional and mental support.

Transforming a business into the digital version will tax every area of your psyche. The more support you have from every angle, the better your chances of leading through change.