Blog: Beyond AI—Leadership
As much as we at Innovexa Solutions rave about how AI will transform all of our futures, some skills will always be invaluable, leadership is one of them.
We are always talking about the incredible value artificial intelligence (AI) is bringing and will bring to all of our lives, particularly in our places of work. We stand by that message, however, it’s also important not to overlook the human qualities that will remain crucial in the workplace for the foreseeable future, despite the upcoming advancements in AI. The quality we want to talk about today is leadership.
Now, we could talk about, in great length, leadership traits such as management or diligence, and while they are certainly important for leadership, they’re also something that down the line an intelligent automated system will have the ability to replace. Rather, we want to discuss leadership attributes that may always be valuable (at least, until/if AI intelligence surpasses our own).
Being a leader means having a concrete idea about where you want to take your business, association, or team. Any organization or unit needs some sense of forward progression to stay productive, competitive, and avoid growing stale. This is true in just about every domain. Let’s look somewhere other than business and, instead, sports management to illustrate this.
Whether you’re a head coach of a NBA basketball team or a manager of a Premier League soccer team, visionary leadership is as important as anything else. If your team isn’t winning, have the vision to change that. If your team is winning, have the vision to continue growing. In either situation, allowing your team to stay where it is is not an option. In the first scenario you’ll keep losing, in the second, other teams will eventually figure your team out.
Can something automated by AI do this? Highly unlikely. We use AI to do the things we’re already doing or trying to do, better, with greater efficiency or precision, we’re not using it to independently innovate, with a vision of where to go next.
Vision ties in nicely with courage. You can have a vision, but if you’re unable to act on it, it amounts to nothing. And, as is often the case, visionaries attempt things that are at the time thought to be foolish or unfeasible (perhaps rightfully so, in the sense that at that point whatever they’re attempting very well might be).
But, that’s exactly why we need leaders like that. The Steve Jobs’, the Bill Gates’, the Elon Musks, they are people who took great risks and made decisions that beat the odds. They also often failed along the way, yet had the character to keep trying.
That kind of bold decision-making is not always what makes sense, it can in fact be far more pragmatic for you to make decisions that are more conservative, or to cut your losses after a risk doesn’t pay off. And that’s why an AI programmed to act in a way that is sensible, that is pragmatic, won’t act in a way that is at the time foolish—and down the line, possibly brilliant.
A third quality that a strong leader has is the ability to develop the people around him or her. This can come about in a number of ways. You might have someone on your team that’s brilliant but lacks confidence, in which case you might have to support them as they build it. Or you might have someone who has a great deal of potential but has an inflated sense of what they’re contributing, in which you’ll have to deftly get across that they could be doing more.
This means having a number of other attributes that make the team development possible, such as empathy, honesty, and interpersonal skills. Or, in short, the sort of humanity that something artificially intelligent cannot show.
With all these uniquely human skills in mind, it’s clear that AI and automation cannot do everything we need in the workplace. We will keep touting the incredible benefits they bring to any organization, but equally, we will also emphasize the human qualities that will compliment them.
- Takeaway 1: There are some human qualities that AI cannot replace any time soon, if ever.
- Takeaway 2: One such quality is vision, as AI can help you do what you’re already doing, but it can’t unilaterally determine the next step.
- Takeaway 3: Another invaluable trait is courage, since you often can’t take that next step without it, and that next step is often risky and thus could be deemed the wrong path forward by an AI.
- Takeaway 4: Lastly, team development is a skill that AI cannot showcase due to the humanity needed to do it proficiently.
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