Connecting with the 'Human' in an AI Age: New Imperatives for Leading in Business
This week in the Sunday New York Times Op-Ed, David Brooks wrote a fabulous piece about the essential skills for being human, and I truly connected with it. While these are skills that are so important in every walk of life, I couldn’t help but consider how they served me so well in the enterprise. The skills long considered ‘soft’ (heard as derogatory), are truly becoming the power skills for a world in which we humans will yearn to understand and strike a balance with unemotional machines (AI).
Here are a few thoughts on the importance of these skills for anyone who wants to lead successful global businesses:
Curiosity: In a global business landscape, openness and curiosity about other people's cultures, perspectives, and experiences is a catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and building lasting relationships with peers, employees, partners, clients, and customers.
Constructive Disagreement: Disagreeing without damaging relationships is an art. It allows diverse perspectives to thrive, fosters healthy debate, trusted partnerships, and leads to better decision-making.
Vulnerability: Revealing vulnerability (which could be as simple as allowing someone to teach you something or sharing an uncomfortable failure you learned from with a struggling team member or competing peer) at the right pace builds trust. In enterprise settings, it's a bridge that connects people and creates a safe space for honest communication.
Active Listening: Being a good listener is invaluable. It enables understanding, empathy, and meaningful connections across teams, borders, and languages. Active listening happens using multiple senses and is always outwardly focused.
Forgiveness: Knowing how to ask for forgiveness is a universal skill. It mends errors, rebuilds trust, and reinforces goodwill in cross-functional and international partnerships.
Inclusive Gatherings: Hosting inclusive gatherings where everyone feels embraced is a key to building a sense of belonging and unity in diverse teams. Unified teams always bring the care and energy that drives success!
Empathy: Seeing things from another's perspective is the cornerstone of effective global leadership. It promotes harmony, cooperation, and successful ventures across organizations. Empathy involves being courageous enough to ask open-ended questions and listen – even to those we don’t understand or agree with.
In today's interconnected global market, these skills are more than just attributes; they're the bedrock of successful businesses, fostering collaboration, understanding, and positive relationships across all connections in a successful enterprise.