In a country such as ours where leadership role is always left in the hands of older people with longstanding traditional experiences, the major responsibility of inculcating the values and principles of leadership has always fallen on the shoulders of teachers inside the walls of the academic institution, it is time to broaden and expand the leadership tenets and include Digital leadership to the equation or curriculum.
Technology use and application today is so guarded especially in schools, placing prohibitions on extensive use of digital devices, restricting students to the role of digital followers who only imitate and explore beneath and not beyond the provisions given and permitted. These restrictions are not altogether negative in its implementation but in its enforcing.
Digital followership is not just about responsible use of technology alone but taking risks with technology by thinking above and beyond the limitations and status quo because that is where the difference between a leader and a follower is, one is content in the comfort zone while the other triumphs from taking risks and succeeding. Students should be taught this principle. Innovation does not come with information but revelation.
Digital leaders are technological innovators and creators not just consumers. They create their own learning environment and community of digital lovers and users. They take risks with the numerous tools available at their disposal and are not restricted to a particular brand or style but would rather explore the different sides of every tool to enhance and improve understanding and communication.
In this way, they are making technological advancements that are overreaching and available for others to enjoy and have an enriching experience and time when using these remarkable tools. They think beyond their own satisfaction but global satisfaction.
Differences between Digital Leadership and Digital Followership
The difference between a digital leader and a digital follower lies in the approaches to developing digital strategies. Leading in the tech world through innovations and advancements is action for a Digital leader while the Digital follower sees it as a position.
Digital leadership isn’t centralized or autonomous in terms of tool application and usage, it accommodates and embraces innovations and creativity from everywhere, as feedbacks and inputs are good steeping stones to achieving excellence whereas, Digital followership tends to hoard information for fear of leaking and sharing information to discourage competition, thereby losing out due to poor or no reliable information and communication needed to grow. Digital leaders welcome competition but Digital followers are scared of competition.
Digital Followers isolate themselves, but digital leadership plays on collaborations and forging strong and creative allegiances
Digital leaders see technology as a habit and try to evolve with the times, Digital followers only perceive technology as work and simply try to achieve a target and move on. Take a student for example, one simply wants to use the app or tool to complete an assignment or project while the other child wonders how and why the app or tool can do what it does and seeks to understand and recreate it.
Digital leaders are not afraid of changes in technological advancements and instead seek to upgrade and evolve while digital followers simply make use of whatever advancements are trending.
Digital leaders create by using knowledge to drive expansion in technological advancements while digital followers consume by using knowledge to acquire advanced technological tools.
Digital leadership seeks to unify and integrate without prohibitions or conditions but digital followership, influences and places restrictions for fear of being influenced or corrupted.
For Digital leaders, information is not powerful enough, knowledge and illumination is needed to make innovations, while Digital followers are comfortable gathering information without any interest in understanding it beyond the problem at hand.
When we educate and train students to be Digital leaders and not follower, we are creating a generation of Digital inventors and creators not just consumers and users. Leaders make and create but followers manage.