Navigating Modern Day Leadership; The dynamic relationship between Leadership Intelligence (LI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

People Director Clyde Marwick shares his thoughts on the evolving relationship between leadership and technological advancement, and how the two can exist cohesively in the modern workplace

Working with business leaders on their business and people strategies, it’s no surprise that technology and talent tend to dominate the conversation and feature on almost everyone’s strategy or risk register.  In the ever-evolving landscape of modern-day leadership, the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has introduced new dimensions and challenges for the workplace with leaders finding themselves at the crossroads of traditional human intelligence and the fast-paced advancement of machine-based intelligence.

Digital transformation and AI’s role in driving business growth is or should be on every business leader’s roadmap. However, are we equipping ourselves to strike the right balance between leadership intelligence and artificial intelligence? Will AI replace, change or augment how we lead, engage and cultivate emotional capital in the workplace and is there a risk of dehumanising our places of work? The fields of talent acquisition, performance management and reward are rapidly advancing the use of AI technology which brings with it considerable ethical implications and potential biases.

The rise and slow fall of virtual working is perhaps a sign that strong Emotional Capital in any organisation equips us better to deal with the unpredictability and complexity of humans as well as our current workplace challenges, like managing multigenerational talent, ensuring diversity and inclusion initiatives succeed and responding effectively to mental health and wellbeing challenges.

Whilst AI is growing exponentially, the concept of Leadership Intelligence has evolved beyond traditional notions of intelligence, emotional and social quotients to a far deeper understanding of human dynamics. Apart from possessing good IQ, EQ and SQ, the best leaders today must also be able to demonstrate:

  • Spiritual intelligence (SQ) – behaving with wisdom and compassion whilst demonstrating inner and outer peace
  • Physical Intelligence (PQ) – ability to connect healthy body to healthy mind
  • Adversity intelligence (AQ) – to build resilience and capacity to deal with difficult circumstances
  • Culture or curiosity intelligence (CQ) – to be comfortable and agile across diverse cultures and thinking with a strong desire to learn from others

It is unsurprising, given the complexities and subtleties of these different areas, that most leaders stand to benefit from development and coaching to enhance self-awareness and competency alike.


  • Leadership Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence are not mutually exclusive. The intricate fusion and deeper understanding of AI and LI must form part of every business strategy to drive innovation and success in the 21st century
  • Effective leadership in the AI age involves an understanding of what AI can do, can’t do, the ethical implications of its use and a redefinition and development of leadership styles to embrace change, collaboration, belonging and wellbeing
  • AI can enhance decision-making, automate tasks, and provide valuable insights, but it is not a replacement for human leadership. Instead, it amplifies human capabilities and requires leaders to cultivate technological eloquence and prioritise and develop modern leadership skills.
  • It’s a symbiotic relationship. By incorporating AI, leaders can free up time to focus on high-level strategic thinking, innovation and building strong interpersonal relationships within their teams and organisations.

Finding purpose and fulfilment with meaningful work, whilst feeling connected and empowered is one way to describe the new world of work. Individuals no longer simply perceive their workplace as only a means of earning a living but as an environment of shared values, beliefs and purpose. This makes job-seeking and career-building a subjective and personal experience, which cannot solely rely on AI.

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination, but when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.” — Nelson Mandela

Portrait photo headshot of People Director Clyde Marwick
People Director Clyde Marwick

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