Human'ish Leaders Leverage the AI Gaps

Human’ish Leaders Leverage the AI Gaps

As the possibility of automation “replacing” human employment through robotics and artificial intelligence has become a reality, many of us are experiencing a degree of whiplash.

The World Economic Forum predicts that by as early as 2025, automation will displace nearly 85 million jobs. On the other hand, according to its analysis, a tech-driven economy will generate 97 million new employment opportunities. For workers who are prepared to retrain and reskill, there is a bright side.

This could be even rosier for leaders as the premium rises for being human’ish–showing up as authentic, down-to-earth, and engaged one-to-one in the moment.

As Steve Chandler and I were writing The Leader and The Coach: The Art of Humanity in Leadership, we observed that when examined closely, the outputs of A.I. today often have more in common with old-school leadership (passionless, rote, remote, impersonal, linear) than they do the more approachable, personally insightful, human connectors-as-leaders more highly valued today.

The most valuable leader of tomorrow is paying attention to the AI revolution and looking for ways to distinguish themselves. “What can’t AI do that I can, at least for the foreseeable future?” Typically, critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving are among the skills where humans often have an advantage.

In a recent opinion piece in The New York Times, David Brooks suggested several of the areas where today’s AI solutions can’t match up. Here are three of them.

One is situational awareness. This is a stock-in-trade of experienced leaders. “A person with this skill has a feel for the unique contours of the situation she is in the middle of. She has an intuitive awareness of when to follow the rules and when to break the rules, a feel for the flow of events, a special sensitivity, not necessarily conscious, for how fast to move and what decisions to take that will prevent her from crashing on the rocks. This sensitivity flows from experience, historical knowledge, humility in the face of uncertainty, and having led a reflective and interesting life. It is a kind of knowledge held in the body as well as the brain.”

A second is empathy. “Machine thinking is not great for understanding the unique individual right in front of you. If you want to be able to do this . . . [study] literature, drama, biography and history, you learn about what goes on in the minds of other people. If you can understand another person’s perspective, you have a more valuable skill than the skill possessed by some machine vacuuming up vast masses of data about no one in particular.”

A third is creativity. “When you interact for a while with a system like GPT-3, you notice that it tends to veer from the banal to the completely nonsensical,” Alison Gopnik, famed for her studies on the minds of children, observes. “Somehow children find the creative sweet spot between the obvious and the crazy.” Children, she argues, don’t just imitate or passively absorb data; they explore, and they create innovative theories and imaginative stories to explain the world. You want to take classes — whether they are about coding or painting — that unleash your creativity, that give you a chance to exercise and hone your imaginative powers.”

Leaders who show up and let their human’ish distinctions shine will be valued in a world where AI and its progeny can actually free us to be ever more uniquely individual. Sounds as though it could be something worth embracing, not fearing. Mind the gaps.

~Will Keiper, co-author with Steve Chandler of The Leader and The Coach: The Art of Humanity in Leadership

#leadership #leadershipcoaching #businesscoach #coachingleaders #leadershipdevelopment #executivecoaching #leaderascoach #awareness #consciousleadership

The Leader & The Coach by Steve Chandler & Will Keiper
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