Leadership EQ is Broken: Robots are More Trusted Than Managers

People trust robots more than their managers. At least that’s what the second annual Oracle and Future Workplace, AI at Work Research found.

Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone. (Dictionary.com)

More than half of the people in the survey had turned to Artificial Intelligence (robot) for advice over their manager.

Authoritative Leaders

Professionals can find numerous blogs, magazine articles, and news stories proclaiming the end of authoritarian leaders. Most of the stories are focused on why they make ineffective people leaders and fail at engaging top talent and next-gen leaders. The disconnect is more significant than engagement. Employees no longer trust their leadership.

Authoritative Leaders are about executing and KPIs. They pride themselves on getting the job done. Tasks such as managing the team’s time, managing budgets, solving problems, and finding the best unbiased solutions for moving forward are the benchmark of their leadership value.

The Problem: Employees don’t perceive or believe that managers can be trusted to be the best at leading others to execute on company KPIs.

The Myth of Coaches and Mentors as Leaders

The collective wisdom is that Authoritarian Leaders are out, and Leaders who are Coaches and Mentors are needed.

Coaches as Leaders: Robots Win Again

Coaching in a business environment is a training method in which a more experienced or skilled individual provides an employee with advice and guidance intended to help develop the individual’s skills, performance and career. (SHRM)


According to the Oracle and Future Workplace research, 56% of men and 44% of women have turned to AI over their managers. The trend will continue as AI career coaching becomes more readily available.

It is hard to imagine that people would prefer robots over human interaction. The majority (65 percent) of workers are optimistic, excited, and grateful about having robot co-workers and nearly a quarter report having a loving and gratifying relationship with AI at work. (Oracle and Future Workplace Research 2019)

Top career coaches, coaching firms, and L&D professionals have increasingly turned to chatbots and online learning as a significant part of career coaching. In a disrupted economy and job market, more people need unbiased, on-demand, low-cost, customized career coaching, and skills training. AI technology has the capacity to deliver.

Hard Skills have a Short Shelf Life

Hard skills now have a short shelf life. The research showed that 76 percent of workers and 81 percent of HR leaders found it personally challenging to keep on top of technological changes in the workplace. (Oracle and Future Workplace Research) The inability of Leaders to keep up with the technology changes that are fundamentally changing business frameworks, processes and the way work gets done makes it unrealistic for Leaders to be trusted career coaches.

Mentors as Leaders: Harder to Automate but Increasingly Automated

Mentors provide employees with a safe environment to help them share new ideas, solve problems as they occur, and advise them on how to address specific workplace issues adequately. Chatbots are being used to guide employees on best practices for negotiating salaries, promotions, and provide scenario coaching. The weakness of chatbot mentors is their disconnect with corporate culture and the internal politics of a particular company.

Companies are not interested in offering long term employment that leads to pensions. The workforce has become a variable expense, agile in skills, and expendable depending on company goals. Top Talent and Next-Gen Leaders are looking for the culture to meet their expectations rather than bending to outdated norms. Therefore, many workers are turning to mentors outside of work to navigate their career sustainability internally and externally.

Leaders need to be SPONSORS


Leaders who are Sponsors are willing to take risks to advance other people’s careers internally and externally. They take actions that keep their employees relevant, influential, and in-demand internally and externally.

Sponsors are willing to use their greater influence, resources, and risk political capital to empower top talent and next-gen leaders to advance in their careers.

Tracy Levine, Chairman & CEO, Advantage Talent Inc. Tweet

Sponsors make careers and supercharge advancement.  Executives who have the EQ to be an INCLUSIVE Sponsor of diverse groups of people are talent magnets. Top Talent and Next-Gen leaders ask to be on their team. HR has to turn Top Talent away.

Business Roundtable: 181 CEO’s of Top Companies Release Executive Marching Orders

Led by Jamie Dimon, 181 executives signed an agreement that stated that Capitalism is about all stakeholders winning. The following is their declaration on how employees win.

“Investing in our employees. This starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits. It also includes supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world.   We foster diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect.” Business Roundtable August 2019

Supporting employees means Executives most be Sponsors. They must use their greater power and influence to make sure that while the company is meeting their KPIs that the employees can also achieve their KPI of sustainable long term careers internally or externally.

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