The Digital Age Vs. Leadership

Leaders without online platforms are falling behind. It’s not about technology and it’s not about being tech savvy. It’s about your digital maturity as it pertains to your leadership capabilities. We call this your DQ: Digital Quotient.

Since the early 1900s we’ve gotten comfortable with the habit of using IQ to judge an individual’s leadership abilities.

In 1998 a breakthrough came when Harvard researcher Daniel Goleman boldly stated that the world’s best leaders “all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence (EQ).

With one quick punch to the gut Goleman had relegated IQ and technical skills to the list of ENTRY-LEVEL requirements for executives worldwide…

…which leads us to today, where we see the same process happening once again. As a leader in the digital age, your technical skills, IQ, and EQ are the baseline, average, entry-level requirements for the role.

Digital Quotient took a seat at the table. It joined the conversation and your decision is binary:

  1. Ignore your DQ and risk getting left behind.
  2. Or embrace it and take your leadership to a whole new level.

This article will explain:

  • The 1 mindset change,
  • The 2 long-term changes, and
  • The 3 immediate changes you can make to develop your DQ.


The 1 Mindset Change To Define Your Digital Quotient

Leaders sell themselves short when they rely solely on good IQs and EQs to measure their success. The stakes are rising and you must add DQ into the equation. Think of DQ as agility, visibility, and credibility. Let those 3 words shift your understanding of leadership in the digital age.

Agility = your ability to function in a rapidly paced economy. (Can you keep up?)

Visibility = your searchability. (What do people find when they Google you?)

Credibility = your ability to be trusted. (Do you have a reputation of excellence?)

The good news is that most people ALREADY understand this changing scope of leadership.

Buuuuut the bad news is that too many leaders refuse to actually do anything about it. Instead of embracing this wave of change, they stare at it — like a vicious ocean current barreling onto shore — both paralyzed and mesmerized. They know this change is going to destroy them if they don’t react, yet they’re reluctant to make




It seems UNintuitive for leaders NOT to react to this change. “Come on! You’re the leader. You know how to take initiative.”

If we turn to psychology to explain why that is, we find that leaders avoid developing their DQs not out of stubbornness nor out of laziness. The avoid developing their DQs out of fear. They hesitate because they’re listening to the macro doubt inside their mind:

  • Is my message good enough?
  • Will people actually pay attention to me?
  • Will friends, family, and coworkers think I’m self-absorbed?
  • What happens if I take time away from my business and fail to generate a return?

The fear is legit. Your DQ is your personal brand, your reputation, and your status. It requires making yourself visible and that requires both time and money. You’ll need to build a website, blog on a regular basis, network online, network offline, and engage with social media followers.

But this is where you need a mindset shift: A personal brand — your DQ — is not an act of selfish vanity. It’s now a leadership N-E-C-E-S-S-I-T-Y.

Remember: agility, visibility, credibility. That’s what defines your DQ and that’s what defines leadership in today’s world.

RELATED: How To Influence People Online

So what are your next steps? Use these 2 long-term strategies to start building your DQ.

The 2 Long-Term Changes To Define Your Digital Quotient

DQ is single-handedly rewriting the definition of leadership. No longer about direct power, leadership now means INFLUENCE. Since your ability to influence people is directly related to your ability to communicate with them, it makes sense that communication plays a large role in your developing your DQ.

leadership in the digital age

Change #1: Start Listening & Engaging

The digital age makes information as informal as it’s ever been. Leaders of the past had to rely on employees and research to find what their audience wanted to hear. In many cases, their messages missed the mark and failed to resonate with people.

Today we have entire libraries of digital tools to gauge the receptiveness of an audience. We can monitor conversations happening across the entire web, across the entire world. We can fine-tune our messaging to address the concerns of people who need our message the most.  

Make a daily habit of listening & engaging in those conversations. Skim through blogs related to your industry. Pay attention to the dialogues and get a bigger picture of what’s going on within your industry. Use that bigger picture to carve out a niche for yourself. Approach and grow your leadership from that niche.

Change #2: Start Sharing

The more a leader can show and share knowledge, the more well-off they’re perceived by others.

WHAT you choose to share reflects that which you consider important.

Maybe you’re passionate about financial intelligence. Maybe it’s educational reform. Maybe you have a knack for parent-child relationships. Whatever you’ve developed an expertise around and consider important, that’s what you need to share.

You give meaning and value to the information you share. A message, after all, is useless without a messenger. As a leader you ARE that messenger, so start sharing.

3 Immediate Changes To Define Your Digital Quotient  

Long-term strategies build over time and you won’t see results overnight. If you’re serious about developing your DQ, make these 3 changes immediately.  

Change #1: Find & follow 1 new online forum every other week

Go to Facebook, LinkedIn, or even Twitter and find 1 social group related to your niche. You can either “Like” or “Follow” a specific profile or request to join a certain group. Start reading the conversations taking place. Check back every day for new topics. This is NOT a chore. It shouldn’t bore you because the profile and/or page is related to your niche. This should, by definition, intrigue you. If it is boring or bothersome then find a different group to follow.

Do this routinely and before long, you’ll discover the irresistible nature of wanting to jump into the online conversations. You’ll have received value from the conversations and be compelled to add value in return.

Change #2: Write 1 LinkedIn article every week

Pick a day of the week. Any day. On that day carve out 2-3 hours to write an article related to something in your industry.

  • How did you help a client solve a problem this week?
  • Is there a story in the news that deserves some explanation?
  • What common misconceptions do people have about your work that you could shed light on?

Make sure to give your article a catchy headline and header image before you publish it. If you have a company blog, send the article to your website developer and ask them to publish it there too.

RELATED: The Ultimate Playbook To Scale Yourself

Change #3: Reach out to 1 person in your industry every day

(We could all be better at this one…)

Think of how strong our networks could be if we all reached out to 1 person every day. It could be as simple as dropping a quick hello, asking for advice, or sharing an interesting link with someone.

Developing, growing, and nurturing an online network starts today and never stops. It takes less than 5 minutes to reach out to someone new, so build that 5 minutes into your day and watch your network grow.

leadership in the digital age


Your Takeaway

The clock was ticking and now time’s up. Leaders must acknowledge the changing forces of society and focus on their DQ. It’s not selfish. It’s not greedy. It’s not vain. It’s more than a necessity. It’s your responsibility.

Start influencing now-3