Interviewing Debora Mcphilemy (Author, Educator and relationship coach expert in Emotional Intelligence) who works with several companies and conducts workshops to help better understand the value of emotional intelligence in the workplace and the benefit it has on the company's values.
*The answers have been paraphrased for contextual purposes.
Soft skills in the workplace?
In the workplace, soft skills can be measured through psychometrics assessment based on emotional intelligence, placing values on things such as empathy, how we communicate what is important or unimportant to employees. Soft skills are all about the person and the way they communicate with themselves, identifying how aware they are of their behaviour and what they understand through psychometric assessments. Their soft skill can be measured before, and after their training, in order to identify and examine changes.
For example, soft skills can be used to improve the bottom-line, this can be done by making sure that when companies are hiring, they employ the right type of candidate, ones that shares similar values to the company and where the values of the candidate do not align with the companies, there need to be measures put into place allowing room for that new employee to be educated on the shared values held by the organisation.
The majority of workplaces are still oblivious to the term soft skills and the value it brings. High levels of stress and/or depression are highly recognisable terms used to explain the importance of emotional intelligence in the work environment.
Soft skill in the school environment?
There is a rise in mental and emotional health issues in schools, the problem this generation faces is the constant stream of information through their mobile devices which have often become their new teacher. Children are not taught how to socialise and are more confident behind their screens. The slow-moving bureaucracy of the education system has not reacted quick enough to provide students with the necessary skills to prepare their minds for this influx of information.
Children are also entering the education system too early (currently at the age of four); at this age, a child's brain is not ready to be loaded with facts. The full development of the brain does not occur until the age of seven, until this age, the mind has no/little filter absorbing most of the information fed to it due to lack of a reasoning faculty.
The early school age is stunting the Childs imagination, self-awareness, creativity, as they are forced to utilise and rely on the left side of their brain.
At this age, education should be a combination of playing, supported by a rich environment allowing children to engage with their imagination, problem-solving while learning to socialise with other children.
Classrooms in general, are oversubscribed, often leading to subjects being taught in a particular style, not necessarily accommodating individual children, who all possess different personalities and learning styles. The diversity of the classroom cannot be met as most of the teacher's time is spent on paperwork, resulting in teachers having less time to spend with their students. This has often led to a high turnover of teachers in recent years across multiple schools.
Soft skill at home?
The lack of understanding by parents about the values of soft skills, plays a significant factor in a child's life as in most cases the parents are the first role models in a child's life and if parents do not exhibit such skills, it will be difficult for children to observe or mimic such skills.
There is a notion that soft skills are for children with ADHD or Autism through the setup of nurture units; however, these could prove to be beneficial to most children. The number of students suffering from anxiety is on the increase, the firmly scheduled lifestyle of students (from the age of 4 to 16/18) is proving to be unhelpful as it takes away their autonomy and sense of self resulting from the constant stream of information.
The lack of a sense of belonging is also a common problem within this generation. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, individuals are seeking guidance on how to build a sense of worth and be significant. If the students are not provided with a sense of worth through excellent support from home and school, they will be lost to the streets, and there is a lack of love within the community. How are they being provided with the right basic human needs? There is a need to have them involved with the process so they can understand their importance and the role they are going to play.