What is E-leadership?
The definition of e-leadership is a social influence process, mediated by technology, to produce a change in attitudes, feelings, thinking, behavior, and performance with individuals, groups, or organizations to direct them toward achieving a specific goal. HRD professionals, who deal with organizational development, training and development, or function as internal or external consultants, deal with change, behaviors, performance, and attitudes. HRD professionals who create courses, design, and develop training, look to affect the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of their learners within the organization. They lead the changes during organization development, i.e., when there are mergers with other organizations, or even when there are mergers internally with teams and departments.
There are a variety of interventions that an HRD professional can use outside training, including but are not limited to, coaching, mentoring, learning journeys, etc.
How has E-leadership prevailed in our lives?
For me, e-leadership has been a part of my life since I was in the military. All my classes for college were conducted remotely, and when I worked for Siemens Smart Infrastructure Academy, meetings were also conducted remotely (as employees were all over the United States, and globally in a variety of countries); remote working was used before the pandemic as a break from having to come into the office and to drive motivation.
Since the pandemic took grip of all our lives, remote tools were needed to be integrated, and e-leadership moved to the forefront. For me, I have seen my professors take the lead in ensuring that we receive the same education as we would if attending class in person. Companies, like the one I worked for (Siemens), have adapted while leading employees using remote meetings and focus groups. Working remotely and being on virtual teams has become the norm until the pandemic ceases.
Furthermore, doctors and therapists have used technology to conduct remote visits to help their patients with their medical needs. E-leadership is evolving and has prevailed in our lives fueled by the current state of COVID-19.
Finally, the local leaders have taken to the internet, developed virtual applications, and used a variety of technological tools to help communities thrive as best as possible. Schools have changed how children learn by providing technology from their homes while teachers use tools to teach and track their students' progress. Many of the churches provide online services that can be viewed through a smartphone app with interactive tools. We are seeing e-leadership grow from one day to the next.
How has technology promoted E-leadership practice?
To make the changes, and help people adapt, several tools have been used to conduct meetings, court, doctor visits, training, etc. we have seen tools like Zoom, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams thrive. These tools seemed easier to incorporate because we already had Facetime and Skype for many years, but now leaders had more tools with better capabilities.
Zoom allows you to record your meetings which leaders can review afterwards, and even share so the participants can also go back to ensure they got what they need from the meeting. Also, leaders can hold one on one sessions with employees that need coaching and mentorship.
For teachers and professors, there are tools like Wakelet and Adobe Spark Webpage, which have allowed for more engagement with their students.
What are some technology programs that can be used to support E-leadership?
There are many tools (or programs) that you can use to help with e-leadership. This section will only focus on free tools that can help you lead in a virtual world. The following tools are free and highly recommended:
Adobe Spark (Webpage); example provided below
Wakelet (examples included on the following pages: technology leadership and professional development)
Trello (example included here and on the professional development page)
Adobe Spark (Webpage):
Trello Project Management tool
The following link is an example of a project management tool (Trello) that can be used be e-leaders: