The importance of teaching ‘soft skills’

As parents, educators and mentors, we all want our children to succeed in their careers and personal lives.

The importance of teaching ‘soft skills’

Grace Olugbodi discusses the relevance of ‘soft skills’ in business and the workplace, and explains that these attributes should be taught from an early age.

As parents, educators and mentors, we all want our children to succeed in their careers and personal lives. And this extends to the world of business too. While academic success and technical aptitudes are vital, it is just as important to concentrate on developing ‘soft skills’.

The term ‘soft skills’ refers to ‘people skills’ and ‘interpersonal capabilities’, and I firmly believe that these should be encouraged from an early age. Good ‘soft skills’ enable individuals to interact effectively with others in the workplace and beyond. These qualities include communication, problem-solving, leadership, empathy, teamwork, flexibility and emotional intelligence.

Therefore, how do we help children and young people to cultivate these ‘soft skills’ so they succeed in the future? These skills are especially relevant to the world of business. So we need to assist young people to acquire, and then maintain, these talents as they become adults.

‘Soft skills’ are a collection of interpersonal abilities that are necessary for personal and professional success and development. These abilities are not taught in schools but rather developed through time due to various life events. Here are two of the ‘soft skills’ needed for business – and life in general:

Communication Skills

Practical communication skills are crucial for any sector’s success, since they form the basis of all interpersonal connections. Teaching children to actively listen, talk clearly and concisely, and communicate detailed information effectively, is crucial as they grow and develop.

It’s wise to seek an additional viewpoint if you harbour suspicions about the accuracy of the information provided. To help develop strong communication skills in children, their parents need to encourage youngsters to express themselves in various ways.

Emotional Intelligence

The capacity to understand and control one’s own emotions, and the feelings of others, is referred to as emotional intelligence. This is another essential ‘soft skill’ that is usually disregarded – and especially when it comes to popular television drama and reality programs. 

Emotionally intelligent children can better navigate social situations, manage stress and anxiety, and build positive relationships. As they grow older, they can use emotional intelligence to become influential leaders, managers, better business people and problem solvers.

In order to assist children to develop emotional intelligence, their parents need to teach them to recognise and categorise their feelings. Also, teachers could demonstrate to young kids how to write in a diary, create art, or talk to a close friend or relative, as a way of expressing their emotions.

In my next column for Elite Business, I will discuss other vital ‘soft skills’.

Dr. Grace Olugbodi
Dr. Grace Olugbodi

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