Learning: soft skills needed for the workplace

With digital advances and “disruptive technology” being a constant feature now in the news, and the witness of Airbnb disrupting guesthouse and hostel businesses, Uber affecting taxi drivers, people are now turning towards coding in the hope of being relevant in the workplace in the next technological wave, with the Singapore government also promoting this with the “Code for Change” initiative. What else you may wonder, should I be doing to continue to stay relevant?

Soft skills is an area where technology would face challenges to replace the human factor. For instance, whilst a robot may be able to nurse you when you are in hospital, the warm smile of a caring person, and the ability of the person to understand and address patients’ feelings and related behaviour would put the quality of care of a human nurse very likely above that of a robotic one.

In more general terms, in the workplace, there are also other important soft skills to develop in, one being relationship building. To get buy in for any ideas, there is often a need to consult various affected parties, some of whom may with their own agenda, be opposed to the change you are seeking to drive through. Having the ability to influence and persuade others would ensure one’s continued relevance in the economy of the future.

Leadership skills – the ability to create an inspiring vision and motivate and inspire others to also believe the vision and want to carry out the changes, would also continue to be key. We have seen the powers of strong leaders, particularly in the world of politics – where they could exert their personal power either to achieve economic change, or even bring out war. Leaders would continue to be important to lead organisations towards their visions of even greater progress and excellence.

Creative thinking would also continue to be key. While robots can be programmed to imitate human behaviour, they cannot be ground breaking. As a result, having the ability to understand and also find creative and possibly simple solutions to issues would make one a continued valuable player in the future workplace. A funny story on creative versus complex solutions is as follows: http://cs.txstate.edu/~br02/cs1428/ShortStoryForEngineers.htm

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Credits pic: http://www.yorksolutions.net

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