The Importance of Soft Skills


I have been doing quite a lot of reading, rereading, learning and relearning recently as I attempt to answer the question, “What skills do we as educators, leaders and parents want for our students and children when they leave school. What are the attributes of a successful graduate?

This would be a great activity to do with our school community. Pose the question to parents, teachers, administrators and students, “What are the attributes of a successful graduate?”

I recently reread an article from the New York Times by Thomas Friedman, “How to get a job at Google”. Empowering students and engaging them in a learning process which fosters success in school and life, ensuring that when they leave school they have the skills that the job market of today and tomorrow requires.

In the article, Friedman highlights five attributes that Google desires in its employees:

1.Cognitive Ability

Cognitive ability is not just how “smart” you are, it encompasses your ability to learn and process information. To be able to think creatively and critically, reflect on your work and pivot. To be able to accept feedback as you feed forward.
Leadership is about your ability to step up, step in and more importantly, to step back when necessary.
Humility allows you to understand that we all have something to learn and something to teach each other. To understand that your way is not the only way.  Listening with an open mind fosters trust, sharing and promotes collaboration.
To own your goals, learning and behaviour. To recognize your role and responsibility as you work with others to problem solve.
Being an expert in your field is an obvious asset. If you are not an expert you can make up for that by being curious and willing to learn.
While, not all students are heading to Google when they graduate, these skills can prove quite valuable in an array of career paths.
Ask yourself, if you were asked to list five attributes of a successful graduate, what would you choose?
My personal list would be:
  • Perseverance
  • Resilience
  • Critical thinking
  • Social responsibility
  • Adaptability






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