Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

Soft Skills – Barriers to Learning

By | Abhijit Bhaduri | Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist.

What a difference a great manager can make… right? It can make up for many other shortcomings of the employer. A manager who listens, is creative and creates a culture where you feel valued, is a big missing component in many workplaces.

Education must change focus

The school education is still geared towards producing great factory workers.

Lynda Gratton says, “

The basic foundations for most schooling systems were laid down after the Industrial Revolution. The aim by the early 1900s was clear: to take a population that was mainly engaged in craft or agricultural work and prepare it for work in factories — and, more recently, offices. Though some schools have moved the curriculum to soft skills and creativity, in many schools, these traditions hold firm. Children are trained to stay still for hours at a time (as they would on a factory production line), to engage in rote learning, and to be compliant and follow rules. The pity of this is that these skills are ones at which machines are highly competent. More important, these conditions do little to nurture in children the skills of compassion, inventiveness, and being able to interpret people correctly.

Stop tech overdose at home

At home, the overdose of technology and screens lowers our ability to engage with people. Device-free time is rare at home and rarer at work.

When children speak to Alexa or Siri at home, they bark orders. When they do the same with humans, they are snubbed. Playing with other children can be a great source of soft skill development.

Check out this new book that talks about why tech makes you unhappy and unhealthy. It is called Your Happiness Was Hacked

Employers must invest in soft skills development

If there is techno-stress at home, there is stress at work. Most employees are so stressed that it is hard for them to learn new skills at work. They can’t get creative. The culprit is stress. Lynda Gratton says:

“The development and use of soft skills such as empathy and creativity are highly sensitive to how a person is feeling. Studies show that when people feel under pressure, like they’re being treated unfairly, or otherwise feel under stress, the hippocampus — the part of the brain’s limbic system that is associated with emotion — is much less able to engage in empathic listening or appreciating the context of a situation. The brain, in a sense, closes down to learning or performing soft skills.”

Soft skill development is done better by face to face interactions – not on devices. Soft skills need other human beings to be learned. So don’t expect changes by putting all employees through some e-learning course or stuff taught through a device.

Republished with permission and originally published at Abhijit Bhaduri Associates 

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