During the global Covid-19 pandemic, the successes of institutional leadership became a key parameter in re-evaluating the impact of innovation and institutional stances amid the complex challenges and exchanges that occurred during the pandemic. In open and distance learning, the Covid-19 pandemic introduced many higher education leaders to the urgency of digital innovation and foresight and the exemplification of sustainability, with regard to digital transformation. In 2020, the University of South Africa publicised its revised 2030 Strategy (2016–2030), advocating the importance of impact, outcomes, outputs, activities and inputs. This drew the focus for key decision-makers again towards leadership, innovation, transformation and sustainability. In this paper, I view the triptych of digital transformational leadership as a form of transformational leadership, in which a triadic appreciative relationship exists between strategic leadership, business knowledge and digital knowledge. In addition, these triadic positionings enhance a collaborative culture with productive relations between academics, colleagues, students and connections of educational environments with the wider community. In this study, I conduct a critical review by using recent literature to explore the ways in which digital transformational leadership can cultivate agency in an open and distance learning higher educational setting. I will also demonstrate that in spaces in which digital transformational leadership are implemented and well maintained institutional communication and digital change can further accelerate connection whereby the mutability of staff and institutional stakeholders can be acknowledged and dealt with.