·         AI provides immediate feedback and personalised guidance, but it lacks the emotional intelligence, creativity, and ethical judgment that define effective human leadership., argues Linus Okorie

·         Does the prominence of artificial intelligence foretell a leadership crisis, or is it a catalyst for redefining the very essence of what it means to lead?


·         The 21st century has ushered in an era characterized by realities like rapid technological advancements, globalization, individualism and diversity. Leaders must navigate the fine line between leveraging technology as a powerful asset and avoiding its pitfalls as a time-consuming distraction. Leaders must master the effective use of technology to remain agile and relevant in a fast-paced world. Artificial intelligence, data analytics, and digital communication tools are not just tools but enablers that, when used effectively, can drive innovation and organizational success.

·         Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as one of the most transformative technologies of our time. Its rapid evolution and integration into various aspects of our lives have led to discussions and debates about its dominance. In this article, we will explore the concept of AI domination and human-centred leadership.

·         The rise of artificial intelligence. Is it a signal of the impending robot apocalypse or just another excuse for humans to panic about something they don’t understand?

·         Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to bring about significant changes in society and transform various sectors. AI can be used to improve efficiency and productivity in various industries, such as healthcare, finance, and transportation. For example, in the healthcare sector, AI can be used to analyze medical data and assist doctors in making more accurate diagnoses and treatment recommendations. It can also be used to monitor patient health and alert healthcare providers to potential problems.

·         Despite all of this, possible scenarios include replacement of the entire human workforce due to automation, takeover by AI, and the popular notion of a robot uprising. Some public figures, such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, have even advocated research into precautionary measures to ensure future superintelligent machines remain under human control. Harvard Business Review conducted a survey of more than 600 employees across multiple industries. The result indicated that these

·         employees have more confidence in AI than in their human bosses in certain areas of leadership.

·         Towards the end of 2022, the world was thrown into an agitation when OpenAI, a US-based AI firm, released a revolutionary solution called “ChatGPT” which could converse, reply to text messages sent by humans and answer almost any question with minimal error as if it were human itself and all-knowing. This solution that is likened to be an advanced search engine are useful tools in the workplace. This is used to write news articles, public speeches, academic papers, computer codes and can go as far as analyzing vast amounts of data and identifying patterns more accurately than any human being.

·         With AI, you can reduce or eliminate the bias that come with a leader’s mental state, background, and personal relationships/preferences, which positions AI to excel in the areas of planning, strategy and decision-making. AI can also be more consistent and less variable than humans, which is beneficial in certain areas of leadership like performing repetitive tasks, making them more efficient and cost effective. For example, in the manufacturing sector, robots and automation can perform tasks like welding, assembly, and packaging. Similarly, AI-powered chatbots can handle customer inquiries, reducing the need for human customer service representatives.

·         AI can also offer employees more personalized, immediate feedback on their performance. AI can analyze an employee’s strengths and areas of improvement and offer guidance, training, or other resources to help them grow.

·         As organizations navigate the complexities of the modern world, the truth remains steadfast – the best leaders cannot be replaced by AI. Humans may be imperfect but authentic. On the flip side, AI may be faster but robotic. This knowledge helps us all to agree that while AI can provide immediate feedback and personalized guidance, it lacks the emotional intelligence, creativity, and ethical judgment that define effective human leadership.

·         Human-centered leadership places people at the core of decision-making processes, acknowledging the unique strengths and capabilities that humans bring to the table. This leadership approach is not about resisting technological change but embracing it while maintaining a steadfast commitment to the wellbeing and development of individuals within the organization.

·         One of the cornerstones of human-centered leadership is emotional intelligence, a trait deeply ingrained in human nature. The ability to understand, connect, and empathize with others is an important skill that goes beyond the capabilities of AI. Leaders who can navigate the intricacies of human emotions foster a positive organizational culture and build strong, resilient teams.

·         While AI excels at processing data and performing specific tasks, it lacks the capacity for visionary thinking and creativity inherent in human leaders. The best leaders possess the ability to envision the future, think strategically, and innovate in ways that go beyond the algorithmic capabilities of AI. Creative problem-solving and the ability to adapt to dynamic environments are hallmarks of human leadership.

·         Leadership often requires making decisions in ambiguous and rapidly changing situations. The best leaders exhibit a remarkable capacity for adaptive decision-making, drawing on intuition, experience, and a deep understanding of context. Unlike AI, which relies on pre-programmed algorithms, human leaders can navigate uncertainties and make decisions based on a comprehensive understanding of the nuances involved.

·         Leadership involves more than just directing tasks; it entails inspiring and motivating teams to achieve their full potential. The interpersonal skills of effective leaders, such as communication, encouragement, and fostering a sense of purpose, are deeply rooted in human connections. AI lacks the emotional resonance to truly inspire and motivate individuals toward a shared vision.

·         Moreover, in the course of playing their role, leaders often face complex ethical dilemmas that require nuanced judgment and moral reasoning. Human leaders bring a moral compass to their decision-making, considering the impact on individuals, society, and the long-term well-being of the organization. This ethical dimension is a crucial aspect of leadership that transcends the capabilities of AI, which lacks inherent values and a sense of morality.

·         The truth remains that employees still want to be led by fellow humans, not technology. Human-centered leadership involves uplifting others while harnessing the tremendous benefits of technological advancements. This delicate balance fosters collaboration, propelling businesses toward collective success. In the world of AI, human-centered leadership emerges as the beacon guiding organizations through the complex interplay between technology and humanity. Through the promotion of collaboration, prioritization of emotional intelligence, empowerment of employees, and conscientious navigation of ethical considerations, leaders shape a future where AI enhances, rather than diminishes, the human experience in the workplace. The embrace of human-centered leadership ensures a symbiotic relationship between humans and AI, fostering a harmonious and innovative environment that propels organizations towards unparalleled success in the digital age.

   Okorie MFR is a leadership development expert spanning 30 years in the research, teaching and coaching of leadership in Africa and across the world. He is the CEO of the GOTNI Leadership Centre.

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