How AI can make you a better leader

Posted: 7th June 2024

Source: (21) How AI can make you a better leader | LinkedIn

Like most innovations, AI is filling an ever-expanding array of unmet needs. Hosting your first cocktail party in a new country? AI can script a toast with culturally appropriate humor. Need a new headshot but can’t afford a professional photographer? Headshot generators can turn your selfies into a Linkedin-ready image. Dating someone who doesn’t speak your language? New tools can create videos of you speaking another language, in your own voice.

Watching a keynote on AI from Google’s recent I/O conference got me thinking: how can AI help leaders lead even better? Here are three ideas.

1) Let AI synthesize so you can personalize. Imagine you’re a relatively new people leader preparing for a performance check-in with a team member. This is the first time you’ll have to share difficult feedback with a high performer. Naturally, you want to be prepared, both with the information and mindset you’ll need for a productive, psychologically safe conversation.

Delegate the information part to AI. Perhaps ask it to identify themes from 360-feedback and suggest a growth plan you can refine with your team member. Have it create a basic agenda for your discussion. Ask it to simulate how the conversation might go and role play until you feel more confident.

Yes, you’ll have to finalize and personalize the content for your team member. But this AI-leader partnership allows you to focus less on what you’ll say but how you’ll say it – with empathy, compassion, and composure – as only a human can. You might also have more mindspace to think of times when you received similarly tough feedback and what you learned from it, as well as actions you’ll take to help your team member grow, such as reaching out to another leader to set up a stretch assignment.

2) Ask higher-quality questions. Crafting the right prompts is key to getting quality outputs from generative AI. As such, suddenly we’ve shifted our focus from having the right answers to where it should’ve been all along: asking better questions. Apply your newly honed AI prompting skills to real life. This read from HBRexplores five categories of questions leaders should ask to unearth overlooked root causes, unlock new ideas with speculative “what if” questions and ignite growth with six of the most powerful words ever: “What did we learn from this?”.

3) Level up your leadership with immediate feedback. Multiple AI-based tools offer up instant feedback when you’re leading meetings. If you spend five minutes monologuing, you might be discreetly prompted to stop and pose a question to the team to be more inclusive. You can ask for a summary of key points you expressed and compare that to what you intended to convey, then clarify as necessary. If you’re practicing your manager-as-coach skills, experiment with tools that coaches and therapists useto improve at their craft. These tools analyze the amount of time you spend speaking vs. listening (in coaching conversations, the goal is to get the coachee to do most of the talking) or suggest powerful follow-up questions to understand what’s behind your team member’s words (or what they’re not saying.)

AI offers seemingly unlimited possibilities for virtually every aspect of our lives. Why not explore how AI can help you grow as a highly-human leader?

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