WSJ: Employers Find ‘Soft Skills’ Like Critical Thinking in Short Supply

In actuality, I am writing this entry in reaction to an article titled “The CEO of LinkedIn shares the No. 1 job skill American employees are lacking” that is posted on CNBC.com written by Ruth Umoh dated April 26, 2018. However, I feel that particular article is too limited in scope because it refers to “research” reported by LinkedIn which is limited in context. So I looked up a WSJ article (by Kate Davidson, August 30, 2016) with a similar idea – it does also refer to LinkedIn, but on a slightly broader scale.

From my YCISL perspective, EQ is lacking in a general way and that is being picked upon as a failing when trying to hire new employees. The ironic part though is that EQ is just as likely to be missing within a company as it is among those looking to join.

One could feel that there is ample critical thinking available, but it is easy to miss because of (1) a fear of sharing that critical thinking in a one-to-one or small group setting, (2) a lack of active listening where critical thoughts go un-heard because of cognitive filters, and (3) a socio-cultural norm where critical thinking should be kept to one self. After all, I see plenty of criticism (a representation of critical thinking) on Yelp! and YouTube. And in education, critical thinking still means that you have to converge to the same conclusion as the examiner.

With these constraints, one could also consider whether leaders are asking the right questions to generate the critical thinking they desire. Asking questions is a general weakness too in leadership and closely tied to teambuilding. We have thus come back full circle in the cause-effect analysis and suggest that the solution starts with LEADERS becoming more skilled at starting the cycle with (a) good questions, (b) keener active listening, and (c) creating a trusted environment where critical thinking is expected and valued.

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