Aspire to lead in Industry 4.0? Hone your soft skills

Image credit: Evie S. on Unsplash

The Fourth Industrial Revolution may require organizations not just to adopt advanced technologies, but also to develop ethical, inclusive leaders.

As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, what effect will emerging digital technologies such as AI, IoT, robotics, cloud computing, and advanced analytics have on life as we know it?

For business leaders, these technologies hold tremendous potential to transform business models and create new value in an increasingly competitive world. But the proliferation of Industry 4.0 technologies also demands that organizations rethink the roles that humans and machines play. As businesses embrace automation, many are coming to realize that advanced technologies complement—rather than replace—human skills and often require human oversight.

Indeed, with the rise of Industry 4.0, uniquely human traits like curiosity, creativity, empathy, problem-solving, and communication are more important than ever. In a continually changing landscape, workers who possess these soft skills can help their organizations adapt and compete in ways that machines can’t.

Research suggests that while millennial workers understand this, many business leaders may not yet. Resolving this disconnect likely will be an important endeavor for organizations seeking to embrace Industry 4.0. Advanced technologies can have complex societal and ethical implications, requiring business leaders to make difficult decisions about how to use these tools responsibly.