As an early career professional, I am always looking for ways to improve my leadership skills. I read books and articles, seek advice from leaders in my field, and I am even currently enrolled in an MBA program with a primary goal of obtaining formal leadership training and experience. No matter what I do, however, I feel like I am always looking for ways to become a more effective and empowering leader while balancing the demands of my personal life and growing family.
One day, I was talking to a friend who is a software engineer about ways to make the tasks involved in leadership more efficient effective. He told me about ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) technology can be utilized to help leaders make better decisions, automate tasks, and communicate more effectively.
I was intrigued, so I decided to learn more about AI. I started by reading articles, watching videos, and thinking about ways I could utilize AI to optimize my leadership skills. The more I learned about AI, the more excited I became. I realized that AI can be a powerful tool for leaders by helping to make better decisions, automating tasks, and communicating more effectively.
So what does the future of leadership look like? I believe that the future of leadership is AI-augmented humans. Leaders who are able to use AI to their advantage will likely be the most successful leaders in the future.
Below are some ways AI will likely have a significant impact on the future of leadership:
- Data-driven decision-making: In today’s data-driven world, leaders need to make sense of a vast amount of complex information to make effective decisions. AI can assist in analyzing large datasets, identifying patterns, and generating actionable insights. AI-augmented leaders can leverage these insights to inform their decision-making process, leading to more evidence-based and data-informed strategies.
- Enhanced productivity and efficiency: AI technologies can automate repetitive and mundane tasks, freeing up leaders’ time to focus on higher-level strategic thinking and complex problem-solving. By offloading routine tasks to AI systems, leaders can allocate their energy and attention to activities that require human creativity, critical thinking, and relationship-building.
- Scalability and adaptability: AI can assist leaders in scaling their operations and adapting to changing business environments. For instance, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can handle customer queries and provide support 24/7, enabling leaders to provide seamless customer experiences at scale. AI can also analyze market trends and customer preferences, helping leaders adapt their strategies in real-time to meet evolving demands.
- Augmented decision-making: AI technologies, such as predictive analytics and machine learning, can augment leaders’ decision-making processes by providing data-driven insights and recommendations. AI systems can analyze historical data, identify patterns, and predict future outcomes, empowering leaders to make more accurate and informed decisions.
- Continuous learning and improvement: AI can facilitate continuous learning and development for leaders. AI-powered tools can provide personalized recommendations for leadership development, highlight areas for improvement, and offer insights to enhance leadership effectiveness. By leveraging AI for self-improvement, leaders can continuously adapt and grow in their roles.
- Ethical considerations: The future of leadership with AI augmentation also brings ethical considerations. Leaders must ensure that AI technologies are used responsibly, avoiding biases, protecting privacy, and addressing the potential impact on employees and society. Ethical leadership becomes crucial in guiding the development, deployment, and governance of AI systems.
These are just a few of the ways that AI can impact the future of human leadership. As AI continues to develop, we can expect to see even more ways that AI can be used to help leaders be more successful.
So how can leaders prepare for the future of AI? Preparing for the future of AI requires leaders to be proactive and strategic.
Here are some steps leaders can take to prepare for the future of AI:
- Learn about AI: The first step is to learn about AI. Read articles, watch videos, and attend conferences. The more leaders know about and understand AI, the better equipped they will be to use it to their advantage.
- Stay informed: Leaders should actively stay informed about the latest developments, trends, and applications of AI. This includes reading research papers, attending conferences, following industry news, and engaging with experts in the field. By staying updated, leaders can understand the potential impact of AI on their industry and id er a culture of learning: Create a culture that promotes continuous learning and encourages employees to develop skills related to AI. Leaders should invest in training programs, workshops, and resources that enable employees to understand AI concepts, tools, and techniques. This ensures that the organization has a talent pool capable of leveraging AI effectively.
- Identify AI use cases: Leaders should actively explore how AI can be applied within their organization. They can assess different areas where AI can bring value, such as process automation, predictive analytics, personalized customer experiences, or improving operational efficiency. By identifying specific use cases, leaders can prioritize AI initiatives and allocate resources accordingly.
- Develop an AI strategy: Create a comprehensive strategy that outlines how AI will be integrated into the organization’s operations and long-term vision. The strategy should consider factors such as data acquisition, infrastructure requirements, talent acquisition, ethical considerations, and potential risks. Align the AI strategy with the overall business strategy to ensure coherence and maximize the benefits of AI adoption.
- Establish partnerships and collaborations: Leaders should actively seek partnerships and collaborations with AI experts, startups, academic institutions, and other organizations. These partnerships can provide access to expertise, cutting-edge research, and technological advancements. Collaborations can also help in addressing challenges and accelerating AI adoption. There are many AI companies that offer consulting services. These companies can help leaders implement AI in their organization and get the most out of it.
- Address ethical and legal considerations: As AI evolves, ethical and legal considerations become increasingly important. Leaders should understand the ethical implications of AI, such as privacy, bias, and transparency, and develop guidelines and policies to ensure responsible AI use. Compliance with relevant regulations and standards should also be a priority.
- Test and iterate: It’s important to start experimenting with AI in a controlled environment. Leaders can initiate pilot projects to test AI applications and gather insights on their feasibility and impact. This iterative approach allows for learning from mistakes, refining strategies, and adapting to the evolving AI landscape.
- Embrace a growth mindset: Leaders should foster a mindset that embraces change and innovation. They should be open to exploring new AI technologies and adapting business models to leverage AI effectively. Being flexible and adaptable will help leaders navigate the uncertainties and opportunities that arise with AI advancements.
By following these steps, leaders can position themselves and their organizations to effectively navigate the future of AI and harness its transformative potential. Preparing for the future of AI can help leaders in numerous ways including attaining a competitive advantage, optimizing businesses, enhancing customer experiences, developing strategic insights, increasing societal impact, and facilitating talent development and retention.
Although AI is a tool that can empower leaders, it is important to note that AI should be seen as a complementary tool that augments human abilities rather than a replacement for human expertise or leadership.
While I will continuously work to develop the skills necessary to become a more effective leader, I will simultaneously prepare myself for the future of leadership by exploring ways to utilize AI technology to augment my leadership skills. The future of leadership is AI-augmented humans. Leaders who embrace and learn about AI today will likely be the most successful leaders in the future.
About the Author: Jesse Conyers, MD is a practicing Breast Imaging radiologist at Emory University Hospital. She completed her radiology residency at UT Southwestern in Dallas and medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently earning an MBA in the Emory Goizueta Business School Evening MBA program.