The rise of intelligent machines will hasten the demise of administrative managers. Smart computer systems employing artificial intelligence will increasingly take responsibility for routine admin work.

Successful managers in the future will excel at judgement work. They’ll focus on the critical tasks that machines can’t perform – identifying key business insights, innovating and collaborating with colleagues to enhance the value their organizations deliver to customers. Above all, these managers will use their judgement skills to motivate and inspire employees. They’ll be leaders rather than managers.

This shift in roles will require managers to improve their judgement skills substantially. Discernment, abstract thinking and contextual reasoning, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, are going to be essential.

Few organizations, however, have programs and processes in place to properly prepare their managers for what lies ahead. The consequences are likely to be severe. As organizations move towards becoming intelligent enterprises, combining the capabilities of machines and humans, they’ll need far-sighted, quick-thinking managers who use their judgement to encourage and direct workers to tackle new, unexpected challenges. Organizations that get this right are going to consistently out-perform their competitors.

Our research shows two main reasons why managers have been slow to enhance their judgement capabilities.

Failure to recognize collective judgement: A third of the managers we canvassed acknowledged that they need to boost judgement activities such as creative thinking and experimentation. Only one in five, however, chose networking, coaching and collaboration. Yet, the most effective judgement is collective judgement that harnesses diverse perspectives and insights.

Failure to recognize the power of intelligent machines: Intelligent machines can not only take over the routine tasks performed by mangers. They can also help managers be more effective in judgement work that enhances an organization’s performance, agility and innovation. Many managers, however, fail to recognize how they can benefit from intelligent machines. Young managers tend to trust the advice and promptings of intelligent machines more than their older counterparts.

To bolster the judgement capabilities of their managers, organizations need to take the following steps:

Build judgement muscle. Managers should recognize the growing importance of judgement work and acknowledge the valuable role of intelligent machines. Key judgement skills should be identified and promoted.

Reward new sources of value. Talent selection and development programs and incentives must be revised. Managers should be rewarded for their ability to develop and lead teams and uncover new sources of value.

Develop networks that encourage judgement. Promote collective judgement by encouraging managers to link into networks, across and outside their organizations, which can stimulate new ways of thinking, collaborating and experimenting.

In my next blog post I’ll discuss how intelligent machines can further enhance the performance of organizations – by improving the emotional and social well-being of workers. Until then, have a look at these links. I’m sure you’ll find them useful.

Judgment calls: Preparing leaders to thrive in the age of intelligent machines.

The promise of artificial intelligence: Redefining management in the workforce of the future.

A machine in the C-suite.

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