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We need skills in addition to the professional and technical skills. The more jobs become automated, the higher demand we will see for other kinds of skills.  

The changes to the labour market driven by advanced technologies will require considerable investment in retraining and developing skills that are transferrable across industries. Employers are seeking better information about students’ abilities to work in teams, use technology, communicate, solve problems or learn on the job.

While technology has replaced many jobs that can be automated, it has created far more jobs that focus on higher value-added tasks that require higher-order thinking skills and core competencies. Skills that are currently not part of the curriculum in the education will increase in demand – such as empathy, adaptability, entrepreneurship, initiative-taking and the ability to negotiate. Human skills like creativity, care for others and collaboration are what the future of work and society will be built upon.

The New Skills

Many skills we need at work can be characterised as life skills. That is skills a person learns through his or her life in the meeting with others. These are skills you need in the community and in the workplace. These are the kind of skills the future will require. However, it is not easy to find much about it in the curriculum in education. Under we have made a list of this kind of skills. The list can be longer and include more important skills.

  • Empathy
  • Adaptability
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Initiative taking
  • Ability to negotiate
  • Creativity
  • Care for others
  • Collaboration

In the following, we will look at these skills.

Empathy

Empathy is the visceral experience of another person’s thoughts and feelings from his or her point of view, rather than from one’s own. Empathy facilitates prosocial or helping behaviours that come from within, rather than being forced, so that people behave in a more compassionate manner. Empathy stands in contrast to sympathy which is the ability to cognitively understand a person’s point of view or experience, without the emotional overlay. It should also be distinguished from compassion, even though the terms are often used interchangeably. Compassion is an empathic understanding of a person’s feelings plus a desire to act on that person’s behalf (1).

Simply put, empathy is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes, be aware of their feelings and understand their needs.

In the workplace, empathy can show deep respect for co-workers and show that you care, as opposed to just going by rules and regulations. An empathic leadership style can make everyone feel like a team and increase productivity, morale and loyalty. Empathy is a powerful tool in the leadership belt of a well-liked and respected executive.

Adaptability

Adaptability is a necessary quality in an ever-changing work environment (2). Adaptability is a skill refers to the ability of a person to change his actions, course or approach to doing things in order to suit a new situation. Adaptability is not just about changing something or adjusting to a situation. It encompasses being able to effect changes in a course of action with smoothness and timeliness, without any major setbacks.

Adaptability is important at the workplace because as new technology evolves, companies established in the “old ways” may have difficulty competing with major players in their industry. Employers are looking for employees who can demonstrate strong adaptability skills and become company leaders.

A worker must be able to learn quickly and put that learning into practice. Additionally, he or she must be able to recollect what is discovered. This can be used to identify trends and make decisions accordingly.

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship has a crucial role to play in modern societies due to its contribution to the generation of new ideas, innovation, job creation and economic growth.

Entrepreneurship is ‘an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. It is seen as vital to promoting innovation, competitiveness and economic growth. Fostering entrepreneurial spirit supports the creation of new firms and business growth. However, entrepreneurship skills also provide benefits regardless of whether a person sees their future as starting a business. They can be used across people’s personal and working lives as they encompass ‘creativity, initiative, tenacity, teamwork, understanding of risk, and a sense of responsibility. (3)

To successfully start-up and operate a business, entrepreneurs need to use a wide range of skills. This skill-set includes skills that are required from employees in any workplace, but also those skills needed to respond to the additional demands of running a business. While some of these skills may not be absolutely necessary for successfully operating a business, possessing them is likely to increase the quality of an entrepreneur’s business and the chances that it will be sustainable and grow. (4)

In the table, we have listed a set of skills that reflect entrepreneurial skills. The skill-set is listed in three different categories; Technical skills, Business management skills, and Personal entrepreneurial skills.

Initiative taking

Initiative taking is about beginning a task or plan of action. When you show initiative, you do things without being told; you find out what you need to know; you keep going when things get tough, and you spot and take advantage of opportunities that others pass by. You act, instead of reacting, at work (5).

The initiative has become increasingly important in today’s workplace. Organizations want employees who can think on their feet and take action without waiting for someone to tell them what to do. After all, this type of flexibility and courage is what pushes teams and organizations to innovate and to overcome competition.

Proactive workers are in high demand, and it’s easy to understand why. When it comes to creating positive change, these employees don’t need to be told to take initiative. Research confirms that, compared with their more passive counterparts, proactive people are better performers, contributors, and innovators (6).

Ability to negotiate

Negotiating is a part of everyday life, but at work, it is critical to your success. Poor negotiation can cripple a company just as quickly as losing key customers. While most negotiating strategies seem like common sense, it’s not uncommon for people to get caught up in the emotion of the moment and ignore their basic instincts. Emotion, luck and magic have no place in a successful negotiation.

To negotiate is bargaining (give and take) process between two or more parties (each with its own aims, needs, and viewpoints) seeking to discover common ground and reach an agreement to settle a matter of mutual concern or resolve conflict (7).

Negotiations occur frequently within the workplace and may occur between coworkers, departments or between an employee and employer. Professionals may negotiate contract terms, project timelines, compensation and more. Negotiations are both common and important, so it’s helpful to understand the types of negotiations you might encounter as well as how to improve your negotiation skills.

Creativity

Creativity involves transforming your ideas, imagination, and dreams into reality. When you’re being creative, you can see the hidden patterns, make connections between things that aren’t normally related, and come up with new ideas. Creative ability depends on creative thinking which is part of hard work but largely creative problem-solving.

Creativity is an important subject in business management, economics, psychology, sociology and philosophy, fields that deal with creating and identifying new ideas. Each of these disciplines uses a discipline-specific language and theoretical framework. The entrepreneur applies these new ideas to innovation in products, services, organizations and markets (8).

Everyday creativity is about an ongoing willingness to be open to small or interesting changes and, gradually, these small changes add up to creative confidence. Indeed, research has shown that the most effective creative teachers cultivate a personal mindset of openness and seek opportunities to put their own spin on the curriculum. For instance, this technique may involve weaving in unique cross-curricular connections, finding real-world applications of ideas, and viewing all students as creative, articulate, and able to play with ideas.

Care for others

People are social beings. Human connection is a basic need, and relationships matter. Because people spend so much of their time at work, a caring workplace–an environment of understanding, community, and support can nurture positive relationships. This social aspect of work is vital to building a workplace where employees are engaged. Providing a workplace that offers caring, encouragement, and support can be highly engaging. When employees know that their managers and leaders believe they will do good work, the energy to accomplish the workflows. A caring workplace is one where the colleagues genuinely care about each other.

When team members are motivated more to help others, even at the expense of their own performance, their teams perform better. This type of behaviour is defined as prosocial motivation, which highlights the social aspect of work by emphasizing individuals’ concerns about how their actions can affect others’ well-being. Prosaically motivated individuals are described as givers who are primarily concerned with contributing benefits to others, rather than calculating personal returns, the research said (9).

Collaboration

Collaboration is said to take place when two individuals or a group of people work together towards achieving a common goal by sharing their ideas and skills. It can happen in traditional as well as virtual teams. With advancements in technology, using cloud-based programs to share files and communicate has become commonplace.

Collaboration is a working practise whereby individuals work together to a common purpose to achieve business benefit. Collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose.

One of the biggest factors that contribute to the success of any business is whether or not its employees are able to perform together with a team. With increasing competition, it has become extremely important to encourage creativity in the office, in order to improve productivity and promote healthy employee relationships. Working in teams enables employees to be quicker and more effective in their work, as compared to people who work on projects on their own. Collaborating also makes employees more responsible, which goes a long way in raising their motivation levels, especially when teams work virtually (10).

References:

  1. Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/empathy)
  2. Cambridge Dictionary
  3. EU SKILLS PANORAMA 2014, April 2014
  4. Job Creation and Local Economic Development, OECD 2014
  5. MindTools (https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/initiative.htm)
  6. Sharon K. Parker, Ying (Lena) Wang, When to Take Initiative at Work, and When Not To, Harvard Business Review August 21, 2019
  7. Business Dictionary (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/negotiation.html)
  8. Skaar, Karl; The Concept of Creativity in Education, Lucubrate Magazine Issue 61, November 29, 2019
  9. Brooks, Chad, Teams Work Better When Employees Care About Each Other, Business News Daily 2015
  10. Nutcache (https://www.nutcache.com/blog/the-importance-of-collaboration-in-the-workplace/)

Lucubrate Magazine December 2019

The Photo on the Top by Roman


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Karl Skaar
Karl Skaar

Is a highly successful professional, with a high degree of entrepreneurial flair.

Roles:
- Senior Analyst in the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, Norway
- Responsible editor and publisher of the Lucubrate Magazine, Global
- Project Manager of the Lucubrate Project, Global
- Chairman of Board of Directors of Nobel Knowledge Building, Uganda
- Chairman of Board of Directors of Norsk Kompetansebygging AS, a Consultancy company, Norway
- Member of the Board of Directors of Norwegian International Development Company AS, Norway

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