By Irene Kinuthia
The first most sought after competency is customer orientation. This means being alert to and knowing how to satisfy peoples real needs. In the home the person is both a giver and recipient of customer service. If the parent is not sensitive to the real needs of the child due to their fatigue or lack of time; if they delegate all the services due to their children to paid labor, there is the possibility of having them grow, thinking that serving others is a secondary task. How then will they serve customers in the organisation without feeling that the time and energy it takes to do so is best spent elsewhere. Moreover, did they get any opportunity to do things for others in the family or do they need to learn that on the job?
The second most prized competency is leadership. In simple terms, leadership means being a role model by setting a good example. This requires self-leadership and a capacity for interpersonal relationships. The family atmosphere is most conducive for self- knowledge. The family gives people feedback within a loving context and therefore helps them know and accept themselves and be ready to be corrected. In the home there are many opportunities to practice self control and sharing. The problem with modern family lifestyles is that the parents due to time pressure and the guilt of being absent, give in to every whim the child has.
Integrity is the third most valued competency. This means being honest, honourable and ethical. It also means having a genuine, authentic character. In the home, people easily learn to be trustworthy and predictable, not just as children but as husband and wife. Spending time working or playing together as a family allows the family members to be fair and sincere.
The fourth competency is initiative. Initiative means being proactive, rather than merely reacting to demands of the environment. The school actually trains people to be reactive rather than proactive. Children respond to the bell, to exams and work with a pre-set timetable and under supervision. Parents, given the time and skills, can train the children to take charge of situations and not to be passive. A parent who has little time and energy for the child will provide everything even before it is needed and will give no opportunity to the child to think of their own solution. It is even not unusual to find parents dictating answers to the children so homework can be completed in the short time available! When then will they learn to take initiative?
Number five is teamwork. Team work is putting your heart into the job, so that your contribution is complete, timely and effective. You do your best for the team by using your unique strengths. Developing this attitude in the home is the best way to ensure that people come into the labour market with a capacity for commitment, loyalty, generosity and solidarity.
The same can be said of communication, recognizing opportunities, self-improvement, decision making and cross-functionality (these being the sixth to the tenth most sought after competencies respectively). What is most important is that parents need to have time and energy to spare when they get home. If they get home in a state of exhaustion, the little free time they have is only enough to recover for the next day at work. Children need to see their parents values in action. This needs time in sufficient quantity and quality. This is of course a shared responsibility between the individual and the company. Both entities have to be willing to do what it takes to release the time and energy needed to bring up the future labour force.
As you stock take to see if the people around you have these competencies, ask yourself how we can improve the future generation. Companies then have reason to facilitate for their current employees to balance their roles well so as to take time to prepare their children to take up responsibilities in the workplace and in society. In the meantime, those who have not had the opportunity to learn these competencies can still do so through training and coaching.