If you are new to the Shed the Bitch Community, you will quickly learn how important we believe here that your soft skills, including self-awareness and beliefs, are critical to your success in all areas of your life.
In the last couple of days, I received the following article, The surprising thing Google learned about its employees — and what it means for today’s students, from a colleague who knows how important it is as well, and it appears Google agrees.
The article emphasizes results from a Google study which noted “The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.” None of which are hard skills.
The challenge, however, is; asking students and young professionals where or how they have learned these skills, they stare back at me with a dumbfounded look. Then they respond, ‘we haven’t’, and therein lies the issue.
The majority of highschools and colleges don’t formally educate students on soft skills. Just as the article points out, there is a great focus on the hard skills and technical competency, but not the soft skills many companies are expecting from their employees.
Professionals of all ages need to coach and be open to coaching. They need strong communication and listening skills, if they want to be a leader; and even if they don’t want to so-call manage or lead people. And there is another concept lost on many professionals; they believe that to be a leader, they must manage people. They aren’t educated or coached on the fact that individual contributors can also be leaders, they don’t need to have direct reports.
So, it is up to the companies, if not academia and in addition to, in order to ensure both young and seasoned professionals are coached, trained, and are measured on the soft skills critical to optimal contribution in their role.