Artificial Intelligence is here, and it is already causing significant disruption in the workforce. Today, technology is continuously defining the era of fast-paced business transformation and driving a set of questions of what the future of work and leadership in organizations holds. With continuous access to these advances in technology, leaders’ hard skills such as programming and domain knowledge are starting to take a back seat to soft skills such as emotional intelligence, adaptability, flexibility and empathy for humanity.
Artificial intelligence challenges our very humanity. However, it’s potential for advancing innovation and empowerment are limitless. To achieve this potential, leaders and artificial intelligence must learn to work together. Mona Keijzer, Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy stated at the 2019 World Summit that leaders must ensure their organizations are not outlived by this technology, but rather need to champion this innovation and make it work successfully in the long run.
At the Rise and Lead 2019 Summit, International keynote speaker on Leadership, HR, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation, Brigette Hyacinth, spoke on “Embracing Digital Transformation and Change: Leading in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”.
She recommends a few ways business leaders have to evolve to lead effectively in this new and dynamic environment.
1. Put People First
As work relationships between machines and humans in organizations increase, leaders will have to adopt a change in leadership style to better show humanity and emotional intelligence. In order to effectively manage teams whose jobs are augmented by artificial intelligence, leaders must learn to strike a balance between artificial intelligence and the human workforce.
To obtain a competitive advantage in this era, business leaders must learn to:
Establish a clear organizational vision
Communicate to engage team members regularly
Invest in employees to empower their potential in technology
Inspire higher productivity, to create long-term value for the employees and the organization
2. Educate: Think beyond business automation
Indisputably, many people will be displaced from their jobs with the growing presence of artificial intelligence. According to the Irish Management Institute, it has been estimated that 15% of the global workforce – around 400 million workers – could be displaced by automation by 2030. Therefore, leaders need to show compassion and support for employees replaced by new technology. Brigette recommended that organizations offer layoff packages such as advisory support, resume writing and interview training and financial planning sessions to affected employees. She said these incentives would help assist with boosting their morale.
In a world where employees value inclusion, she emphasizes that “nothing can replace the human touch, and companies that will be successful are those that implement technology, yet still have the human touch”.
3. SWOT ANALYSIS
For Ms. Hyacinth, every leader needs to analyze their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). This analysis will bring them to a place of leading with self-awareness, leading to better understanding and connection with their employees. Successful leaders must learn to communicate with the people they want to influence. With this in place, they are more likely to lead in a way that will create the best results for their organization.
At Rise and Lead Women, we believe business leaders will have to rapidly evolve their leadership skills to effectively manage people and artificial intelligence to drive a mutually beneficial future.
Ebere Akadiri is an accomplished entrepreneur and an advocate for women in leadership. Her passion to inspire others to achieve their goals drove her to found Rise and Lead Women along with her co-founder, Poonam Barua. Their mission is to inspire women to take the lead in closing the gender gap in workplaces and in business.