Automating a manager’s job is one thing, but the other side of the coin is the skills human managers need to master to cope with this automation. A few years ago, Harvard Business Review surveyed 1,770 managers in 14 countries about what skills managers need to develop in an era of widespread use of artificial intelligence. Here’s what the results of that survey are.
Area 1: boring and tedious managerial activities
As the first area, managers listed activities and tasks related to coordinating the work of their employees and administration in general – arranging schedules, vacations, admissions, etc. It also involves writing reports, analyzing data. As an example, data analytics company Tableau has announced a partnership with Narrative Science, a provider of natural language generation tools based in Chicago. The collaboration has resulted in Narratives for Tableau, a free Chrome extension that automatically creates written explanations for Tableau graphics. 86% of respondents said they just wanted AI support for monitoring and reporting.
Area 2: evaluating people’s work
In evaluating someone’s work, we often rely on our own experience, reflection, a somewhat hollow memory and whether we like or dislike someone. This is the essence of human judgment – applying experience and knowledge to critical decisions and business practices. Such judgment is highly unreliable and not very objective. Therefore, respondents to the survey indicated that one potential use of machine learning and artificial intelligence will be the ability to evaluate situations that elude human perception, including a more objective assessment of human performance.
Area 3: machines as colleagues
Another area in which managers need to find their way is collaborating with machines. They can’t race against them, because due to the purposes for which these machines were built, they will always be better than humans, but humans can rely on their calculations as part of their judgments and decision-making. AI will not only support the work of managers, but also enable them to interact with intelligent machines in a collegial way, through conversation or other intuitive interfaces. AI will be their always-available assistant and advisor.
Area 4: managers like designers
While we all have the creative Steve Jobs before our eyes, managers don’t need to be creative, but they do need to be able to harness the creativity of others. In doing so, they combine different ideas into integrated, feasible and attractive solutions. A third of the managers in the survey identified creative thinking and experimentation as a key skill area they need to learn to succeed as AI increasingly takes over administrative work.
Area 5: social skills higher in the age of artificial intelligence
The results of the survey indicate that managers expect to need to have even higher social skills, as well as networking, coaching and knowledge-sharing skills in the era of artificial intelligence applications. The higher the social competence of machines, the higher the competence of managers will have to be!