Emotional Intelligence in the era of Artificial Intelligence
by Sundaresan Lalgudi Natesan

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“I do have a lot of emotions, but my default emotion is to be happy” are the words of Sophia, the social and genius Humanoid Robot.

As empathetic AI machines and anthropomorphic robots step into the world and strive to understand human emotions, it is time to put the term ‘Robotic’ to redundancy.

We are fast approaching the day when Human and Robot compatibility skills would be listed as one of the sought-after job requirement (assuming one manages to find a job which needs human intervention in the loop). This puts forth a valid question: In the ever-evolving world of machines learning constantly, where does the new learning curve for us as humans commence?

With words such as ‘Normal’, ‘Applied’, ‘Narrow, ‘General’, ‘Super’ as a prefix before its intelligence, the technology is distinctively diverse. Humans on the other hand have an underlying common factor- the innate ability to emote and empathize!

Playing the Emotionally Intelligent Lead

The most important thing in Communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

Those are the genius words of Peter Drucker ushering in the importance of fluidity in emotions and perceiving the untold. Interpreting and understanding one’s own feelings and grasping the mood of others is where the omnipresent ‘Emotional Intelligence’ comes into play!

It is proven time and again that leaders with strong EI competencies have been extremely successful not only in scaling an ascending profit curve but also in creating a descending trend in the employee attrition rate. The clarity of thoughts, words, enthusiasm and the inner motivation of a leader casts its positive influence on the team. A transformational leader brings expansive benefits to the organization.

Juggling between addressing large groups and influencing individuals, a leader carries the responsibility of ensuring that the message is clear and is capsuled in an interesting form. Communication is indeed the key to effective Leadership. Every word of appreciation and motivation from a leader causes a huge ripple and builds the self-image of the individuals, the team and the organization as a whole. Being acknowledged for one’s work is indeed a basic human requirement and promoting an appreciative culture within the team results in high motivation and positive progress.

Emotional Quotient is the Factor That Makes all the Difference

In all this craziness around stories of AI taking over everything we do, it becomes extremely important that leaders help people realize that EQ will play an absolute critical role in defining our future roles and jobs. Just take an example, while any bot can deliver a technical speech, the emotional authenticity which is a crucial element in connecting with audience can only be done by humans with high EQ. Humans will continue to be highly social animal with the need to have an emotional connection with things! 

So far, yet so close

Projects these days are predominantly in a global virtual environment with layers of complexity beneath them. Subtle yet profound factors such as conflict management, team spirit, time zone variations and inter-cultural sensitivity pose a constant challenge. This leads to a compulsive need to improve the team’s emotional vocabulary to stay connected despite the distance. Project managers with high emotional intelligence are vested with the ability to change the entire project climate and propel the project to a successful finish.

Empathy – the Success Mantra

By putting yourself in one’s shoes, you feel the soul!

Empathy’ calls for a high degree of receptivity to a person’s condition and needs. Sometimes, the simplest of solutions replace the most complex strategies. Alongside the allure of the advertisements and consumerism-inducing store layout, how about a genuine smile?

Underneath the expressions like ‘Customer experience’ and ‘Customer Delight’, lies the inherent human need to be joyful and wishing the same for others. Seeing ‘People’ as the real profit unfolds new business dimensions. The combination of satisfied customers and motivated employees translates to a Successful business.

Create a better world

As emotions and empathy seep into technology with ‘Artificial Emotional Intelligence’, it might be time we focus on the natural ‘emotional intelligence’ we are bestowed with. Humans need to constantly upsurge their emotional intelligence to design even more advanced emotional aspects in the technology to come and also to create a world of harmony for themselves.

About the author:

Sundaresan Lalgudi Natesan is an Executive, Globalization Services @ SAP | Drive Operational Excellence & Enable Transformation

Article co-authored with @Divya Chandrika Mohan

This article is one in a series related to the 10th Global Peter Drucker Forum, with the theme management. the human dimension, taking place on November 29 & 30, 2018 in Vienna, Austria #GPDF18

This article first appeared in LinkedIn Pulse


  1. Being acknowledged for one’s work is indeed a basic human requirement and promoting an appreciative culture within the team results in high motivation and positive progress.

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