Social Media

Three Biggest Challenges for e-Leaders

Three Biggest Challenges for e-Leaders

by Alex Kinmont

The boundary between real life and the internet is blurring. With the way that we are living online comes an opportunity and a need to be led online and so the next generation will rely on a leader’s ability to navigate the digital world. For a way of life that is dependent on the internet, leadership online and leadership in the physical world can no longer be separate.

Electronic Leadership, termed e-Leadership, is leadership in today’s technological and information-rich era. The three biggest challenges which leaders will have to navigate online are fake news, cancel culture and selfish online activism.

  • Fake News

Fake News is any media which is not just untrue but intended to mislead or misrepresent for political or financial gain. The omnipotence of the internet means that news, fake or real, has the ability to socially engineer people as well as make a lot of money.

The 2018 Cambridge Analytica data scandal is a prime example of the danger of fake news and social engineering. Facebook was accused of letting company Cambridge Analytica illegally harvest the personal data of 87 million people in order to use online ads and misinformation to target and influence the 2016 US elections and Brexit. Since our lives influenced by what we see daily online, the nature and content of what we see has the power to change how we think. When the influences are fake, this becomes an incredibly dangerous issue, with real-world consequences on a national scale.

Today’s leaders need to navigate a world of misinformation. The democracy of the internet is both incredible and problematic, and as of last year the biggest digital giant of all, Facebook, admitted that they don’t have full control of what goes online. The internet is uncontainable, and our leaders need to know how to lead around that.

  • Cancel Culture

Cancel Culture is the act of ‘cancelling’ a person or organisation when they do something wrong or problematic. This can be done through boycotting, blocking and publically shaming the perpetrator. As a form of mob justice, although positioned as fighting for good, it is easily and dangerously flawed.

The most significant example of Cancel Culture and its reach was the cancelling of Beauty YouTuber James Charles earlier this year. Charles received massive backlash after he promoted a product on Instagram which is the direct competition of his best friend’s company. Charles was called out on his betrayal as well as allegations of sexual harassment.

The internet storm which followed lost Charles over 3 million subscribers and earned him a multitude of commentary and memes. A couple of days later, Charles publically responded, disputing the accusations and giving his side of the story. Tables turned as the internet realised there was not enough evidence to substantiate either person’s story.

Charles may have gained back his following, but the internet has forever changed. The whole debacle highlighted a key issue with Cancel Culture- that it spreads far too fast and does not rely on evidence or fact. The speed at which a story or video can go viral is dangerous, illustrating the automatic and lazy nature at which we consume digital media.

Leaders today will have to deal with the consequences of a society that has learned to cancel those with differing opinion without waiting for proof of the crime. Mob justice is a tricky issue to squash, because one may come across as defending the perpetrator’s crime rather than their right to justice.

  • Social Justice Warriors

Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) have quickly earned a negative reputation. Like the vigilantism of cancel culture, the root motivation of Social Justice Warriors is good – to stand up for minority groups and change oppressive behaviours, philosophies and leaders. However, the extremity of SJWs has increased tenfold with the internet and social media, so much so that the term social justice warrior has become derogatory.

Why are SJWs seen to be hostile and self-interested? Making a social media post is quick, easy and free. It can also be anonymous. The ease at which we can voice our opinions to a large audience of people has led to lazy opinions being heralded without question; like fake news and cancel culture, the need for evidence comes second to the need for attention.

Social Media Activists are often accused of being vocal on social media for reputational purposes rather than real philanthropy. Hashtag activism, where social movements are started and mostly carried out online, is accused as being lazy activism – where one can write a post denouncing poverty and then go back to watching TV without donating money or doing any charity work.

Activism online is controversial. People question whether those promoting a hashtag really care for the issue or just want to seem like they’re doing something good. The ease at which we can protest online has led way for these assumptions and accusations.

In a time where SJWs are out to fight any battle they can with the sole motivation of stroking their own ego, prominent figures ad companies need to be extra-careful in where and how they tread. Where guilty parties can be rightfully held accountable, innocent parties can be sentenced without trial.

The digital age has brought with it a new way of living and with it, the need for a new way of leading. Leaders are those who stand out from the crowd as willing to choose a path and guide others’ down it. In a time where opinion is at risk of being based on fake news, cancelled and called out, to voice a legitimate opinion is not an easy feat.

The internet and Social Media has changed the very fabric of our society, altering how we communicate and how we see justice. With fake news altering perception, mob justice fuelling the inability to voice opinion, and the lack of regard for evidence and fact in an argument, the internet can be a dangerous place. e-Leadership is the ability to surpass these obstacles and help others do the same.

Are we wasting our saved time?

by Alex Kinmont

Technology is streamlining our daily routines.

We can order dinner online, saving us cooking time. We can work remotely, saving us travel time. We can shop online, saving us searching time. We let Google Maps re-route us around traffic before we see the first brake light and targeted ads tell us what to buy before we even know we want it.

The rise in technology has brought with it a rapid increase in the pace at which we live our lives.

If technology is making things run faster, then we’re saving time. So what exactly are we using that saved time for?


Are we saving time just to waste time?

South Africans spend an average of 8.5 hours online every day, according to a 2019 study. That’s an hour and a half more than the global average.

The more attention we give online, the more profitable the online world becomes. An advert seen is money made, so the goal for companies and advertisers alike is to keep us online for as long as possible.

Our online attention has become transactional.

Developers don’t just hope that we will spend time online. Smartphones and social media are specifically designed to keep us hooked for as long as possible. Of those 8.5 hours online, South Africans spend almost three hours on social media (Whatsapp, Facebook and Youtube proving most popular).

Are we really to blame?

Steve Jobs never let his own children use the iPad which he first released in 2010. This was our warning sign.

Feedback is a major ingredient of online addiction and it’s biologically enforced, says author Adam Alter (Irresistible). Feedback is the flash of the red heart icon when you like a photo on Instagram. It’s also the bright notification which pops up for the person on the other end. It’s the swooping sound when you refresh your Facebook feed and the click of your keyboard when your phone’s not on silent.


Are we saving time just to do too much?

The digital revolution and its onslaught of overstimulation is rendering us less and less capable of concentrating on a single thing at a time. The average attention span in a human has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds since the turn of the century. That’s less than a goldfish.

Have you ever felt the urge to punch your computer when it freezes?

This is where we see how impatient tech has made us. We are already so accustomed to technology and the swift lifestyle which comes with it that when it lags we tend to curse at it.

As tech grows, so do our expectations.

Whereas our ability to multitask has improved thanks to tech giving us the means to do more than one thing at a time, it comes with a cost to our ability to do just one task effectively.


So what does this quickening mean for us professionally?

The World Health Organisation has recently announced that it will be adding ‘Burnout’ to its International Classification of Diseases. This will make burnout a globally-recognised medical condition from the year 2020. Burnout is defined by the WHO as “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

In trying to keep up with new technologies, we may be overdoing it.  In constantly being connected, we never really get a break from the office anymore. We can access emails and our workload all from home, meaning we are never really completely free from our office.

On top of that, when do get a small break from our working hours, we’re spending it mindlessly on social media and the internet.

Are we ever really able to rest?

4IR can both worsen and alleviate our energy. It allows us to work continuously, yet it also allows us work faster and then rest.

So how do we go forward?

The answer therefore lies with people and their intentions. When advances in tech quicken our schedule, we must not forget that resting offline in our saved time is not wasting it.

Managers need to evaluate productivity in terms of quality of work done, and not time spent working. Employees need to recognise that time spent online is not as restful as time spent offline.

We need to disconnect daily – from our work, and from the internet.

Machines are going to take over tedious and time-consuming jobs, not so that we can fill our time with working more, but so that we can free up our time for more creative pursuits. The fourth industrial revolution will bring with it more options for spending our time.

What are you going to do with it?

To request more information on our digital skills course, click here.

Enrich your staff through skills development

Finance 3

Are you investing in the development of your staff? Latest research shows that nurturing positive employee relationships is no different or less important than cultivating loyal customers. Besides remuneration, employees want other intangible things from their employers: purpose, responsibilities, autonomy, flexibility and opportunity for innovation. They also yearn for employers that focus on their personal development and well-being, including employer-funded professional and personal development programmes.

i-Fundi offers high quality, accredited skills programmes that develop critical competencies to help staff and managers excel at work and in their personal lives. Programmes can be taken individually – delivered in-house or on campus – or attended progressively as part of the Further Education and Training Certificate: Generic Management level 4 qualification programme.

We invite you to take a look at some of our popular programmes and contact us today for more information on in-house delivery or campus attendance.

 Effective time management

 Time Management is one of the most important self-management skills. As a scarce resource, it cannot be replaced or reversed.
On completion of this module, learners will be able to:
  • Explain the principles of time management
  • Reflect on own use of time
  • Reflect on team / section / department’s use of time
  • Explain the relationship between time and productivity
  • Avoid time wasters
  • Use the time management process to management own and team time effectively
  • Use time management tools (diary, task lists, weekly planner, monthly planners and work plans)
  • Implement and monitor work

Problem solving and decision making

Learn processes and techniques to become more effective in problem solving and decision making.
On completion of this module, you should be able to
  • Differentiate between problem solving and decision making
  • Define the problem
  • Investigate the problem
  • Generate potential problem solutions by using problem solving techniques (brainstorming, creative thinking techniques, mind mapping and Delphi)
  • Evaluate the solutions
  • Select the optimal solution
  • Evaluate the implementation of the solution


Running effective meetings

Become a master in making meetings effective and productive.
In this module, you will learn how to plan, organise, conduct, follow up and review meetings
  • Plan a meeting
  • Prepare for a meeting
  • Conduct a structured meeting
  • Deal with differing views and opinions during the meeting
  • Record meetings
  • Distribute the records of meetings
  • Follow up on action plans after meetings


Understanding Management

Learn about the four management functions that make up the process that is used by all levels of managers.
On completion of this module, you should be able to
  • Explain the role managers play in an organisation
  • Discuss the various organisational strictures (hierarchical, functional, matrix etc.)
  • Describe the relationship between junior managers and other roles in an organisation.
  • Differentiate between core and support functions in an organisation
  • Explain the management process and the management functions (planning, organising, leading, controlling)

 Managing Teams

Understand what teams are, how they work, team dynamics and how to manage team performance.On completion of this module, you should be able to identify
  • The building blocks of effective teams
  • The role of team members
  • The role of the team leader
  • Explain the impact of groups dynamics
  • Induct a new team member into the team
  • Manage team and individual performance
  • Motivate a team
  • Build an effective team
  • Manage conflict in teams

Managing Customer Service

This programme is designed around six critical elements of customer service that, when the company lives them, bring customers back to experience service that outdoes the competition.Specific learning objectives include
  • Understand the importance of customer service
  • Demonstrate a customer service approach
  • Understand how your own behavior affects the behavior of others
  • Demonstrate confidence and skill as a problem solver
  • Apply techniques to deal with difficult customers
  • Make a choice to provide customer service

Social Media 

  • New or existing managers in any department
  • Supervisors being prepared for managerial positions 


About Us

i-Fundi is a private Further Education and Training institute, registered with Umalusi and the Services SETA. We offer a range of accredited qualifications and skills programmes and end to end learnership management services for businesses wanting to up-skill new or existing staffi-Fundi is a Level 1 Certified Contributor (135%) in terms of the BBBEE scorecard rating. Having worked with close to 10,000 learners for some of South Africa’s leading companies, we have the skills and experience to help your business succeed.

For more information about the programme, or how to implement learnerships in your organisation, contact Reggie Leseane: reggie@i-fundi.com, or telephone 0861678882.

To check out our full range of qualifications and short courses.