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The Importance of Interpersonal Skills in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

the importance of interpersonal skillsThe rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recent years has been phenomenal. Artificial Intelligence is no longer just a theory, no longer just a fantasy featured in a Sci-Fi movie – AI is real. It’s now everywhere we look, from your helpful home assistant, to self-driving cars; more and more tasks are now being completed by AI. Artificial Intelligence can automate routine processes & tasks to maximise efficiency, increase productivity, achieve cost savings and reduce human error mistakes. There are lots of things AI can do and a lot of ways it can benefit businesses. For this reason, Artificial Intelligence is often seen as a threat to jobs. Whilst it is true that certain jobs will be lost, AI will also offer plenty of new opportunities. In a future shaped by Artificial Intelligence we can expect to see a shift in the demand for certain skillsets. According to one report on the future of the workforce, 39% of CEOs are considering the impact of AI on the skills they will need for their businesses in the future. There will be a greater a need for technical development skills but also for interpersonal skills which only humans can provide.

5 Interpersonal Skills Which Artificial Intelligence Can’t Master:

It is the things which make us different from machines, the things they can’t do, the things that make us human that will save us from a dystopian future where we have all been replaced by AI. Human skills, people skills, interpersonal skills, whatever you want to call them, these are the skills that we need to nurture in order to thrive in a future driven by AI.

1. Empathy
One thing which machines can’t do is empathise. Machines can interact with humans on a basic level but they do not have the ability to recognise and deal with emotions – they do not have emotional intelligence. Have you ever been on the end of an automated phone call? You have probably noticed that the machine cannot sense or cater to your stress levels – you will get the same automated message from a machine no matter how annoyed you are. Having empathy sets us apart from machines enabling us to establish trust, and build effective relationships which are also crucial to effective influencing & leadership. In the age of artificial intelligence empathy will become a highly desirable skill in the workplace.

2. Critical Thinking & Planning
Robots can automate routine responsibilities highly effectively which reduces the need for us to perform repetitive & tedious tasks such as data entry, collation and even data analysis. While this can be hugely beneficial to businesses through increased efficiency and productivity, it does not replace the need for human skills such as critical thinking and planning. Machines are used to collate and analyse raw data delivering a more useful output which can then be interpreted and put to use by humans. Critical thinking & planning skills are an important part of developing strategies fundamental to business success and at present are a skillset which only humans possess.

3. Building Rapport
Derived partly from the fact that machines lack emotional intelligence and the ability to empathise they are also unable to build rapport in the same way as humans. Building rapport is all about creating genuine connections and a mutual understanding with those you interact with. Aside from empathy, machines are unable to utilise body language techniques such as eye contact and smiling, plus a lack of humour also puts them at a disadvantage. Building rapport has a positive effect on relationships, reputation and level of influence. Leaving client and customer relations up to the robots could be a risky approach when you consider the value of rapport in these dealings.

4. Judgement
Any argument which is formed by a machine will be very black and white. In business, there is often a need for a more human approach when it comes to making ethical decisions. A human can understand the context, the influencing factors and the emotions involved to make a judgement which is based on an innate sense of morality. Morality can’t be programmed because it is so fluid, it depends on so many factors and what is right in one instance, may not be right in another.

5. Teamwork & Collaboration
You’ve probably heard the saying there is no I in team but here’s a new one for you – there is no AI in team. Teamwork is a very difficult skill for machines to master which again comes down to the fact that they do not have emotional intelligence. Teamwork and collaboration encourage creativity and innovation plus happier and more engaged employees. Teamwork is a skill we shouldn’t neglect in the age of artificial intelligence as it is one of the things that sets us apart from robots and makes us irreplaceable in the workplace.

The Benefits of Interpersonal Skills Training for Business:

According to a study by the University of Michigan, teaching employees these interpersonal skills boosts productivity and retention by 12% and delivers a 256% return on investment. In an age where job roles are changing so rapidly it is these interpersonal skills which enable someone to adapt, these are the skills which businesses should nurture and develop now so that they have a workforce fit for the future.

Get in touch if you would like to discuss any of our interpersonal skills training courses or how we can work with your business and cater to your needs and requirements.

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