Business Leader Magazine recently interviewed Palma Michel, author of The Authority Guide to Mindful Leadership about how you can create a culture of creativity and what role AI will have on future leadership roles.
We discuss whether technical jobs of today will soon be replaced by robots and where a team’s creativity and ability to innovate will set a company apart and ultimately, decide whether it succeeds or fails in the long run.
How do you create a culture of creativity?
As culture is usually built from the top the behavior and management style of the leadership team is key. Leaders need to be comfortable with the space of uncertainty and not knowing and able to hold the creative container during times of upheaval. Allowing the team to experiment and make mistakes as long as they don´t make the same mistake twice and learn from mistakes is key as well. It also includes treating your employees like adults who will get the work done even if they work from a coffee shop, take a power nap, meditate at work or work from home. Ideally there is also an open discussion on balancing on-line and off-line working periods, which is crucial for concentrated focus and getting into flow states. Diversity of backgrounds and opinions and learning how to encourage collaboration across functions are other crucial factors. Leaders also need to create an environment where everyone can participate and everyone´s voice is heard, rather than one person dominating or shouting others down.
Why mindfulness is important in business today?
We are living in pressure cooker times that are characterized by rapid speed of change, uncertainty and complexity and pressure for individuals to deliver more in shorter timeframes with less resources. In addition the World Health Organisation called stress the epidemic of the 21st century and depression the leading cause of disability in the world. Absenteeism, poor performance, employee turnover and stress-related workers compensation claims create an enormous loss in economic output.
The problem is that when faced with the unknown, uncertainty or pressure such as in the current business environment, there is a tendency to jump to conclusions, to react unconsciously, to procrastinate or to collapse the creative rollercoaster prematurely – in short, a tendency to get out of the unknown as quickly as possible, without being aware of the possible long-term consequences of the actions taken. There is a tendency to have a tunnel vision and to become closed, defensive and blame others when things go wrong.
Role of AI in business?
I think AI is no longer science fiction but must rank high on the leadership and HR agenda. AI has fully arrived in our daily lives and we can no longer ignore it; from virtual assistants, to customer services, medical diagnostics, driverless vehicles to legal decision making and a new generation of manufacturing robots the current application of AI is vast.
Will more technical jobs be done by robots in the future?
I definitely think that more technical jobs will be replaced by robots in the future and this trend has already begun. Having said that I think it would be a mistake to just think of the potential of robots replacing technical jobs as AI will revolutionise entire industries and massively alter the way we life and work.
How can a business adapt to the imminent changes in technology?
Businesses need to be able to adapt to the new normal that nothing is normal. They need to learn how to embrace uncertainty and change and have a more entrepreneurial mindset. It is key to look at tech as an opportunity for creating new revenue streams and innovation rather than a negative threat. It is also crucial to focus on building the capabilities for strategic thinking, vision, compassion, care and creativity as this is really what sets us humans apart from AI.
Delegating vs micro-management – what are the pros and cons?
I personally don´t see many pros for micromanaging, unless one is dealing with completely inexperienced staff or managing someone through a performance management process who has repeatedly shown that they don´t learn from mistakes. To me micromanaging stifles the team´s creativity and does not allow employees to grow or reach their full potential. As a manager one needs to get comfortable with delegation. Delegation does not mean that there are no checks and balances in place. For delegation to be successful, there needs to be clarity on the scope of the task, a clear timeline to delivery and regular check-ins. The difference is in the nature of the check-ins. If a manager immediately says where a mistake lies and tells the employee what and how they need to fix it, they don´t allow for learning or anything new to emerge. Asking questions on how they could improve the result or what else they could be doing is often the better alternative.