How Will AI Transform Leadership?
Forget the dystopian tales of machines taking over the world. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is about changing the role of leadership, for the greater good!
By Jack Nodding, 12 July, 2019
Artificial intelligence (AI) is about to enter the business world en masse. Collaboration between humans and machines has always changed the division of labour. Traditionally, this has been more keenly felt at the production end of the spectrum.
However, what makes AI a real game-changer is that it will affect all levels of organisational hierarchy and the obligations of each. From the C-Suite to the front lines. And so, AI has (and will continue to) change the nature of leadership.
The good news for you leaders out there: AI isn’t here to take your jobs!
Its main task? To assist leaders in the decision-making process. Which is perfect because decision-making is one of the ultimate tests for leaders! So, let’s take a look at how exactly AI will change leadership. For good, not evil.
Data mining is fast becoming a popular business approach. It operates a little like a digital fortune teller. By studying historic data sets, companies can anticipate future events and trends.
The only issue is that this kind of finicky numberwork can be time-consuming. Not to mention brain taxing. So, that’s where the smart bots enter the equation. AI’s predictive capabilities truly are a godsend for busy leaders with busier schedules.
As AI technologies edge their way into the business mainstream, leaders won’t need to go so time heavy on data analysis tools. Hallelujah. AI changes the way leaders use predictive technologies, for the better. It’s here to make sense of the stats for you (plus offer some A-grade recommendations in addition).
Now when it comes to the numeric side of life, machines definitely have a competitive edge! Which makes predictive AI technologies the ultimate business tools for leadersas they assist across several key areas. For example:
1. The ability to assess cost-effectiveness and ROI potential
2. The opportunity to optimise the buyer’s journey through sustained consumer behaviour analysis
3. The chance to reduce customer churn rates
4. Space to correctly evaluate the success ratio of set goals
How does AI do this exactly? Well, it mines data from every kind of platform, software and/or application your company has. It then uses this data to gather insights and adapt to emerging trends. AI supplies the analysis, so leaders can make informed decisions.
Reduce decision fatigue
When business leaders have to make multiple decisions, there is an inevitable dip in energy. There’s only so long your brain can stay on its decision A-game. And these dips in energies can (and often do) result in leaders making wrong choices. Or low-quality decisions at any rate.
Why else would Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same thing every day? It’s (definitely) not a fashion statement. They’re keeping those energy reserves full! Removing little decisions to create brain space for the big ones.
But leaders will no longer have to sacrifice their brain reserves (nor their fashion sense). An algorithm doesn’t suffer from such a human predicament as “low energy”. Artificial Intelligence can make an infinite number of decisions with zero error or lack of judgement.
And so, Artificial Intelligence alleviates decision fatigue! Reason being? They eliminate steps in the leaders’ decision-making process. AI helps leaders make better decisions, faster and more consistently. Which makes AI technologies powerful allies for business leaders.
AI solutions change leaders' decision-making by streamlining the process. They operate as a workplace analytics platform. And by integrating data science tools and neural machine learning, AI gives forward-thinking leaders a decision-making edge.
The reality of senior management roles is that leaders constantly have to make big calls on complex decisions. And weighing a whole lot of factors (in service of the bigger picture) can become a bit of a balancing act.
Now the problem with this decisional multi-tasking is that leaders can get caught up in the minutiae of the “finer points”. Too much data buzzing around can overwhelm even the most mathematically minded leaders. It can fog up the big picture and lead to value creation in one area at the expense of another.
Machines don’t have this issue of selective focus. AI technologies easily handle multiple inputs without exhaustion or confusion. And they give each area an equal amount of attention.
AI absorbs vast quantities of data, guided by algorithms that reflect the probability of a specific choice. They can recommend the most logical course of action. Aka, leaders won’t have to play the balancing act (as much). They can rely on AI to simplify the decision-process for an abundance of tasks. Their very own rain man.
As AI shifts leaders’ workflow process to automation, this will ease pressure on already strained business leaders. As more routine functions become automated, leaders can be more action-oriented, productive and creative in their workdays. Multi-tasking steps aside for focus.
AI technologies equip business leaders with hard evidence, possible outcomes, and predictions. The kind of stuff that helps leaders make more informed, data-driven decisions. As AI takes over the hard-skills side of the leadership wheel, leaders will have to focus on what AI can’t do: the human factor.
AI will increase the importance of soft-skills in leadership. Not that there’s anything soft about them. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be able to outthink us in many ways. So as AI takes over the more numbers-based, cyclical, everyday tasks, leaders must focus on their people.
Being able to evaluate, appreciate and interact will be a must for leaders (if it isn’t already). And so, emotional intelligence and effective communication skills will be the defining factors that make leaders unique.
So, while AI technologies are busy taking over the hard evidence decisions, leaders will be increasingly responsible for inspiring and driving their teams towards shared goals. To motivate their people to work towards those AI-driven decisions.
Deciding on best-fit talent acquisition
Finding the best fit for the job requires a lot of time from hiring managers. They need to go through the pool of applicants, sweep through the resumes, and vet each one, individually. But who has time for that when you’re inundated with applicants? AI does.
AI will change the way HR leaders recruit and assess potential candidates. They offer a huge amount of support for leaders by automating iterative tasks. They can sift through hundreds of CV’s, analyse applicant sentiment, and dig through enough information to understand who fits best with the organisational culture.
Basically, AI algorithms carry the set of skills and competencies to fill the organisation appropriately. Without that pesky issue of bias! Using AI for best-fit decisions works to weed out and eliminate those unintentional biases.
HR leaders will also be able to select the best candidate from all applicants by automating most of the responsibilities that make the hiring process slow and inefficient. With the mundane assessments and comparisons out of the way, hiring managers will only have to use their (human) judgement to make the best candidate decision.
Disruptive technologies are changing the world of leadership. For the better, it seems. For business leaders, AI intervention can be a great tool and a resilient support system. Operational efficiencies allow leaders to focus less on the cognitive processing of facts and processing and more on their communication, delegation, and problem-solving skills.
Ultimately, AI will streamline and inform the decision-making process and the best course of action. And, free up time for leaders to focus on the more human aspects of an organisation. Time for creative problem solving and inspiring their people towards a strategic vision.