In this fast-growing digital age, automation is everywhere. From ordering pizza to checking-in for a flight, automation has certainly improved our lives by making them more efficient. In the workplace, automation increases productivity, expedites growth, and can improve working environments as well as employee retention. Despite these advantages, automation falls short of the most important pillar of any successful business: building relationships.

Automation Isn’t Empathetic

First, relationships require empathy. Beyond merely identifying the feelings of others, empathy means seeing the situation through their eyes—by placing yourself in their shoes and viewing the world through their vantage point. It requires understanding why someone may hold a specific perspective and responding to their needs based on that understanding. Simply put: automation isn’t empathetic. Professional relationships require empathy to grow. Whether it be responding to a customer complaint, listening to a colleague, or leading a new campaign, empathy is required to reach people and inspire productivity.

Automation Isn’t Flexible 

Second, relationships require flexibility. Given that people react differently and have diverse needs which are often context contingent, the ability to adapt to change is critical in fomenting professional relationships. Flexibility is a skill that allows for discernment in addressing nuanced and dynamic needs as they arise. Automation, therefore, is ineffective in building relationships because it is not equipped with proactive skills of flexibility. 

Automation Isn’t Gracious and Can’t Express Humility

Finally, prosperous relationships are rooted in gratitude and humility. Humility involves embracing an other-centered orientation. It is a process of accepting differences so that a willingness to learn from one another can take place. Likewise, adopting a gracious mindset involves consciously endeavoring to interpret others’ intentions respectfully when the benefits outweigh the risks. Both humility and a gracious mindset serve as effective resolution tools that automation is incapable of drawing upon, therefore missing opportunities to strengthen professional relationships.