How to Become a Leader in Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 and Leadership! Nowadays, about the technological impact of Industry 4.0, a world dominated by serving robots and driverless vehicles is the most processed images of futurists and science fiction directors (At the time of writing, robots collecting dishes in a restaurant, preparing Turkish coffee, robots working as consultants and as a cooker at the airport have also begun to be seen).

Our world is changing faster than ever before in history, and everyone and everything from governments to the smallest part of society is affected by the destructive effect of this change. We are in the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” or “Industry 4.0”, and this era looks very different from the previous three revolutions.

Understanding Industry 4.0

Understanding Industry 4.0 first starts with understanding other previous industrial revolutions and their effects. The adventure of industrialization that started with the invention of steam engines and railways in the 1700s, the use of mass production lines in the 1800s, the introduction of electricity and electronics into our lives in the 1900s, and mechanical automation technologies and today’s connected technologies, internet, big data, artificial intelligence, deep learning and many changes such as machine learning, robots, virtual reality, additive manufacturing, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, cloud computing have come one after another. In fact, when we look at the previous revolutions, each component of Industry 4.0 can be considered a separate revolution, and each one high-tech affects our lives most deeply.

Just a few years ago, not so long ago, people pointed to software engineers as the profession of the future, today’s artificial intelligence ChatGPT allows you to print software in the language you want in minutes, without needing to know any coding (of course, it is still in development). We can understand how fast the change is progressing from here.

Rebuilding Leadership and Industry 4.0

Of course, it is not possible for managerial thoughts and leadership theories to remain the same in today’s world where technology, lifestyles, habits, working styles, business processes, products, materials and many other things are changing and unpredictable so rapidly. The subject of leadership is evolving from the great man theory of the 1800s to the theories put forward by management gurus such as Weber-Fayol-Taylor. Since everything has changed today, it seems inevitable that leadership will also transform according to the conditions of the times.

Generations are shrinking, intergenerational conflicts are increasing. The expectations of each new generation from life and business life are also changing rapidly. The relationships of leaders with these new generations are becoming at least as important as following the technology and gaining the competencies and skills required by the age.

Seek answers for new age Technologies!

In order to reconstruct leadership competencies and skills, it is necessary to start with leadership theories from past to present and focus on the relationship between Leadership and Industry 4.0 and to seek answers to the question of how leadership should be in the Fourth Industrial Revolution for adaptable, sustainable and high-performance companies.

The academic study in the book “Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Leadership 4.0” addresses what leaders should do and the competencies and skills they should acquire. The leadership model and organizational transformation compass, which the author calls “Leadership 4.0”, are stated in four main columns as follows;

Adaptation to Technology

Leaders and companies that follow technological developments, use data and analytics, and attach importance to digitalization.


An environment that establishes an environment open to transformation, an organization that learns continuously and an environment that encourages continuous improvement.

Agile & Sustainable Organization

Organizations with an agile structure, flexibility, creating new competencies and a new culture.

Leadership & Motivation

Organizations that set vision and strategy, are focused on innovation and customers, and focus on every level of the organization.

In summary, leadership in Industry 4.0 is not only about dealing with the digital transformation of jobs in the company. In this revolution, mechanical digital transformations alone will not be enough to make companies sustainable and successful in a disruptive competitive environment.

To adapt to these changes, new competencies and skills need to be acquired by both leaders and their followers. Thus, they will have an opportunity to adapt to all unpredictable changes. As Darwin said, “Neither the strongest nor the most intelligent species survives, the one that survives is the most adaptable to change.”

So, what kind of leader will you be?

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