Purpose The leadership shift from conventional to digital comes from the compulsory digitalization of the workplace because the technological progress provides the opportunity of doing work remotely, and this is a great advantage of reducing costs that stem from the offline workplace. Thus, this research aims at demonstrating the relationship between digitalization of leadership and innovative work behavior. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected from 320 Turkish department managers in the Textile Industry through digital leadership and innovate work behavior scales. The hypotheses were tested using path analysis. The analyses were conducted by using SPSS and AMOS package programs. Findings The results show that the employees' perceptions of digital leadership have a positive and significant effect on all dimensions of an employee innovative work behavior. Also, the leaders with high digital skills were perceived positively by the employees and the employees tend to adapt innovative behaviors when they have the digitally skilled leaders. Originality/value This study contributes to leadership research by providing evidence for the role of leadership shift in innovative work behavior. Extending the verification of leadership shift in innovative work behavior that can be adopted in Turkey has also been considered.