Artificial intelligence is increasing in presence, and we can either embrace it or be replaced by it. This is not a reference to the popular belief that robots will rise up against us and wipe out humankind from existence; it is an acknowledgement that the rise of AI will have an impact on society, both today and in the future.
For tomorrow’s leaders, this will be particularly important, because just as today’s leaders have no resemblance to the warlords of yesteryear, tomorrow’s leaders will look nothing like today’s. Are you ready to evolve and meet tomorrow’s challenges?
How AI and human capital will measure up
Whatever your feelings are about the issue, AI is here to stay, and it’s already having an impact on how your company operates. Even as a fledgling technology, AI is much better than human beings at identifying patterns, automating areas of performance and avoiding errors. It’s already acing the task, with a large number of company executives reporting that AI’s most critical business function is the improvement of operational efficiency.
We are seeing jobs for drivers, paralegals, accountants and the like begin to whither, and this trend may continue as AI advances. Leaders, therefore, must focus on the things human beings are better at; things like analysing. Humans outshine their robot competition in providing the ‘why’ when machines provide the ‘how’. Successful leaders of the future will need to build ongoing learning and critical analysis into organisation culture to keep their people competitive.
Funnily enough, AI is now handling a significant amount of the training of humans. Executives are investing in AI for employee training at a higher rate than for building data-based solutions. This is a somewhat encouraging sign that AI is being used to help employees do better at their jobs rather than replacing them.
The traits of tomorrow’s leaders
As well as training their workforce to complement the presence of AI, leaders of the future may have the following traits:
- Adaptability – with an evolving workforce and a changing world, leaders will need to adapt to more than just new technologies.
- Acknowledging skillsets – as AI optimises efficiencies, it will be more important than ever for leaders to surround themselves with people smarter than they are to succeed.
- Long-term vision – history has shown that a forward-thinking approach is more important than short-term certainty, and this will not be changing anytime soon.
- Forming purposeful connections – as AI reshapes and, inevitably, reduces the workforce, it will be extremely important to build meaningful connections.
- Self-awareness – leaders will have to avoid delusion by identifying and understanding their strengths and weaknesses.
- Tolerance for tension – leadership means taking the rough with the smooth, so it will be essential to exercise patience when the storms come.
- Curiosity of vision – AI lacks curiosity and vision, so leaders need to have these traits to solve problems that arise.
- Engagement – human interactions and engagement cannot be coded, and AI cannot be allowed to hinder transparency in leadership. Engagement will be key.</li>
Putting Emotional Wisdom before EQ & IQ
The single most important trait of tomorrow’s leaders will be emotional wisdom. This is the lesser-known attribute that few are aware of, but it is more important in daily life. So-called ‘soft’ skills like “emotional wisdom” will become more important in the human workforce than ‘hard’ skills’, because the latter are precisely what AI is designed to do better than humans.
The leader of the future will need to complement AI rather than compete with it. Currently, AI cannot be taught empathy, or to infer meaning and manage emotions, and emotion is a key consideration even in business. Your AI itself will tell you that a large percentage of leadership success is attributed to emotional wisdom; is your company creating the leaders of the future?
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