3 Skills You Need To Lead A Team In The Age Of Automation

BUSINESS & MANAGEMENT   |   2 minutes  |   March 13, 2017

45% of activities performed by humans at work today can be accomplished by automation technology.1

As the world progressively moves closer to becoming highly automated, companies need to prepare themselves for this disruptive transformation. For example, Commerzbank plans to digitise 80% of its processes within three years;2 and Anheuser-Busch, working with Uber (and Otto), successfully delivered 2,000 cases of Budweiser in a self-driving truck.3

How will you embrace this new age of automation and effectively lead your team to be ready for the change robots in the workplace will bring?

The traditional workplace is going to look vastly different, and you as a leader will need to think carefully about how to best pair people with machines, bearing in mind those decisions will have a long-term impact on workforce operations, productivity and profit.

The future workforce is the responsibility of every CEO

The current reaction to this revolution seems to be fear, but the automation of certain functions may in fact enable organisations to improve productivity, performance, quality and speed, and achieve outcomes that couldn’t have been achieved with human capabilities.

But in order to capitalise on the value automation could bring, you need your employees to buy into it too – as people will still be one of your greatest assets.

According to Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer, at Accenture, “Paradoxically the truly human skills, from leadership to creativity, will remain highly relevant and winning organisations will strike the right balance – leveraging the best of technology to elevate, not eliminate their people.”

This means that you as a manager or CEO will have to lead the charge in the reskilling of your workforce, equipping them to adapt and remain relevant. But to create a successful human workforce now for the future of automation, you need to ensure you’re ahead of the game.

1. Equip yourself and your team with technological knowledge

It’s vital for CEOs and leaders to keep their skills up to date, but, more importantly, in order to thrive in a workspace defined by technology, you should ensure you’re equipped with relevant technological knowledge. Automation will change the way you make decisions, drive forward actions, and interact with your team.

Upskill yourself in the area of tech to ensure you establish a culture of learning within your organisation and place a greater expectation on your team to keep their skills just as relevant. Ensure your team is provided with the opportunities to upskill themselves by enrolling them in online short courses and enable them to adapt to the changing business landscape by acquiring new expertise and knowledge in burgeoning fields, such as User Experience Design or Artificial Intelligence.

2. Make time to listen to your employees

The increased integration of automation in the workspace will make it tough for some employees. Learning to use new software or adjusting to a different job role may create frustration or dissatisfaction among your team. Be inquisitive within your organisation and strive to listen to how your employees are feeling so you can implement solutions where necessary.

3. Relook at the talent plan of your organisation

Research how future technology will impact your talent team, with regards to company culture, strategy, operating plans and hiring decisions. Now is the time to recruit, and train top talent that will be able to interface with future technologies, understand the practical implications, and strategise against it.

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