Artificial intelligence (AI) has slowly been infiltrating the American workforce for years. But when OpenAI released ChatGPT in November 2022, the reality of AI replacing jobs surged to the forefront of everyone’s mind. A Goldman Sachs study predicts that AI will make a significant disruption in the job market — two-thirds of US jobs will be affected to some degree of automation by AI, and a quarter of those affected could be replaced entirely.
A simple internet search will indicate that factory workers, customer service agents, legal assistants, and content marketers, among others, are on the hit list. But the Goldman Sachs study warns: not so fast! AI is more likely to complement these jobs, not replace them.
There’s no doubt that technology is moving at lightning speed, and with that, the workplace is changing. But technology cannot replace creative and critical thinking. It cannot replace compassion, leadership, and adaptability. These are often referenced as “soft skills,” but to be candid, they come across as what should be called, HUMAN SKILLS.
Here are the top five human skills, or as many others will call them, soft skills:
1. Management and leadership capabilities. It’s unlikely you’ll be sitting in front of a computer discussing conflict resolution with a machine or feeling empowered by generative AI. Leadership skills include conflict management and employee empowerment skills. This looks like having empathy and an understanding of how to navigate sometimes intense waves of human emotion. Being able to manage a team requires the ability to interact and relate effectively with the cultural diversity of global teams and different personality types.
Effective managers and leaders understand it’s a mind shift to working with teams, not above teams. Leadership requires planning, communication, and motivation. Most importantly, effectively leading a team requires trust to give employees autonomy, which increases productivity through motivation and encouragement.
2. Adaptability. Going with the flow will take on a whole new meaning as the workplace evolves. Workers will need to check their egos at the door and adopt a willingness to do what’s asked. You’re not going to be able to quickly say: “this task is not in my lane.” Technology outpaces what most workers can keep up with, which means employees will need to continuously adapt to changes in their environment. They need to be flexible, and with that, willing to learn. Adaptable employees are more valuable, happier, and better equipped to face problems head-on.
Employers will also need to embrace adaptability. They can do this by promoting collaboration, welcoming new ideas, and fostering connections.
3. Technological capability. As AI infiltrates the workplace, accept it. That means leaning into using the tools to be productive instead of wasting hours being resistant to change. Infiltration is not a matter of “if,” but rather of “when.” Be prepared and willing to learn how to use the tools to boost productivity while infusing your human touch into your work.
4. Analytical thinking and problem-solving. AI can perform analytics faster and more efficiently than humans. In fact, computers have been doing that for years. But only humans can put the pieces together to ensure clients and customers have a positive experience. Analytical thinking and problem-solving consider data from different sources and identify cause and effect … including emotional connection and relationships.
Developing analytical thinking and problem-solving skills allows you to be several steps ahead.
5. Creative and innovative thinking. Creative thinking is the process of innovative problem-solving. It’s looking at a situation and evaluating it from several different perspectives. Creative thinking involves empathy, brainstorming, visualization, observation, problem-solving, and organization. It might include experimentation.
Studies show that global teams increase creativity and innovation because of the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of team members.
Instead of thinking of AI as the enemy, think of it as a driving force for reinvention. What can you bring to the table? What Human Skills do you have to work collaboratively with AI?