5 Essentials Non-Technical Skills for the Energy Professionals of the Future
With greater implementation of technology, the in-demand skills across jobs will change over the next five years, and skills gaps will continue to be high. Further, the pandemic has accelerated this trend and for those workers who stay in their current roles, the share of core skills will change by as much as 40% by 2025.
According to The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020, half of us will need to re-skill in the next five years, as the “double-disruption” of the economic impacts of the pandemic and increasing automation transforming jobs takes hold. The Forum estimates that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines. But even more jobs – 97 million – may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms.
However, the very technological disruption that is transforming jobs can also provide the key to creating them – and help us learn new skills. That being the case following are the five essential non-technical skills for the energy professional of the future.
- Thinking – The activity of using your mind to consider something
This includes Analytical Thinking, Critical Thinking and Analysis, Reasoning, Problem Solving and Ideation. Critical thinking is considered a higher order thinking skills, such as analysis, synthesis, and problem solving, inference, and evaluation. The concept of higher order thinking skills became well known with the publication of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives.
Businesses fail because of poor problem solving, often due to either problems not being recognised or being recognised but not being dealt with appropriately. Problem solving skills are highly sought after by employers as many companies rely on their employees to identify and solve problems. Complex situations and problem solving are not going to get any easier in the future.
- Active Learning and Learning Strategies – A method of learning in which employees are actively or experientially involved in the learning process and where there are different levels of active learning, besides passively listening.
Active learning strategies are the perfect solution for taking your employees from a passive state to an active state that involves higher order thinking skills. These instructional tactics have proven to impact individual achievement, enrich instruction, and engage their thinking processes. When using the active learning approach, you are creating an active learning community that focuses on analyzing, evaluating, and creating — the top of the taxonomy.
The idea that individuals learn best when they can actively work with the new knowledge that they are acquiring is nothing new. Decades of research now demonstrate that active learning strategies are more effective for learning, retention, and training room equity than lecture alone. Moreover, studies have shown active learning can especially benefit first-generation employees and under-represented minorities. This might be as simple as asking employees to think about a question and having them briefly write about it and/or discuss it with one or more of their peers. This “think-pair-share” activity is one of the three most common, adaptable, and powerful strategies available.
- Creativity, Innovation, Originality, and Initiative – The creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas, where an idea is understood as a basic element of thought that can be either visual, concrete, or abstract. Ideation comprises all stages of a thought cycle, from innovation, to development, to actualization.
The companies that have been most successful over time are those who are the most creative and innovative. These organizations don’t copy what others do; instead, they may use innovative ideas from others as a springboard to come up with a unique application, product, or service for themselves. They tend to distance themselves from the competition rather than compete with them.
This is often referred to as “Blue Ocean” strategy. If another company copies what they do, they create something new and better. In other words, they can leverage their creativity and their innovative capabilities to attain long-term success.
You can be one of those organizations. The world is changing with technology and the pandemic accelerating this trend. All companies need to innovate to survive with individuals and teams thinking differently to change from within. A major barrier to innovative practice can be thinking that innovation needs to be “top down.” The first thing you should understand is that the new colleague on their first day may be just as likely to come up with an innovative idea as the executive in charge of the department. You must apply creativity and innovation to every aspect of your business, focus on what your customer needs and wants, and it all starts with the right environment, support, and systems for your people.
- Resilience, Stress Tolerance and Flexibility – Resilience is the ability to roll with the punches. When stress, adversity or trauma strikes, you still experience anger, grief and pain, but you’re able to keep functioning — both physically and psychologically. However, resilience isn’t about toughing it out, being stoic or going it alone.
In some ways, today’s world is more stressful than ever. Studies have backed up the idea that more people are worried, anxious, and, well — stressed. But not everyone copes with stress in the same way. Some people perform well under pressure, not just dealing with whatever’s bugging them but excelling. Other people essentially curl into a ball. Stress is the nonspecific response of the body to any demand for change. That is, any internal or external factor, positive or negative, that disrupts equilibrium would be considered “stressful.” Although stress is unavoidable, it is not wholly negative or something to be unilaterally avoided.
Stress can help us perform better, provide opportunities for growth, and protect against the damaging effects of catabolic hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Stress is multifaceted and can result in good or bad outcomes depending on context and mindset. Taking steps to look after your well-being can help you deal with pressure, and reduce the impact that stress has on your life. This is sometimes called developing emotional resilience. Resilience is not just your ability to bounce back, but also your capacity to adapt in the face of challenging circumstances, whilst maintaining a stable mental well-being. Resilience isn’t a personality trait – it’s something that we can all take steps to achieve.
- Leadership and Social Influence – Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.
Notice key elements of this definition:
- Leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power
- Leadership requires others, and that implies they don’t need to be “direct reports”
- No mention of personality traits, attributes, or even a title; there are many styles, many paths, to effective leadership
- It includes a goal, not influence with no intended outcome
While the above definition is aligned with the leader or self, it is the actions of the leader that are perceived by others that determines if they believe a leader is authentic or not. And their perception is accomplished through the social influence of the leader. Thus, a leader’s social influence emphasizes building their legitimacy through honest relationships and ethical actions, that in turn, maximizes the efforts of others to achieving the goal.
To become a leader with social influence you must make a deep commitment to developing yourself through rich and meaningful experiences, reflection, and informal and formal learning. The goal is to learn and develop your true self, rather than become an imitation of someone else. While you can learn from others, you cannot be them.
If you are trying to develop your social influence as a leader, then your organization must have a company culture where individual differences are nurtured; information is not suppressed or spun; the company adds value to employees, rather than simply extracting it from them; the work itself is intrinsically rewarding; and there are no thoughtless rules.
The world-class training experience offered by The Energy Training Centre will help the participants to share and grow with like-minded professionals while you develop practical and career-changing skills.