Technical skills and mastery of data are obviously important in the age of AI, big data and automation. But that doesn’t mean we have to ignore the human side of the job – skills in areas robots can’t do as well. I believe these soft skills will become even more essential to success as the nature of work changes and machines take on more of the easily automated aspects of work. In other words, the work of humans is going to become quite more, well, human.
With this in mind, what skills should employees seek to develop in the future? Here are nine soft skills that I believe will become even more valuable to employers in the future.
Robots and machines can do a lot of things, but they struggle to compete with humans when it comes to our ability to create, imagine, invent, and dream. With all the new technologies at our disposal, the workplaces of the future will require new ways of thinking – making creative thinking and human creativity a major asset.
2. Analytical (critical) thinking
Along with creative thinking, the ability to think analytically will be all the more valuable, especially as we navigate the changing nature of the workplace and the changing division of labor between humans and machines. Indeed, critically minded people can come up with innovative ideas, solve complex problems and weigh the pros and cons of various solutions, all using logic and reasoning, rather than relying on their instincts. or their emotions.
3. Emotional intelligence
Also known as EQ (as in emotional IQ), emotional intelligence describes a person’s ability to be aware, to control, and to express their own emotions – and to be aware of the emotions of others. So when we talk about someone who empathizes and works well with others, we are describing someone with high EQ. Since machines can’t easily replicate humans’ ability to connect with other humans, it makes sense that those with high EQs are in even greater demand in the workplace.
4. Interpersonal communication skills
When it comes to EQ, the ability to successfully exchange information between people will be a vital skill, which means employees need to hone their ability to communicate effectively with other people – using the right tone of voice. and the right body language to convey their message clearly.
5. Active learning with a growth mindset
Someone with a growth mindset understands that their abilities can be developed and that building skills leads to better results. They are ready to take on new challenges, learn from their mistakes and actively seek to expand their knowledge. These people will be in high demand in the workplace of the future because, thanks to AI and other rapidly evolving technologies, skills will become obsolete even faster than today.
6. Judgment and decision making
We already know that computers are capable of processing information better than the human brain, but ultimately it is humans who are responsible for making critical decisions within an organization. It is humans who must consider the implications of their decisions in terms of the business and the people who work there. Decision-making skills will therefore remain important. But there’s no doubt that the nature of human decision-making will change – in particular, technology will take over more trivial and mundane decisions, leaving humans to focus on higher-level and more complex decisions.
7. Leadership skills
The workplaces of the future will be very different from the hierarchical organizations of today. Project-based teams, remote teams, and fluid organizational structures are likely to become more common. But that will not diminish the importance of good leadership. Even within project teams, individuals will still need to take on leadership roles to tackle problems and develop solutions. Therefore, common leadership traits, such as being inspiring and helping others become the best version of themselves, will remain essential.
8. Diversity and cultural intelligence
Workplaces are becoming more diverse and open, so employees will need to be able to respect, understand, and accommodate others who might have different ways of perceiving the world. This will obviously improve the way people interact within the company, but I think it will also make the services and products of the company more inclusive.
9. Embrace the change
Even to me, the pace of change right now is surprising, especially when it comes to AI. This means that people will need to be nimble and cultivate the ability to embrace – and even celebrate – change. Employees will need to be flexible and adapt to changing workplaces, expectations and required skills. And, most importantly, they will have to see the change not as a burden but as an opportunity to grow.
Bottom line: we don’t need to be intimidated by AI. The human brain is amazing. It’s much more complex and powerful than any existing AI. So, rather than fearful of AI and automation and the changes it will bring in the workplace, we should all be looking to harness our unique human capabilities and cultivate these more general skills – skills that will become all the more. most important for the future of work.
AI is going to impact businesses of all shapes and sizes across all industries. Find out how to prepare your organization for an AI-driven world in my new book, The intelligence revolution: transforming your business with AI.