HOW CAN WE EFFECTIVELY LEAD IN A CROSS BORDER ENVIRONMENT COMBATING DIGITAL WARFARE?

Keyboard-Hand-Grenade

Defending borders where you can’t identify the absolute threat is a daunting task. The digitalization in modern warfare is an immediate danger to all nations, but too combat and neutralize the enemy might be harder than your traditional armed conflict. (Cohen, 2016; Jones, 2016)

To lead and manage these threats needs thus a good mediation between cross border political projects as well as private players who acts on different set of rules then your government organizations. Hence, the cooperation between private and government organisations is crucial in the digital warfare as the share of internet activity and space is about 80% private commerce and 20% government (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 2013).

Working and leading on a global level means integrating new ways of communication and authenticity in order to properly capture and harness full capabilities large scale. Not only does the leader or manager convince organisational and/or political leaders. The public needs to be fully aware of the current threat and have the immediate threat translated to them in a way they can fully grasp.

It is crucial that this funnelling of technical information gets communicated in a way to fully engage the public. Most people, even small children are aware of the devastations of war. Even if a very small percentage of the entire population, will ever actively experience war the outcome and effects of bombs, weapons and mines is understood at a very early age.

However, try to explain the danger to adults of DDoS attacks, or vulnerability without 2 step authorising processes within email hosting (Cohen, 2016) and the comprehension will be far less.

Moving into the global working environment, it is crucial that we now educate leaders on a global scaled platform instead of just solving the national focused areas in management dealing with “small” scale organizational problems. Recognizing the need for multicultural perspective goes hand in hand with upscaling the national mindset but might also work for and against national and international demands (Rocksthul, 2011).

Digital warfare might be a way for this platform to truly grow. Putting leaders in an online environment where cultural and ethnical background is not truly apparent can prove invaluable in the ways online leadership and communication.

A rough estimate of global annual attacks goes to 90 million (104 reported in Australia) and has been rising to the most common type of illegal activity in the US (The Economist, 2015). The increase in internet connectivity might be linked to the number of attacks towards nations and organization.

Another reason might be that the anonymity the internet brings makes it very hard to point at a single source where the harmful attacks are originating from. This makes the war on a digital scale, a war in the shadows.

The future of warfare and the commonly known battlefield will most likely undergo severe changes in the upcoming decades. Small scaled resources can bring a different level of devastation than your current military ways, where casualties will remain physically unharmed but affected on a broader scale. The financial, banking, infrastructures and electricity technical structures are exposed towards digital threats pointing towards varied possible outcomes in specific attacks.

The business behind warfare is one of the most profitable industries generating US$402 billion (100 largest arms-manufacturers) a year (Fronlich, Lieberman 2015). The lucratively of digitalized warfare is not any different often needing smaller resources thus making small scale organisations or groups more attracted to engage.

United states expenditure in cyber warfare is now divided into several divisions, however the simple protection-cost ran for about US$3.4 billion (Perera, 2011) in 2011. The security investment is trying to combat the US$ 575 Billion annual global cost of cyber/digital warfare. (The Economist, 2015). Along this, the digital security industry is thriving in new fund threats to defeat and the industry is estimated to turn over US$ 170 billion in 2020.

When looking at the special organisation of cross-border military defence the North Atlantic Treaty Organization often comes to mind. The direct output of NATO’s involvement in conflicts or participation is often regarded as a crucial matter in the definite outcome of the situation. NATO have taken the cyber and digital warfare seriously in the past years, and outlines the absolute key factor in the new threat aspect. Policy advisor Christan-Marc Liflander explains “What is special about the cyber field is when you talk about the whole notion of deterrence — for example, we are able to count the tanks, the planes, the ships, we know what the opponent has. But when it comes to the cyber issue the moment you show what you have you lose it. So that is making the case difficult how do you signal resolve how do you signal your willingness to respond without giving away the very capability that you have? That is making the situation not very transparent — it is difficult to see what is there and what is not.” (Ranger, 2014)

How shall you lead in the online environment of cross border intervention? In traditional warfare, the factions often have a clear leadership structure and hierarchy, where ranking systems, defence budgets or commonly agreed ways of action are set. However, in the digital cloud these borders, agreements and capabilities are blurred. Vigilantes, striving for their sake or the perceived common perception may be as effective in warfare as an entire state, making it hard to define the clear alliance or opposition. People, states and organizations might have different views on how to successfully lead or take charge of a certain situations and restrictions will be hard to enforce due to the openness of the online environment.

The transformational leadership style might prove effective in this environment, as it has a proven rerecord within cross-border leadership (Athina, 2011), however transformational leadership is very much built around cultural differences outlined by Rakesh (Rakesh, 2015). Furthermore, the framework of anonymously leadership need further investigation on how much people are willing to trust and depend on an anonyms leader.

An insight into Authentic Leadership

imagesTo be considered a successful manager or leader I believe that authentic leadership can be of great value. Following the very core values of the model of authenticity such as trust, self-awareness, ethics, morals and transparency gains trust and respect to followers.

However, I believe that it requires all parts of the organisation to be of the same mind-set. Might it be values, morals, visions or in some effect generations? Simply changing leadership routines over a short course of time might have devastating effects. Lloyd and Walker talked about generational shifts and how the “flag is passed on”. Core values of the organisations might not be set in stone.

However, gradually shifting over to a more trustworthy, honest and authentic person is recommended, this can be done through seminars, as well as surveys with the entire staff force.

I have confidence in that authentic leadership is based on trust. People define each other on how well they can trust each other in the common workplace (Colquitt et al. 2007). Trust exercises are consequently to be prioritised first and foremost.

Kruse in Forbes wrote similar, how can managers and leaders be surprised when employees do not trust them, when they change from one person to another, being on and off work? (Kruse, 2013). The quote illustrates the importance of authenticity as well as transparency. Managers and leaders need to show that they don’t switch faces or appearance on and off work, as this “shifts” the very image the leader is trying to project. Does this mean that managers and leaders can’t distance themselves enough in order to have a personal life? Coming to terms that “sharing” one’s personal life or values of the leader will benefit the organisation might help to introduce less secret managers and leaders to a more open and shared environment.

This notion in the field of managers and leaders is something new and will need time to take full effect. As my researched showed, of just 4 employees, the picture or idea of yourself might not always be the one that is projected in the eyes of the viewer. Then imagine the same survey in a large corporation with a few hundred employees. Leroy, Palnski and Somins quotes Shakespeare for the same concept “being true to one self is an important precondition to being true to others[..]” (Leroy et al, 2011). I believe my exercise with a close friend business owner of mine showed that authenticity can fade over time and it is then up to the leader to actually “refresh” these values, sometimes with the help of external stakeholders. This is something I need to take with me further into my career and remember!

It also illustrates that people need to take both themselves and others into extra consideration when applying authenticity as their choice of leadership. I argue that applying this will be harder than expected, as the bias of the strong and almost almighty leader will forever stain the culture of managers and leaders. However, to grow, one must deal with this issue, through education, understanding of social phycology as well as more hands on surveys and seminars. I argue that a constant development in the field of management education will be a driving force of authentic leadership. HR and CSR will consequently play a very important role for the management field in the upcoming decade as human resources and ethics play a larger role every corporation.

Furthermore, Lloyd-Walker and Walker point towards a stressful and complex working environment. This, in our day and age, is not uncommon, especially in a leadership position. Authenticity might help as a booster of productivity from your team but also in dealing with self-help. However I believe it is important to define various areas that are “time stealers”. Even from a week of meditation exercises I understood that my own attention span and listening were far worse than expected. The psychology test showed that I am in an area of average “According to your score, you sometimes have difficulty maintaining your focus on a task and following it through until completion.” It is something I have to take into account dealing further down business strategies as well as decisions. Once again, self-realisation and awareness is keys to authentic leadership.

With so much information being sent at all times in organisations that needs to be dealt with, I’d like to raise the idea that it perhaps is one of the greatest backlashes in the information age, that we are not yet fully aware of. I propose the idea that to further develop authentic leadership one must also come to peace with the concept of “boring”. To be bored and accepting it is a trait not yet fully examined in the academic world. Much focus, if not all, is aimed towards focus and results. However, to really find ones focus, boredom might be a hidden key to realise ones full potential. Schubert argues about this, in 1977, in the Journal of Creative Behaviour, pointing to findings like increased boredom might lead to increased creativity. However the results are very vague and done in a time where the information age was yet to unfold.

Meditation might help if conducted over a longer period of time and making it into a daily routine. Although, I don’t believe the aim for meditation is to be bored, rather it is a tool for self-relation and awareness.

It is therefore hard to draw conclusions about my own statement, but I believe it is an area that could help people to further understand themselves as well as improve their own image of themselves, attention span, concertation and listening ability.

The necessary evil with employees and social media

imagesIt’s mostly circulating as a funny picture or old conversation log. An employee who bashes the company on twitter, Facebook or any other social media and forgets that he or she has the boss on the friends list.

It’s often comes to the expense of the employee, losing the job and also having a few thousands comments pointing out the severe lack of IQ followed with laughter of others.

If you start thinking about this for another 30 seconds, you can identify the flaw in this entire culture.

First of all, you have dissatisfied employees within your organisation, who clearly is too afraid or thinks it too complicated to point out flaws.

Second of all, is the boss or manager who often fires the employee directly in the comment, followed by some smug comments of “you were never fit for the job anyway”?

Unfortunately, the owner or manager are portrayed as the “hero” by the general public. The figured who showed that unsatisfied worker the true rights, and “the one who vents online will see the swift consequences”.

Above statements are very valid concerns for every organisations. A work culture where one can’t point out facts where the organisations needs improvement or show some sort of dissatisfactions is soon to implode into a very hostile working environment.

The owner or manager who can’t project a friendly and trustworthy manner will also have a hard time connecting with the employees on a deeper a level. Authentic leadership points us towards these issues where self-realisation and awareness as a leader is key to create a welcoming team working environment. Where members of the organisations will thrive and therefore develop the organisation for the better, period.

Of course, extreme cases of venting, bashing and generally putting criticism towards the organisation or firm will need this sort of swift engagement by the top management team. But they should never do it to ridicule the person venting. Not only does it weakens the position of the manager or “stooping to their level”, it does also indirectly show that “pointing out flaws will never be tolerated”.

So next time you see one of these posts from angry or distressed employees, think about the actual problem. What drives the person to make these posts? Could there be anything wrong within the organization? Are your internal communication channels clear and direct? Does the internal filtering of concerns work as intended?

One could see the social network as a huge problem, but you could also twist it towards seeing the opportunities to get a real in-depth view how people see your or other organisations working culture and how it is discussed between friends.

Gather information and encourage people to speak their mind in order to become a leader who can draw and develop strengths from every platform and communication ground.

The born and made leader

self-leadership

We constantly hear how great leaders where born to be leaders, or simply, born leaders.
Then, a couple of weeks ago my university published an article with one of my past professor in management studies, Emmanuel Josserand stating that leaders are maybe not only born but also made. One has to recognize that leadership or leaders differs. There is not one set standard or way to lead and there is different settings for different leaders.

Concerning self-leadership, a trait now coming more and more into action, Josserand states “If people reach that point where they are confident about what they want personally and then can translate that into action in relation to the organisation and to others, I think that’s extremely powerful.” 

Self-leadership has through various studies indicated a positively relation to individual task proficiency and team member proficiency.
Various self-help books has been published in the matter of self-leadership, but I suggest reading interesting articles about the area like Kristina Hauschildt Udo Konradt, (2012),”Self-leadership and team members’ work role performance”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 27 Iss 5 pp. 497 – 517.

Professor Emmanuel Josserand article in full http://www.uts.edu.au/about/uts-business-school/news/leaders-are-both-born-and-made

How to utilize big data for leadership and managment

big-data-word-cloudBig data is undeniably one of the largest resources of un-utilized information around these days. Large chunks of valuable information is basically wasting around in the ether space waiting to get used. The problem is how to maximise the output of the data. It is just recently the big data slowly getting utilised.

Never before have we known so much. Indeed it has been a long time since the burning of Alexandria and big data will probably be known as Alexandria 2.0 when things are utilized in full.

As I started to think, I was wondering how big data could be used towards leadership? With so much information being written by frustrated co-workers and tired employees on social media, reviews, and blogs and basically everything. What I am trying to imply is that the vastness of this frustration, anger and irritation should be recorded for the sake of improving management and leadership.

And whilst we seen cases where dissatisfied staff are being fired whilst posting something bad about their company or boss on social media, the lesson should not be “never write something bad about your job on social media” rather “how can we collect these thoughts and utilize it to improve organisations”?

The Academic journal of management wrote an article on Big data in 2014 saying “Big data can also be a potent tool for analysis of individual or team behaviour, using sensors or badges to track individuals as they work together, move around their workspace, or spend time interacting with others or allocated to specific tasks”

The idea is not that unfamiliar in other words. The question is how to develop it in full as most of this data is unstructured and you need to separate out the good from the bad. Qualitative research in other words. That algorithm will be up there along with googles search term on almost perfect IA and with systems like that great responsibility will follow as this data can tell you more about yourself then you already know yourself.