‘Soft’ or ‘life’ skills are not about the knowledge you possess, but rather, how you react to situations and interact with others. These skills are what help us to productively, effectively and healthily approach our work and our daily lives.
Here are six soft skills to instil in your teen:
- Time management – Effective time management skills are an asset in any workplace and field. It’s important your child knows how to manage their own workload and time and can employ organisation, motivation and prioritisation.
- Flexibility – In an ever-changing world with shifting work landscapes, the ability to adapt and deal with change by being flexible is crucial. This will build resilience in your child and prepare them for any workplace.
- Teamwork – It’s essential that by the time your child enters the workforce, they’re able to constructively and positively work within a team. Core to a healthy team is cooperation, respect and understanding, so be sure to focus on these with them so they’re well-prepared.
- Responsibility – Taking responsibility and ownership for tasks will help boost your child’s confidence, independence and self-worth. They’re also integral skills when working in a team with lots of moving parts and team members.
- Self-education – Never stop learning, they say! This is a skill that will be valued in the workplace as nothing will ever faze or stump your child. Instead, they’ll be able to identify what additional knowledge they need to complete a task, and take the initiative to learn.
- Problem solving – Allow your child to figure out their own problems and you’ll have imparted a very important life skill upon them. Guide them within reason, but give them the space to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes. This will help them to develop and practise good judgment and critical and creative thinking skills.
So, how can you help? Here are three ways to help your teen develop their soft skills in high school and the lead-up to starting university.
- Lead by example and share your experiences with how you exercise a particular soft skill, either in a professional or personal setting.
- Step back and let your teen take the lead.
- Offer opportunities for your child to step up and practise their life skills. These opportunities might include team sports, hobbies, summer jobs and chores.
Remember, soft skills are becoming more and more in-demand from employers, as they dictate how your child will interact and behave in the workplace. Hone these and they’ll have a head start when the time comes to start their career.