We tend to think of revolutions in terms of overthrowing a government, but not all revolution is political. The industrial revolution changed the world by overthrowing the agrarian society of the agriculture age, but it didn’t create new governments.
Today, we are at the beginning of a revolution in business and leadership. If you’ve been paying attention, it’s pretty obvious that command-and-control style leadership is quickly going away and that over the next 10 years it will completely disappear. Unlike like the French Revolution, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will actually lose their head, but many will surely lose their minds.
One of the major driving forces of this movement is, of course, the Internet. Everyone who surfs the web now knows that they have a greater opportunity to be autonomous and entrepreneurial than they ever have in the history of the world. This is true of employees as well as owners. Because of this democratization of opportunity, you and your organization are no longer the only or even potentially the best option your talent has.
While the revolution may have begun with the internet, a driving force in the talent revolution that’s allowed the seeds of revolution to take root is the ubiquity of artificial intelligence or AI. Artificial intelligence will not only become every faster it will be far more efficient, cost-effective, and systemized. Remember that whatever it is you know, AI can and will learn it and use so quickly you will become irrelevant!
If we as leaders are going not just to survive but thrive in the AI revolution, we will need a completely new focus.
What is that new focus?
Human capital development.
Remember when the person with the most knowledge had the power? Well, that’s over!
As the accumulation of knowledge becomes less and less valuable, every human interaction will have greater value. Therefore, we will require greater levels of emotional intelligence, conversational intelligence, relational intelligence and the ability to navigate human dynamics. Leadership and its core will not only require far greater levels of self-awareness, self-knowledge, and emotional intelligence, but also the ability to communicate in a powerful, effective, and persuasive manner.
One key element of this in the context of leadership is something I’ve spoken about extensively in my work for the last twenty-plus years–the power of vulnerability. No matter how sophisticated A.I. becomes, it can never show real human vulnerability. It is in our vulnerability that we get to know each other beyond anything the “data” can reveal. It is in genuine vulnerability that we reveal ourselves not only to each other but often to ourselves. This is how we truly connect human to human, heart to heart, mind to mind.
For many in “old school” leadership positions who are unfamiliar with allowing people to really see them, this can, of course, be scary and may even seem threatening. In fact, the truth is that by the time most of us reach the position of leader, there’s a pretty good chance that we were trained to never show any vulnerability.
So where can we find a springboard to vulnerability?
In a word—by learning. For example, it can understandably be difficult for a leader who has never shared any true feelings to step out and reveal themselves emotionally. However, one way a leader can decide to venture towards healthy vulnerability is by sharing how they are excited about learning something they did not know, particularly in the context of their own development as a human being.
For instance, Anita might say to one of her managers, “I’m really excited to learn how to listen better.” This not only demonstrates vulnerability but, as a bonus, it opens her up to learn and grow while investing in her own human capital.
Human capital is what enables us to thrive in the A.I. revolution. When we look at the assets of a company, it’s easy to pull the spreadsheet and talk bottom-line profit and lose. What we so often forget is that the largest asset investment is in our people. It cost us 1.5 to 2 times the annual salary of an individual to replace them. The training of that individual at an emotional intelligence level is a far greater economic investment that will pay off for their entire career with your organization.
The revolution is upon us and we can no longer ask our people to do what we are not willing to do. It should be noted that to have your people embrace the kind of training requires the leaders of an organization to see it as valuable and to be embedded in the process themselves.
As leaders, we must go first. We must prove our integrity.
Leaders must lead!
The mic is yours:
“What are you doing to actively increase your emotional intelligence, your ability to connect at an emotional level with your peers and those who report to you?
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