artificial intelligence

Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat to Leadership?

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes jobs redundant by the millions, how can you ensure you have a place in the workplace?

Before you think, ah, but I’m in a leadership role in X industry and this won’t affect me at all: This is about much more than just manufacturing jobs. 

Earlier this year, AI expert Kai-Fu Lee told 60 Minutes that he predicts AI will eliminate employment for 40 percent of jobs in the next 15 years. 

In his book, AI Super Powers, Lee outlines how AI can replace not just repetitive tasks, but also traditionally white-collar careers in many diverse fields, including accounting, marketing, law, hospitality, and even healthcare.

The current move toward artificial intelligence is being characterized as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Are you ready for it? How do you ensure you continue to have a place in the workplace? Can you still stand out or excel in this new age of AI?

Things that AI cannot truly replicate

We have to build on the things that underscore our humanitythe things that AI cannot truly replicate. Things like:

Emotional Intelligence: What makes great leaders stand out from good leaders? Usually it’s emotional intelligence. The good news is that you can learn how to boost your leadership emotional intelligence. 

It’s primarily about self-awareness, self-management and managing relationships with those around you. Being fully conscious of how your behavior affects others is at the core of emotional intelligence.

Effective communication: There is no comparison between someone who can communicate well and communicating with AI. Hands down, effective communication skills will give human leaders a competitive edge over the best bot technology.

Being able to communicate effectively with those around you takes more than strategy. It requires understanding that communication flows two ways and being able to cater your communication style to be delivered in a way that others will receive it well. 

When you are intentional in your communication and listen to understand rather than listen to reply – you can turn difficult conversations into essential conversations.

Curiosity: Harnessing your curiosity can reap huge benefits for your team (and it’s not a characteristic of artificial intelligence!). Instead of directing outcomes and solving problems, a coach approach sees leaders ask questions and cultivate curiosity about everything. 

A growth mindset:  We as leaders can move away from a fear mindset to a growth mindset. This takes us from feeling driven to keep things smooth and even to feeling driven to grow and experiment. Learning from (and celebrating) failures encourages us to stretch and strive to do better.

Strategic thinking: This means not just thinking of the logical next move in the execution of an idea but instead, thinking through the idea to determine the angle of approach. It’s determining the most effective outcome (which isn’t always based on the most efficient approach).

Initiating good conflict: Building good conflict is the act of challenging people you trust to help them develop even better ideas (or them challenging you to do the same). Conflict in this sense isn’t about fighting, it’s about not being afraid to share different perspectives or raising concerns. 

Managing bad conflict: Most of us have experienced bad conflict either performance problems or the nasty, interpersonal conflict between coworkers. Tackling the bad kind of team conflict requires having the unique ability to address a challenge head-on or help the other person find ways to solve it.  

If you build and adapt your leadership style to the needs of individuals you’ll go far – even in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – because while machines can figure out complex problems, they can seldom figure out emotions. 

At this point, artificial intelligence still can’t compete with leaders who boost their emotional intelligence as creative, resourceful, inclusive, respectful and accountable humans.

Coach’s Questions

Where do YOU have an advantage over artificial intelligence? What can you do to boost your emotional intelligence this week? How can you protect your future career from AI? Want to do more to work on your EI? We offer a workshop to help you understand,  assess and develop your emotional intelligence as a leader (and foster emotional intelligence skills with your team).