Leadership and AI
Can technology improve leadership?
The short answer is that leadership is not a product of technology, so technology itself can’t improve leadership. It will likely help free up time for leaders to build relationships and provide feedback; essentially, it can help to shape leaders, as we have seen throughout history, but let’s not assume that it can improve leadership.
So that leaders use their experience, knowledge, and skills, they need something (technology) to compensate, complement and overcome their limited nature to achieve goals that would not be done without technology.
Different eras of technology have called for different types of leaders. And this article will focus on the digital era for the road ahead.
In the digital era, we look for leaders who mediate between different reasons to use or not use technology because the best facilitator is the one who is most likely to use their experience and expertise to help others trust themselves and one another to do a job none can do alone. Leaders in this era must be able to inspire and motivate their teams, regardless of AI.
Leaders take on the role and responsibilities of someone who nurtures a culture in which decisions on how something should and should not be used are made deliberately and intentionally by everyone. They trust everyone on their teams to use their experience, knowledge, and skills when determining if and, if so, how it makes sense to use a specific technology.
Leaders, we must not confuse something with someone, e.g., by suggesting that AI can help leaders become better at dealing with emotions, we forget that digital technology and leadership have conflicting purposes, one that free up time, the other is to spend our limited time and resources in a way that makes sense for ourselves and our surroundings.
Leaders who want to succeed in the digital era should embrace their limited time as the unique feature that makes them and their employees, colleagues, and customers human. The most effective way to do this is to pay attention to the balance between using the artificial to compensate, complement, and overcome our limited nature and our need to put our humanity to use.
To practice the art of leading, more is needed to ask than how we can use technology; we must also ask what technology prevents us from doing so we can spend our time on the things that matter most as leaders. We must do the hard stuff, such as thinking for ourselves and making our own decisions and remember that they make our lives meaningful. We must not fear AI; it is already a reality we should enthusiastically embrace it for the road ahead.