Even as students are going through high school and preparing for college, the employment landscape they will be entering years down the road is already shifting dramatically. New technologies are creating new careers practically on a daily basis. Trying to guess exactly what role a student will fill with their first employer or internship during their college years is a big unknown.
So while our teachers certainly don’t shirk teaching technical knowledge and relevant skills to various fields of study, at Lutheran High School, we believe that developing an array of “soft skills” is just as critical—if not more so. In fact, as technology such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning continue to advance, many traditional technical skills will be outsourced to automation platforms, causing employers to evaluate potential job candidates according to more “human” qualities and aptitudes that can’t be replicated by machines.
This soft skill set is one that students can take with them into any field or industry and apply to any job, furthering their chances of growth and success.
10 Soft Skills for Future Success
- Conflict Management: With the increasing complexity of the workforce, the growing diversity found within teams, and the inevitable mingling of disparate cultures and worldviews within a single organization, people are going to experience conflict on multiple levels. How they identify it and resolve it in a productive and positive manner can directly impact the outcome of projects or team solidarity and success.
- Emotional Intelligence: How well can a student know their own emotional state and respond to the emotional expression of others? Can a student communicate how they are feeling in a clear manner and handle interpersonal interactions with empathy? This is a key contributor to the success of those in leadership and management positions, no matter what career you’re in.
- Time Management: With the growing chaos of life, constant distractions of technology and social media, and the demands of family, friends, education, work, and so on, how well are students able to juggle their scheduling priorities? Are they able to multi-task, sort tasks by importance, and carve out time to invest in the pursuits that will actually matter most in their lives? Will they ever conquer the all-powerful snooze button?
- Communication: Even if a student thrives on communicating via emoji, verbal and written communication skills remain core to practically every career and job out there. Being able to communicate not just with your peers, but bridging geographic and cultural gaps is a sure way to set a person apart as a leader in the workforce and their professional sphere.
- Culture Building: When a student eventually enters the workforce, will they simply be assimilated into the culture of their office and team, or will they have the ability to shape and influence the established culture for the better? Will they know how to establish teamwork, motivate outlying employees, and foster values such as integrity and perseverance in their workplace?
- Productivity Management: An offshoot of time management, this skill deals specifically with being able to focus on tasks and projects that further concrete goals and growth. Alongside handling the daily schedule demands, how are students able to ensure their higher priority tasks and deadlines are being met?
- Customer Service: Even if a student doesn’t end up in a customer service job, most positions will interact with customers, vendors, clients, or partners to some degree. Having the ability to communicate well with business associates, fulfill requests, and maintain a positive attitude in the face of professional dissatisfaction can greatly enhance a student’s eventual career success.
- Stress Management: Stress is a killer these days! It’s not only an enormous drain on the mind and emotions, but also has numerous physical symptoms as well, many of which can be life-threatening if they’re too aggravated and chronic. Excess stress levels is reported to cost over $190 billion annually among global organizations. We’d rather not have your student be contributing to that invisible debt, which inevitably collects with high interest.
- Storytelling: When an employee is able to clearly convey what their business, product, or service does to enhance the lives of a target audience, that’s when real engagement and transformation can occur. Learning how to tell stories that further a company brand or marketing efforts can set a student apart as someone who is truly passionate about changing lives of customers or clients for the better.
- Change Management: The only thing we can rely on to be consistent is the inevitability of change. Being able to anticipate and plan for change in life is a key indicator for a healthy mindset that lets students handle stressful situations and shakeups and discover new opportunities in their jobs. Flexibility and adaptability are two facets of this often overlooked and underrated soft skill, but are what we challenge students to be each day in class.
By preparing students with these soft skills, our teachers at Lutheran High School are able to offer a balanced approach to personal and professional development. Our students are being equipped every day to take the lead in a world that will challenge them on all fronts—mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It’s only wise that they feel ready to handle those challenges with a wider array of tools and techniques that they’ve learned to incorporate during their time on our campus.