4 Ways to Enrich Leadership Development in an AI-Enabled World

In the midst of the rapid expansion of conversational and generative AI, HR and L&D professionals worldwide are grappling with mixed emotions—from excitement to apprehension—concerning the technology's impact on the future of work. This era of innovation brings with it a dual challenge: embracing the competitive edge that AI offers while demystifying concerns surrounding job displacement and the changing nature of work.

At Blanchard, one of our core values is transform together. This phrase encapsulates the belief that transformation is a journey best undertaken through a blend of human intuition and artificial intelligence, including live dialogues and the strategic use of technology.

Our comprehensive investigation into the application of large language models and generative AI has revealed a promising horizon for leadership development and managerial effectiveness. Using this approach, here is how we see the strategic application of AI unfolding in four key areas.

One: Enhancing Learning Experiences

We see AI being used to personalize learning journeys, offering leaders and managers content, resources, and a path that resonates with their unique challenges and growth needs. AI-driven analytics will enable the customization of learning modules and the delivery of timely, relevant resources that support ongoing development. Our Innovation Lab is currently working on a mobile app that is geared for next-generation and emerging leaders to do exactly that.

Learning experiences often require translations and localization across the world. AI tools are saving vast amounts of time and effort in translating learning materials to be appropriate for each culture. The impact of new technologies ranges from rapid text translations to localization of synthetic media where avatars or human experts can speak hundreds of languages. Blanchard has been using AI technology for translations for many years and is using newer AI tools for cutting-edge video projects.

Two: Practicing Leadership Skills

AI has transformative power to support the practical application and mastery of leadership skills. Practice is paramount in developing the art of effective communication, be it delivering constructive feedback, navigating challenging conversations, or discussing career aspirations with team members. Tools that combine video teach-back technology with AI-driven analysis offer an innovative approach to skill development. These platforms enable learners to record their practice sessions, providing a unique opportunity to not only rehearse crucial conversations but also receive instant, objective feedback on their delivery and competence.

At Blanchard, we are using a platform called Bongo in the coming months to assess participants completing our SLII® Train the Trainer program to help them build their confidence and competence at facilitating Blanchard programs. With Bongo and others, AI algorithms analyze aspects of communication such as tone, clarity, body language, and use of language, offering nuanced insights that might be missed in self-assessment or even overlooked by human evaluators. This immediate feedback loop accelerates the learning process, which allows individuals to rapidly iterate and improve their approach. Furthermore, the use of video teach-backs facilitates a deeper level of reflection and self-awareness—critical components of effective leadership.

By providing a safe, supportive environment for practice and application, leaders can build confidence in their abilities, refine their communication strategies, and, ultimately, enhance their effectiveness in leading teams and driving organizational success. This blend of high-tech solutions and human-centric development epitomizes the future of leadership training, where innovation amplifies human potential.

Three: Facilitating Real-Time Feedback

Facilitating real-time feedback and offering nudges are crucial elements in the continuous development of leadership and managerial skills. Real-time feedback mechanisms offered by platforms such as Cloverleaf and LeadX harness the power of AI to provide immediate insights into individual and team dynamics, communication effectiveness, and overall performance. These insights enable leaders to make on-the-spot adjustments, fostering a culture of agility and responsiveness.

At Blanchard, the SLII® Chatbot we created using MobileCoach helps learners apply and master leadership skills taught in SLII® by providing quick access to common questions. It also extends and reinforces key content by linking to videos, worksheets, tools, and assessments and by pushing reminders on critical tasks. This integrates conversational AI to respond to unstructured comments and provide extra advice and support based on hundreds of pages of SLII® content.

Four: Creating Content

Another area where AI has the potential to revolutionize the L&D space is content creation—especially when grounded in human-derived, research-backed frameworks. By leveraging these frameworks as a foundational dataset, AI can generate content that aligns with established principles and insights, ensuring that the output is not only informative but also deeply rooted in proven practices. This approach enables the creation of microlearning, facilitation notes, and resources that are relevant and accurate.

Blanchard’s position is simple: our content is human-generated, and our experiences are AI- and tech-enabled. The integration of AI with human expertise and experience in content creation enables a powerful synergy to create solutions that are superior to what either approach could achieve independently.

  • AI can personalize content at scale, but it's human expertise that understands the nuances of leadership development.
  • AI can simulate realistic scenarios for practice, but human trainers can provide the empathetic feedback and nuanced guidance that AI lacks.
  • AI can generate a wide range of ideas and perspectives, but it's the creative insight of human experts that can sift through these perceptions to identify truly innovative solutions to leadership challenges that AI alone might not conceive.

The combination of AI and human expertise in leadership development leverages the strengths of both.

Leveraging the Best of Both

At Blanchard, our journey of transformation, guided by our values, embraces the promise of AI to enrich the leadership landscape while it upholds the irreplaceable value of the human connection. We envision a future where leaders are empowered to lead with compassion, innovation, and unwavering effectiveness, shaping a world where technology amplifies human potential rather than diminishing it.

How about you?

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence together, we encourage you to join us in exploring the synergistic potential of AI to enhance the leader, employee, and learner experience.

Editor's Note: 

Would you like to learn more about AI applications for learning and development? Download our free eBook, An HR / L&D Primer on Generative AI. You’ll find this post, together with five other perspectives from Blanchard thought leaders exploring the challenges leadership, learning, and talent development professionals are facing in today’s changing environment. Use this link to download your complimentary copy now.

About the Author

Britney Cole

Britney Cole is Chief Innovation Officer and the Head of the Blanchard Innovation Lab and Experience Center. She creates an atmosphere of excitement and forward-thinking for clients who want to rethink what it truly means to unleash the potential and power in people and organizations for the greater good.

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