As a manager, one of your key responsibilities is to create value for your organization. Technology can play a significant role in enabling you to do this effectively. For example, by implementing automation software, you can streamline your business processes and free up your time to focus on more valuable activities. You can also use technology to improve the accuracy and efficiency of your operations, leading to cost savings and increased productivity. Additionally, by using data analytics tools, you can gain valuable insights that can inform your decision-making and drive innovation. By leveraging technology effectively, you can enhance your ability to add value to your organization and help it succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.

The irony of this opening statement — which focuses on how leaders can increase their value creation — is that it was generated by the new AI tool ChatGPT. This platform has taken popular press by storm and has stimulated discussions regarding AI’s role in our modern workforce. An opinion columnist for the New York Times even wonders whether “robots are coming for the skilled jobs.” Indeed, a brief interaction with ChatGPT calls into question the role of humans in an ever-advancing economy. 

Perspective: ChatGPT and the future of art

Ultimately, tools such as ChatGPT and AlphaCode are here to stay. In fact, this is only the beginning of a new AI arms race between tech giants, and these tools will only improve. However, rather than succumbing to AI anxiety or subscribing to doomsday scenarios, forward-thinking employees can take this opportunity to reassess their core competencies.

Let AI Manage, You Lead

Although the term “manager” and “leader” are often used interchangeably, there is an essential distinction between the two. 

In a series of studies, a team of researchers found that participants’ perceptions of leaders are that they “inspire, motivate, and guide.” In contrast, the perceptions of managers are that they “budget, hire, and supervise.” If this distinction is accurate, AI is fully capable of managing (e.g., ensuring the budget is balanced).

Yet, AI’s ability to effectively lead (e.g., inspiring employees to go above and beyond) may never equal humans’ innate capacity. As the book “Leadership by Algorithm” emphasizes, AI is ever-impressive, but “leadership is a different kind of animal, something that algorithms cannot easily translate.” 

Include AI in Your Decision-Making

Rather than viewing AI as a replacement, employees should seek to find solutions that allow their organization to work alongside AI. For example, AI can help improve process quality and portfolio optimization, which is one reason individuals may prefer AI advice over human advice. But if left unmonitored, AI can result in questionable outcomes. Amazon learned this the hard way when it was revealed that their AI technology used to assess resumes was biased against women.

Perspective: AI, your college student and the end of individual achievement

Human decision-making is riddled with bias, shortcomings and issues, and people process information considerably slower than computers. However, the union between humans and AI can lead to unexpected and surprising results. Systems that allow humans to work alongside AI can enhance employees’ capabilities while also curtailing the potential dubious outcomes caused by unmonitored AI systems. In this way, employees can “divide and conquer” by allowing tools like ChatGPT to do what it is best at (e.g., presenting known information about a topic) while you focus on value creation (e.g., producing new ideas). 

Embrace the Potential of AI

Nobel laureate Hebert Simon is accredited with saying: “machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do.” That statement — uttered in 1965 — has so far proven false. However, the landscape of AI continues to shift as technology increases both in performance (increased efficiency in completing tasks) and scope (new contexts in which technology is applied).  

Organizations and leaders can create and maintain competitive advantages in their industries by staying current on AI and its potential business applications. Previous companies, like Kodak, were hesitant to adopt new technology. However, history has shown that firms that adapt to disruption can increase their chances of success

In conclusion, after exploring the technology, imagine how ChatGPT and similar tools could immediately assist you as a leader, such as drafting emails for clients or creating content for your website. As you embrace cutting-edge technology, you can focus on adding unique value to your organization. 

Samuel H. Matthews is an Assistant Professor of Management at Gonzaga University. Thomas K. Kelemen is an Assistant Professor at Kansas State University. Michael J. Matthews is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Oklahoma.