Fears about artificial intelligence run deep. Whether it’s machines taking over the world or just taking our jobs, we’ve been fretting about the potential of AI since the idea was first dreamed up. But artificial intelligence isn’t the domain of science fiction any more—it’s going to increasingly be a crucial part of the modern workplace. So where does that leave the humans? What is the role of management going to be?
AI can't do everything
The good news is, no, management is not going to be out of a job. There’s plenty that AI just can’t do, and there will always be a need for human judgment and innovation to make a business thrive. That is the real value of a good manager.
Right now, though, managers report that an average of 54% of their time is spent on administrative tasks, such as preparing analytical reports or even juggling employee schedules. That’s a massive amount of resources currently committed to routine tasks. Here, then, is where AI comes in. All of those administrative chores can and will be automated—and that will free up that whopping 54% of time for the humans to spend on collaboration, problem solving, and strategy.
There’s no need to feel pressure to compete with the machines; AI and human management have complementary but distinct skill sets, advantages, and roles. What that means is that the best scenario is one where management learns to treat AI as a collaborator, not a rival. Combining a machine’s ability to number-crunch with human insight will yield better results for everyone.
Preparing for the future
So what does that mean for management right now? Simple: the skills that are going to be increasingly in demand in future won’t be the administrative ones. Focus on developing your own creative and critical thinking skills, and almost more importantly, on how to help foster creative collaboration in your team. Being able to manage a shift schedule won’t guarantee your job in the coming years, but being an effective leader and problem solver will—and you’ll have all the time in the world to focus on precisely that.
The machines aren't taking over. They're just here to help.