It may sound like the prologue to the next Terminator film, but the findings are real: In a study conducted last fall by Future Workplace and Oracle, 64% of global employees said they trust artificial intelligence (AI) more than they trust their managers.

by Insigniam Read more from the Evolving Role of the CEO issue

Furthermore, 82% of respondents said they think robots can perform certain functions better than their managers. Among those were maintaining schedules (34%), problem-solving (29%), providing unbiased information (26%) and managing a budget (26%).

“The latest advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence are rapidly reaching [the] mainstream, resulting in a massive shift in the way people across the world interact with technology and their teams,” Emily He, senior vice president of Oracle’s Human Capital Management Cloud Business Group, said in a press release. 

So how can managers compete with emerging AI? The short answer is: Why compete? Instead, leaders should lean into the very qualities that make them human—the ones that AI cannot replicate. According to survey respondents, these aptitudes include understanding employees’ feelings (45%), coaching them (33%) and creating a work culture (29%). Ultimately, people skills are what will keep managers relevant throughout 2020 and beyond.


This article appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of
IQ Insigniam Quarterly, with the headline “Rise of Robots: Why Managers Need to Focus on People Skills.” To begin receiving IQ, go here.


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