Leading your team through AI integration

by Kayla Crum on Apr 4, 2024

The use of artificial intelligence, or AI, is on the rise in almost every industry. While technology continues to develop at an exponential rate, leaders are left trying to decide which new programs, if any, would be an asset to their team.

These decisions are fraught with consequences. In some industries, the implementation of AI could reduce cost but also mean job loss for some employees. In others, AI could improve workplace productivity and morale, but only if implemented carefully.

Some team members perceive AI as a threat, while others may think of it as the proverbial silver bullet that will solve all of their problems. What’s a leader to do? If you are tasked with integrating some form of AI into your organization, follow these important steps.


1. Acknowledge the uncertainty

Your approach to discussing implementation of AI at your workplace can make or break the entire process.

Teams that openly discuss their concerns have higher levels of trust, which translates to higher productivity and more satisfaction, according to the Harvard Business Review. In contrast, leaders who make difficult decisions behind closed doors and then announce the result as if it were simple and obvious lose trust.

In our Teamalytics 360 assessment, leaders who score low on Deferring or very low on Self-Critical can be at risk of charging forward without the team’s buy-in. Even when these leaders are right, they can demotivate teammates because the team members feel like their input wasn’t solicited.

Be sure to acknowledge your team’s hesitations–role shifting, technology integration delays, a steep learning curve–and their expectations. Let your team know that you can’t predict exactly how this will play out, but you do have a plan that they will help shape.


2. Clearly communicate the plan

After eliminating the elephant in the room, lay out the plan for AI integration at your organization. Include a timeline, any training that will be required, and expectations for employee engagement with the new processes. If there will be reductions or adjustments to roles, be clear about when they will occur and what you are doing to ease the process and keep the culture intact.

While it may feel too vulnerable to be this open, the continued display of trustworthiness will pay dividends in the long haul.


3. Welcome feedback after the rollout

Accountability is step three and is key; people need to feel heard. Because you’ve clearly communicated that you expect bumps along the way, this sets the scene for an honest and healthy dialogue.

A good leader wants to know how a new program is actually affecting their team so they can maximize efficiency while maintaining workplace satisfaction. If you don’t have trust with your team, there may be ongoing waste or redundancy that no one will tell you about for fear of retribution.

Increase the frequency of one-on-ones, or schedule AI-specific check-ins to stay on top of how everything is going. And be sure to listen to the feedback even if it’s not 100% accurate or perfectly delivered. In the Teamalytics 360, leaders who are high Criticality are prone to cross-examine imperfect input they receive, so fight that tendency. Start with receptiveness and keeping the pipeline of dialogue open.


4. Implement changes if necessary

Finally, be prepared to pivot if the program doesn’t go as planned. When feedback comes your way, aggregate the data and use it to make an informed decision about if the plan should be tweaked or abandoned altogether.

While it may seem like eliminating a program is a failure, the true failure is a leader who refuses to listen to their team when something isn’t working. AI comes in many forms, and the first program you try may not be the best fit. Be willing to admit that.

None of this is easy. Here at Teamalytics, we’ve helped leaders navigate the changing technological landscape for the last three decades. We know firsthand that software upgrades and paradigm shifts can disrupt even the most solid of teams.

That’s one of the reasons we created our proprietary analytics and team-building programs. If you know your team could benefit from an evidence-based approach to team dynamics during a technology overhaul, download our free guide “Building A-Teams: Balancing Results and Relationships for Long-Term Success” today.