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LEADERSHIP 4.0- Leadership for Industry Transformation


Ashraful Islam, Research Assistant,

Textile Focus

The textile and RMG industry of Bangladesh is in a transformation stage, and the industry requires numbers of competent transformation leaders who can lead the transformation process successfully. In this circumstances, the significance of leadership for the employees of textile and RMG industries is very high. Moreover, the in the age of industry 4.0 leadership is completely redefined to cope up with the fast changing world. In this article a new concept of leadership is introduced aiming to help the transformation leaders of the industry to fine tune their leadership capacity.

Why is there a need for an Industry 4.0 related leadership style?

Bangladesh is on the way to her industrial revolution. It has just started her way from agricultural to industrial and at this moment the country is passing a crucial situation because of this transformation. The first three industrial revolutions happened as a result of mechanization, electricity, and information technology. The introduction of the Internet of Things into the manufacturing environment is forming the fourth industrial revolution, offering new business models and affecting value-creating processes in an organization. All these activities need to be performed in synchronized, planned and time to achieve desired productivity. A significant challenge for Industry 4.0 is not only to find or implement the right technology, but it is also a lack of digital culture and skills in the organization. Industrial companies need to develop a robust digital culture and to ensure that clear leadership drives the change. There is a need for developing a leadership 4.0 culture in organizations. Leadership 4.0 stands for leadership in the age of industry 4.0. These 4.0 leaders are called digital leaders.

Definition & Determining Elements of Leadership 4.0

Leadership 4.0 is a fast, cross-hierarchical, team-oriented, and cooperative approach, with a strong focus on innovation. The personal competence of the leader, their mindset as well as their ability to apply new methods and instruments such as design thinking, are critical dimensions for 4.0 leaders. Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions. A design mindset is a solution-focused and action-oriented toward creating a preferred future. In business management, it could be used as a step-by-step process to find and execute solutions that improve profits, efficiency, and customer satisfaction; and to keep business ahead of the innovation curve. Industry 4.0 requires companies to think in new ways. Essential elements determining digital leaders are organizational objectives (the ability to move from fixed cycles for assessing employee performance, up to the ability to understand that situations determine the need for assessing employees and teams equally, with the ability to implement feedback routines), people ( the ability to distribute tasks based on the situation and team competence, linking the abilities of managers and employees to form a competence networking intelligence), change (high-level willingness and ability for change, encouraging high-level agility between the market, customer, partners, and employees, and deliberating promotion), output (the ability to control processes, evaluate tasks and results together with teams; to use resources according to competence – cross-hierarchical and cross functional – instead of controlling orders, resource plans, and evaluating results within the borders of a project, like traditional leaders do), mistakes and conflicts (creating an open atmosphere with the learning effect in errors and a collaborative atmosphere for handling conflict situations), communication (the ability to create a transparent framework for information distribution, counting on employees’ and teams’ collectible debt of self-responsibility, and proactive behavior) as well as innovation (knowing that innovation is learnable, being able to transform old structures through the use of multidisciplinary teams, and creative processes and flexible work environments). According to the oxford leadership, essence of leadership 4.0 is –



Levels of Leadership

John Maxwell is an American author, speaker, and pastor. Author of over 60 books, mostly known for his theory of leadership. In his book, The 5 Levels of Leadership, he describes each level, including the pros and cons. Taking his book as a reference, here shortly describes five levels of leadership in a simple way.


The lowest level of leadership is actually called quitters. The moment, quitters see any difficult situation they will quit. Quitter is so circumstantial moment, he will fall down, he will say it is not possible, let me change the job or work, let me do something else. He can’t survive. He can’t sustain the difficult things. He is not made for handling the difficulties. For him, the problem is the problem.


A little better than a quitter. He will try to analyze how difficult to reach the peak. He will analytically, critically and logically find faults. These are normally more than 80% of people in the organization. The moment you put him in some tough situation they will start finding faults. They don’t look for a solution. These are those people who don’t talk about only 1 bad thing rather than 99 good things.          


He is an initial enthusiast with a high level of energy for a short period of time. But after 2-3 failures, he tends to give up. Loses self-confidence & eagerness to try again. This type of leader is also termed as “Shooting Star”.


These are great, powerful people. They are not ordinary, they are extraordinary. Whenever any difficulties hit him down, he will get back up. He will never give up, he will always get back up. Their philosophy is that – “Failure is not an option”. They will not cry, they will try. They have a strong belief in mind that” I’m not a loser if I lost once, I will bounce back & I will do that”.

  1. MASTER:

Anyone can count them in percentage, they exist only some numbers on the planet. Elon Musk founder & CEO of space-x and Tesla is like a such kind of leader, who created history. Stressor has stress in life but the master has a strategy rather than stress in life. When they face difficulties, they get one step back and find a strategy in mind that ” There is always a better way”. Philosophy of these kinds of people is – “I will not be a loser, either win or learn”.

Impact of Leadership

Leadership is the most powerful thing for an organization or country through which a nation or organization will go to the peak of success. The impact of leadership can easily be understood through the following graph. In the graph, the top 5 factors in success across more than 200 companies are depicted.


Source: The single biggest reason why start-ups succeed | Bill Gross


Is there any difference between leader and manager?

Leadership is all about leading people. A leader is a person who may be a manager or not, but they can influence others. Being a leader holding a formal position or being a manager is not mandatory (Lussier & Achua, 2013). A manager is a person who has a formal title and authority. Managerial roles categories include interpersonal roles, informational roles, and decisional ones. Managerial roles could be a figurehead, leader, liaison, monitor, disseminator, spokesperson, entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator, or negotiator.


Digitalization leads to a transformation of production, logistics, communication, and human resource management. Innovative approaches need to create value from digitalization, connected smart devices, and establish new ways of communication and collaboration. Industry 4.0 is about competitiveness and innovation. Organizations need to adapt their capabilities to handle new challenges. Besides change management, which is a sequential concept, design thinking is an iterative approach linking creative and analytical methods. The goal is to foster the development of new ideas and concepts and increase the innovative power as well as the competitiveness of organizations. A significant challenge for Industry 4.0 is not only to find or implement the right technology, but it is also a lack of digital culture and skills in the organization. Industrial companies need to develop a robust digital culture and to ensure that clear leadership drives the change. There is a need for developing a leadership 4.0 culture in organizations.


1. levels of Leadership  by Mr Vivek Bindra

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