Chris Nel

Watch out, ‘white collar robots’ about!

As a manager, what you get paid for is changing. Are you?

According to expert trend spotter and founding editor of Wired UK David Rowan ( artificial intelligence (AI) will increasingly – think exponentially – remove the people factor from routine management tasks. Areas such as planning, organising or budgeting, once the staple fare for managers, will soon be heading over to the AI side of the tracks with white collar robots taking the strain.

As with any technological development the first generation applications such as Asana, Basecamp, and Shapecast were merely portends of what is to come. But with glitches rapidly being ironed out and new versions launched daily; software operating under ‘decision rules’ is rapidly transforming day to day business life.

Where does that leave managers? What will organisations need when the routine has become, well routine? In truth what will be needed is the same thing that people and businesses have always needed in order to develop and grow. Particularly in times of rapid change, high uncertainty, resource constraint or the requirement to learn from failure in order to succeed, the one defining factor for success is – Leadership!

In an AI world the primary role of those who are currently described as ‘managers’ will be leadership… inspiring people to want to commit to the vision and strategy of the organisation and enabling them to contribute 100% of their capability. This is not about a change in job title but a change in how ‘managers’ think of what they bring to the organisation. In the not too distant future, the salary and job satisfaction pendulum will swing and you will increasingly need to lead a lot more than you manage.

Want to find out how frequently the people who look to you for leadership currently see you providing it? Try taking the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)  –