Could ChatGPT Be a Good Leader? We Ask the AI for Management Advice

by Jason Evanish, CEO Get Lighthouse, Inc.

AI has been talked about for years as having the potential to change the world. Yet, outside of Hollywood movies, we haven’t seen much we can all use day to day. That’s changed with the recent release of new AI tools.

Across industries, different branches of AI are now influencing the way routine tasks are performed. However, while the possibilities of AI seem endless, there are some hard limits to what a computer can learn and the tasks it can perform well. 

Soft skills, like empathy and creativity, are complex and hard to develop for most people. That’s why most AI tools also struggle with it. 

One shining example of AI that’s gotten a lot of buzz lately is ChatGPT. It's the latest text-based AI bot, which is capable of giving advice, answering questions, and creating some form of content like cover letters, essays, and even poems for you – almost like a real person would.

In fact, let's allow ChatGPT to introduce itself:

ChatGPT is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that is designed to carry out conversations with people. It uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to understand and respond to text or voice input in a way that simulates human conversation. Essentially, ChatGPT is a computer program that is able to hold conversations with people in a way that is similar to how a human would. It is designed to be able to understand and respond to a wide range of topics and to provide helpful information or engage in interesting conversations.

So, with all the excitement surrounding ChatGPT currently, we decided to ask it for some leadership and management advice – and gave it a grade for how good a manager it would be based on those answers.

Table of Contents - ChatGPT management advice on common leadership questions:

  1. What makes a good 1 on 1 with my direct report?
  2. How do I give good feedback to fix a problem?
  3. What should I do to make my praise effective?
  4. What are the best books on leadership and management?
  5. What tips for success can you give to a first time manager?
we ask chatgpt for management advice

Question 1: What makes a good 1 on 1 with my direct report?

A good 1-on-1 meeting with a direct report is a regular, private meeting between a manager and an inividual team member. These meetings proivde an opportunity for the manager and the direct report to discuss any issues or concerns, and to ensure that the team member has the support and resources they need to be successful in their role. 

To make a 1-on-1 meeting effective, the manager should:
1. Set aside a regular time for the meeting that is convenient for both parties. 
2. Come prepared with an agenda, including specific topics to discuss and goals for the meeting.
3. Create a comfortable and open environment where the team member feels free to express their thoughts and ideas.
4. Listen actively and attentively to the team member, and show genuine interest in their concerns and ideas.
5. Provide constructive feedback and support, and offer assistance or resources to help the team member overcome any challenges or obstacles they may be facing.
6. Follow up on any action items or decisions made during the meeting, and check in with the team member to ensure that they are making progress.

Overall, a good 1-on-1 meeting with a direct report should be focused on building a strong relationship, supporting the team member's professional development, and helping them succeed in their role.

Grade: A- 

You knew we’d have to ask this one. And we were pleasantly surprised with the advice ChatGPT gave.

While it doesn’t cover *everything* (which would be hard in the length limitations of the typical ChatGPT response), the advice it shares covers excellent fundamentals:

  • Set aside a time convenient for both you and your direct report to ensure meeting continuity week after week.
  • Come prepared with an agenda so you make the most of the meeting.
  • Actively listen to your team member to make sure they feel heard and you both are on the same page.
  • Follow up on decisions and action items discussed during the meeting, and show that you expect your team member to do so as well.

While their answer doesn’t cover everything, this is the kind of advice a good manager would give in a quick conversation to get a new manager started. Then, they’d want to direct them to links like our further reading below to go deeper (which ChatGPT can’t, because it’s not connected to the internet). 

Further reading:

Question 2: How do I give good feedback to my employee to fix a problem?

Giving good feedback to an employee to help them fix a problem is an important part of being a manager. To do this effectively, you should:

1. Be specific and clear about the problem that needs to be fixed, and provide specific examples of the behavior or performance that needs to be improved.
2. Be objective and fair, and avoid making personal attacks or accusations.
3. Focus on the behavior or performance that needs to be improved, rather than making negative comments about the person. 
4. Be timely, and provide feedback as soon as possible after the problem occurs.
5. Be constructive and provide specific suggestions for how the employee can improve. 
6. Encourage the employee to come up with their own solutions, and offer support and resources to help them succeed. 
7. Follow up to check on the employee's progress, and provide additional feedback and support as needed.

Overall, it's important to approach feedback in a positive and supportive way, and to focus on helping the employee understand and address the problem, rather than simply criticizing them for it. Good feedback can be a valuable tool for helping employees grow and improve.

Grade: B-

This is solid advice to take when you need to discuss a specific problem with your team.

The main point we differ on is having the employee come up with their own solution. While they should be part of it, as a manager, you should at least have in mind part of the solution before you meet with them to talk it over.

If you’re setting aside time to give your team member feedback about a certain problem, part of the reason you need to do this in the first place is often that the person did not know about the issue. 

That means it will be equally important for them to understand the problem first, as it is to understand your expectations on the solution. 

This advice is very similar to our Prepare - Listen - Act feedback model, which we go into detail in our blog post, as well as in an episode of the Creating High Performing Teams podcast: 

Further reading:

Question 3: What should I do to make my praise effective?

To make your praise most effective for your team, you should:
1. Be specific and genuine in your praise. Rather than simply saying "good job", provide specific examples of what the team member did well, and explain why it was impressive or valuable.
2. Provide praise in a timely manner. Try to catch team members doing something well and praise them as soon as possible after the event, so that they know that their effort has been noticed and appreciated.
3. Be sincere and genuine in your praise. Avoid using praise as a way to manipulate or control team members, and make sure that your praise is genuine and reflects your true feelings about their performance.
4. Make sure your praise is appropriate for the situation. Different team members may respond better to different types of praise, so try to tailor your praise to the individual and specific situation.
5. Be consistent in your praise. Don't just praise team members for major accomplishments, but also make an effort to recognize and reward small successes and improvements along the way.
6. Provide praise in a public forum, where other team members can hear and see the praise. This can help to build morale and a positive team culture, and can encourage other team members to strive for similar success.

Overall, the key to making your praise most effective for your team is to be specific, timely, sincere, appropriate, consistent, and public in your praise. By following these guidelines, you can help to motivate and encourage your team, and to foster a positive and supportive work environment.

Grade: B+

This was a fantastic answer until point 6. 

Not everyone likes public praise, so you should approach it with caution. 

Putting someone in the center of attention might make them feel uncomfortable or create friction between them and other team members.

The other pieces of ChatGPT’s advice on this topic, however, are quite good:

  • Praise should be genuine and specific. Instead of simply telling someone they’re doing a good job, you should highlight exactly what they’re doing well. This shows them you’re paying close attention to their work, and tells them what you want to see them do more of.
  • Praise should be given consistently. Praise should be given every time it is deserved; as Gallup taught us in a study we quote regularly, “those feeling unrecognized are three times more likely to quit in the next year.”
  • Praise should be timely. Don’t wait until your performance reviews to let your team member know they’re doing a good job. Instead, send them a quick message as soon as you’re done reviewing their work, to give them a quick boost of motivation for the day, or go deep on some particularly strong work in your next 1 on 1 with them.

Giving praise is an important part of being a good manager, and we can see ChatGPT recognizes it well. 

If you need to work on your praise, check out our guides below to go deeper on exactly how to do it well.

Further reading:

Question 4: What are the best books on leadership and management?

There are many books on management and leadership, and the best book for an individual will depend on their specific interests and needs. Some popular books on management and leadership include "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey, "Good to Great" by Jim Collins, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni, and "First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. Additionally, "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu and "The Prince" by Niccolo Machiaveli are classic texts on leadership and strategy that are often studied by managers and leaders. It is important for individuals to choose a book that aligns with their personal and professional goals, and that offers practical advice and guidance on the specific challenges they are facing.

Grade: C-

This is the lowest of the scores we gave to ChatGPT in this exercise. 

The software’s book recommendations are okay, but definitely not the best in our view; any list of the best books on leadership and management that doesn’t include Andy Grove’s “High Output Management” nor Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is incomplete.

We’re a fan of books like the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, and the “5 Dysfunctions of a Team” for sure, and we even wrote about some of our favorite takeaways from “First Break all the Rules”, but we asked for *THE BEST*. 

When you recommend 6 books, and none of them are our 2 favorites that are heads and shoulders above the rest, it’s a miss in our book. 

For more book recommendations we think can be super valuable for both first-time managers and experienced veteran leaders, check out our curated lists below:

Question 5: What tips for success can you give to a first time manager?

Communicate effectively with your team. This means being clear and concise in your communication, listening to others, and being open and transparent about your expectations and decision-making process.
Set clear goals and expectations for your team. This will help everyone to understand what is expected of them and how their work fits into the overall objectives of the organization.
Provide regular feedback and support. This can help your team members to grow and develop, and can also foster a positive and collaborative work environment.
Be approachable and available. Your team members should feel comfortable coming to you with questions, concerns, and ideas.
Be proactive and adaptable. Anticipate potential challenges and be prepared to adapt your approach as needed.
Empower your team and delegate responsibilities. Trust your team members to handle their tasks and give them the freedom to use their skills and expertise to achieve success.
Lead by example. Your actions and behaviors will set the tone for the team, so be sure to consistently model the values and behaviors that you want to see in your team.

Grade: A-

We wrap up our evaluation with another strong showing from ChatGPT. These 7 bits of advice for a new manager are a good checklist for any manager to follow.

The main challenge with answers like these is that it tells you WHAT to do, but not HOW to do it. Many of these things are easier said than done, so they run the risk of feeling more like warm platitudes than a guide for a manager to follow.

In particular, closing with "Leading by Example" is a great lesson for a new leader, because that can fix a lot of issues and any stumbling that happens out of the gate for them. Fortunately, most team members are okay with their manager making mistakes, as long as they own up to them and improve going forward.

As the longest list of suggestions in this post, you can see there’s a lot for new managers to keep in mind, which is why we have really detailed guides that go into detail for each of these 7 points, so you can go deeper on any of those you’d like:


Good management is about more than just knowing a list of facts.

While ChatGPT certainly performed well on some of the most common questions about management and leadership, it also showed us the limitations it has.

The devil is in the details, and wisdom comes from understanding nuance. Both of those are missing from ChatGPT. 

Unfortunately, leadership is not one size fits all. Learning how to adapt to different personalities, circumstances, and situations is a huge part of being a good manager. Experience and the hard work of learning in the real world will trump a chat bot’s brief management advice every time. 

However, we can see that ChatGPT has taken a large step forward for AI; it can provide a valuable starting point for any leader. We’re excited to see how it continues to develop and hope it gets you thinking about the next steps on your leadership journey.

Jason Evanish

Jason Evanish

As the founder and CEO of Get Lighthouse, Inc, Jason and the Lighthouse team have helped managers grow their leadership skills in dozens of countries around the world. They’ve worked with a variety of companies from non-profits to high growth startups, and government organizations to well known, publicly traded companies. Jason has also been featured in publications including NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company.

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