AI, Leaders & People – The Results Can Go Either Way

I recently ran a ChatGPT query on what leaders need to know about AI, and a second one on what is the biggest mistake a leader can make regarding AI. The answers were reasonable, although a bit bland. I chalk this up to my queries not being very imaginative. The answers highlighted looking for integration opportunities, creating a data driven culture, ethical concerns, developing a continuous learning culture, and collaboration between people and AI.

Reviewing the responses, I found they had a strong focus on the people aspect of a leader’s work, even though the focus was on technology. ChatGPT highlighted that to make the most of AI, leaders need to enable a data driven, continuous learning, experimenting, collaborating, empowered culture. This aligns well with what we know of successful organizations today and it means there is a consistency for leaders as AI becomes more ingrained. Leaders need to continue to be leaders of people – the general job skill requirements won’t change much as AI becomes more prevalent. So, from a bland inquiry I gained some general insights that supported my current thoughts and biases.

To investigate further, I ran a Google query on leadership and AI, and I found approximately half the articles were very similar to the GPT responses my queries generated. Not a scientific study by any means, but it highlighted the risk of using AI only from an efficiency point of view. The articles were likely produced with minimal effort in a short time which is a great efficiency gain, however, the material was not differentiated from other articles. A bland inquiry produced bland results – similar to the second paragraph above.

Leaders need to leverage AI both for efficiency and ingenuity. It is important to recognize when just efficiency is enough, like for repeatable non-core tasks that do not differentiate the organization. More importantly, leaders must recognize when AI needs to be leveraged for deeper insights and data analysis so unique conclusions can be drawn and ideas can be tried more quickly, with better confidence than without AI. Differentiation is where value is created.

To differentiate their organization, leaders need to understand AI and people. AI knowledge helps leaders to know what is possible, and people knowledge helps leaders to know when team members are taking the easy road, and how they can instead help team members to exceed their own expectations.