Dear Next-Gen Leaders: Use AI to Empower and Inspire

As director of next-gen leadership innovation at Blanchard, one of my passions is to encourage aspiring leaders and influencers to see Artificial Intelligence (AI) not as a dangerous device we should avoid or fear, but as a tool that can empower and inspire us.

Consider, for example, how AI can help with the challenges below.

Break Down Language Barriers: Imagine if language barriers didn’t exist—if you could speak to anyone in the world, in real time. What would you do? What could you do?

Travel freely around Japan and chat with locals without a translation guide. Collaborate on a project with a research team from India. Perhaps study classical art in Italy, hearing lectures in your native language. Or connect with your first-generation immigrant grandparents by conversing in their native tongue.

With the development of advanced AI-driven translation software that uses natural language processing and speech recognition, it’s possible for you to talk to someone in your native language and for them to hear it in their native language.

When language isn’t an obstacle, our world opens up.

Make Health Care Personalized and Affordable: AI is set to have a profound impact in the health care sector, where it has the potential to free up billions of dollars in resources and allow medical professionals to focus on what they do best—care for their patients. AI has been instrumental in diagnosing diseases more accurately and quickly than human practitioners can.

  • AI streamlines cumbersome administrative tasks through automation.
  • AI is being used to personalize patient care plans.
  • AI rapidly analyzes vast amounts of data, identifies trends, and compares these findings with historical data and medical literature. Tasks like these that would take humans weeks or months, AI accomplishes in minutes.

This shift not only improves the quality of health care and drives down our costs, it also enhances job satisfaction among health care workers by enabling them to engage in more meaningful work.

Democratize Education: AI can ensure that every individual has the opportunity to learn and succeed by providing personalized learning experiences that cater to the specific needs of each student—regardless of where they live, their disabilities, or their socioeconomic status. Here are some real-life areas where this is already happening:

  • Adaptive Learning Platforms. AI systems such as those used by Khan Academy or Coursera can analyze a student’s performance in real time and adjust the curriculum to their learning pace and style. This personalized approach helps students master topics at their own speed before they move on to more challenging material.
  • Virtual Classrooms. AI-driven virtual reality (VR) classrooms can simulate engaging, interactive learning environments for students who may not have local access to specialized courses. Imagine a student attending a virtual physics class taught by a top-notch instructor from another part of the world, complete with laboratory simulations.

Level the Professional Playing Field: AI is helping in the job marketplace by enhancing job matching processes and by providing training that helps individuals gain new skills more efficiently.

  • Recruitment. Advanced AI algorithms can help reduce bias in hiring by focusing on candidates' skills and potential rather than their background or personal connections. This can open opportunities for a more diverse group of applicants and help companies benefit from a wider range of talent.
  • Skill Development. AI-driven platforms can offer tailored training programs to individuals, helping them acquire new skills or improve existing ones according to market demands. This is particularly valuable in industries where technology changes rapidly and continuous learning is crucial.

Enhance Accessibility: AI enhances accessibility in several ways for people with disabilities, with tools that improve people’s capacity to engage fully in work and in society.

  • Assistive Technologies. For individuals with visual impairments, AI-powered apps can convert text to speech or provide real-time audio descriptions of their surroundings. Similarly, for people with hearing impairments, AI can offer real-time speech-to-text transcription services.
  • Smart Home Devices. AI-integrated smart home devices can help people with mobility issues control their environment more easily—from adjusting lighting and temperature to managing security systems—through voice commands or simplified interfaces.

AI technology helps cover gaps in our community, home, and work environments so that all individuals can work, play, and comfortably exist. Could this move us closer to a society that doesn’t need “disabled” labels?

How Can You Start Incorporating AI into Your Life?

It is crucial for coming generations of leaders to develop a strong foundation in AI literacy. By shifting our perspective to see AI not as a replacement but as an augmentation of our own abilities, we can better appreciate its potential to liberate us. Now we can focus on more creative, strategic, and interpersonal tasks that leverage human insights and emotions—areas where AI cannot fully replicate human performance.

A great way to get started using AI is to reflect on your daily tasks at work, in your studies, or at home. Ask yourself:

  • What tasks do I find tedious and time-consuming?
  • What limits my ability to perform better?
  • How could AI help streamline—or completely reinvent—these tasks?

By identifying specific areas where AI can assist, you will begin to see it as a valuable partner in your professional and personal life.

  • Imagine AI personal assistants that manage your schedule, prioritize emails, and even suggest times when you may be better suited for creative tasks versus administrative ones based on your historical productivity patterns.
  • Think of AI-driven platforms that help small businesses predict market trends, understand customer preferences, and better manage inventory—enabling them to level the playing field against larger corporations.

Overcoming Fear with Knowledge

People often fear what they don’t understand or feel they can’t control. What’s your current relationship with AI? Increasing transparency about how AI systems are developed, who is behind their creation, and what ethical standards are guiding them can significantly build trust and demystify these advanced technologies.

Dig in and do some research to find out what is out there and available to you. Identify specific areas where AI might help you. If you’re able to do that, it’s likely that someone is already working on an AI solution.

As you explore, expect to run into fears of redundancy and the discomfort that comes with change—these feelings are embedded in human nature. But remember, you have a choice in how you respond. I hope you’ll choose the path that empowers and inspires!


Editor’s Note: Ready to learn more?

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

Lara Dollens

Lara Dollens is Blanchard’s Director of Next-Gen Leadership Innovation. In this role, Lara is leading the creation and continuous enhancement of modern leadership development solutions, specifically targeting up-and-coming leaders and equipping and empowering them with the requisite competencies, insights, and self-assurance to successfully tackle the intricacies of today's global landscape.

More Content by Lara Dollens
Previous Resource
Next Level Strategies For Implementing an HR/L&D AI Solution
Next Level Strategies For Implementing an HR/L&D AI Solution

In adopting a new technology like generative AI, L&D professionals have new ways to elevate their skillset ...

Next Resource
Generative AI: Separating Truth from Hyperbole
Generative AI: Separating Truth from Hyperbole

We are the ones who have ultimate control over AI. It is up to us to figure out how to make it do the work ...