Leadership and Artificial Intelligence - Thesis Topic


I am currently writing my thesis on the above topic and I am wondering if we can use AI to identify leaders in an organisation.  I understand there is currently software designed to coach managers and encourage them to become leaders but I am wondering about the employee on the front line who has a natural ability to lead.  

Employees who are emotionally intelligent, competent, empathetic, diligent, adaptable and sound decision makers.  Monitoring touch points such as emails, volunteering, teamwork, training and tracking employee performance more intelligently would create a more rounded picture of employees. It would also create some self awareness and highlight employee strengths and weaknesses to create a better training plan.  It would also allow HR and managers to identify potential leaders in a more transparent process.  Employee consent would be fundamental to this strategy.      

Keeping in mind that some employees may not want to be a leader but often times they can lack the confidence and self awareness to progress further.  Certainly with the support of a good manager or coach they could develop themselves further, however, I am wondering if it is possible to find a "natural leader"!

Any thoughts or feedback would be appreciated?

Kind regards, 



  • Why wouldn't the software to coach managers into being leaders work with 'front-line' staff?

    A short simple answer from me is that I can't see how AI can teach someone the softskills that single out a really good people manager.
  • In reply to David Perry:

    Hi David
    Thank you for your feedback. I am researching the topic of identifying leaders and not coaching them. I think there is a lot of people out there who don't consider themselves a leader and potentially have the fundamental aptitude to be a leader but they are not aware. AI is currently supporting and coaching leaders through various solutions already available on the market. This software is often provided to those already in management to support leadership aspirations.
    Kind regards,
  • Hi Berni
    An interesting concept worth exploring and timely too.
    I am keen to understand further your point on people being unwilling to become a leader due to lack of self confidence.
    I have somehow a different point of view. My concept of being a leader is the ability to control outcomes and drive initiatives. Not necessarily leading a team of subordinates. Perhaps positioned this way would make one realise that leadership can be the “affair” of anyone and everyone...
    My best wishes in your study
  • In reply to Reena:

    Hi Reena

    Apologies for my late response, life got in the way in more ways than one!

    My premise describes "natural born leaders" who may not have the self-awareness to know they would make a very capable leader. My ideal leader for the purpose of my paper described a highly emotionally intelligent leader who can drive results from people and not metrics. I also evaluated skills under the GLOBE leadership project which is interesting: https://globeproject.com/

    My study focused on leadership and not management and as you suggested in your comments, being a leader requires something more or the "X Factor" as the "affair" you described. Thank you for the synonym, it is very enlightening.

    In my paper, I wanted to gather experience data or X data as described by Qualtric's software and measuring employee potential over time to identify natural abilities and potentially align people to work in roles whereby they are at their strengths to perform. I believe experience data can highlight a more accurate picture of an employees potential than transaction data. As we move into an era of robotics, AI and automation, I believe emotional intelligence will become a key driver as we begin to work with machines. We only seem to address this once someone becomes a manager, I felt early talent should have this advantage and build data over someone's career.

    Thank you so much for your feedback, my thesis was submitted at the start of June and is pending results, fingers crossed!

    Kind regards, Berni
  • In reply to David Perry:

    Hi David
    Thank you for your questions, the software to coach managers would work for front-line staff but it comes down to the culture in the organisation as there would be an investment required in the development of "early talent".

    AI gathers the data and highlights the gaps such as the use of language in emails, feedback from team mates, response times and allocation of time with people. A more rounded individual may manage these situations differently i.e. make good decisions quickly, coach others on a team when not asked to do so, have a good rapport with team mates and customers. All of this information relates to experience and how the person performs with people. Self awareness is important and spotting trends would drive the recommendations for training based on the information gathered on behaviors or "x-factor" of individuals through AI.

    I have completed my thesis but needless to say my findings are inconclusive and this premise would need to be trialed in order to measure a successful outcome. Much of the feedback I gathered related to whether there was a demand for this type of premise. This premise may be "too far" as others felt people need time to develop and grow.

    Kind regards, Berni