Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Soft Skills at Home

Does your child know how to properly greet an adult?  Do they know how to sit in an interview and be appropriate?  Do they make eye contact when they are speaking to someone?  Can they work as a team and get along with fellow co-workers or classmates?  Are they able to communicate their beliefs, thoughts and disagreements in an appropriate manner? 

We have to as a school, parent, and community begin to teach our children soft skills.  Many adults in our society today lack the proper communication and problem thinking skills to compete in the job market.  Our students of today don't know how to advocate and stand up for themselves.  
We have to begin to develop curriculum and strategies to help kids learn those skills to interview, work as a team player and communicate-They need all of these to be able to develop relationships not only in the workforce but in their personal life.

How many times these days do we see kids instead of go talking to someone just text them?  How much easier is it to just send an email rather than pick up a phone and call someone?  I am 100% for using technology and communication thru technology is important and vital, but the skills it takes to pick up the phone and call someone is still important.  

Below I have pasted some comments from an article written by Larry Buhl from Yahoo.  It was posted on, which is a highly regarded search engine for jobs.

You'll likely see these "soft skills" popping up in job descriptions, next to demands for technical qualifications. Employment experts agree that tech skills may get you an interview, but these soft skills will get you the job -- and help you keep it:
Communication Skills

This doesn't mean you have to be a brilliant orator or writer. It does mean you have to express yourself well, whether it's writing a coherent memo, persuading others with a presentation or just being able to calmly explain to a team member what you need.
Teamwork and Collaboration
Employers want employees who play well with others -- who can effectively work as part of a team. "That means sometimes being a leader, sometimes being a good follower, monitoring the progress, meeting deadlines and working with others across the organization to achieve a common goal," says Lynne Sarikas, the MBA Career Center Director at Northeastern University.
This is especially important for more-seasoned professionals to demonstrate, to counter the (often erroneous) opinion that older workers are too set in their ways. "To succeed in most organizations, you need to have a passion for learning and the ability to continue to grow and stretch your skills to adapt to the changing needs of the organization," Sarikas says. "On your resume, on your cover letter and in your interview, explain the ways you've continued to learn and grow throughout your career."
Problem Solving
Be prepared for the "how did you solve a problem?" interview question with several examples, advises Ann Spoor, managing director of Cave Creek Partners. "Think of specific examples where you solved a tough business problem or participated in the solution. Be able to explain what you did, how you approached the problem, how you involved others and what the outcome was -- in real, measurable results."
Critical Observation
It's not enough to be able to collect data and manipulate it. You must also be able to analyze and interpret it. What story does the data tell? What questions are raised? Are there different ways to interpret the data? "Instead of handing your boss a spreadsheet, give them a business summary and highlight the key areas for attention, and suggest possible next steps," Sarikas advises.
Conflict Resolution
The ability to persuade, negotiate and resolve conflicts is crucial if you plan to move up. "You need to have the skill to develop mutually beneficial relationships in the organization so you can influence and persuade people," Sarikas says. "You need to be able to negotiate win-win solutions to serve the best interests of the company and the individuals involved."

I think that all of us can do our part in teaching our children these soft skills.  When your daughter whines the next time you are in the store do you break down and buy her what she wants?  When your son can figure out how to tie his shoes, do you just go buy him velcro?  When your 17 year old child is in a fight at school, do you dive in in rescue him or do you teach him conflict resolution?  Is this how you really want your children to grow up?

We at BLHS are working hard to incorporate these skills into each and every classroom.  When I talk to students, the most important thing I talk to them about is communication. You can't assume anything.  
Talk to your kids at home about the necessary skills needed to be successful in the workplace.  As of right now, many of them are still missing it.  

Follow me on Twitter- @jfuhrman3932

Upcoming dates for BLHS

Fri-Nov. 22nd- Meet the Bobcats-Winter Sports
Wed. 27th, 28th, and 29th--Thanksgiving Break(Remember what you are thankful for and have a great holiday!)

Here are a couple other articles regarding soft skills:

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