Panel helps hone effectiveness skills

The Family and Consumer Science Department’s C.C. Wheeler Institute hosted a panel to discuss effectiveness skills in the Michel Student Center ballroom last night.

The panel consisted of Office of Diversity and Inclusion President Norris Chase, President of the Dunlap Board of Education Dawn Bozeman, Crittenton Center President Jeff Gress and Jason Kiesau, an author and leadership development manager. Family and consumer science professor Magdalena Sas moderated the panel.

“Effective skills relate to the management of tasks, time, stress, thoughts, emotions and interactions,” Sas said.

Sas said she became interested in this subject because she serves as a reference for many students when they apply to jobs, and often prospective employers ask about effectiveness skills.

“Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, prospective employers don’t usually ask me about things involving the student’s area of study,” Sas said. “Employers will ask me questions like, ‘Does this person show diplomacy when dealing with others?’, ‘Do they plan, execute and manage work in a disciplined way?’ or ‘Do they take time to listen to others?’”

Kiesau said effectiveness skills can make or break an individual’s career early on.

“The top-five reasons new hires fail is the lack of these effectiveness skills and lack of coachability,” Kiesau said. “New hires can’t accept feedback. As a new hire, you’re not going to be great at everything you do, and people are going to try to coach you, and they may not say it in a manner that you like, so how are you going to respond?”

College is a great time to learn how to utilize and appreciate feedback, according to Chase.

“Feedback is love,” Chase said. “Those red marks on your paper are love. When you get out of college, no one is going to critique without there being some consequences. So, take advantage of this time and this institution.”

In order to get the most of one’s college experience, Chase said it is vital to seek out mentors.

“Maybe it’s just the season, but I like to think of mentorship in terms of haunted houses,” Chase said. “When I go to haunted houses, I like for people to go in front of me. In the same sense, life can be scary and complicated, so it makes sense to talk to people who have been through it already.

Gress said he also encourages people to seek help for both academic and personal problems.

“It can be tempting to want to go it alone and tough it out, and certainly everybody needs to be resilient to a certain degree,” Gress said. “The problem is that if you let your skin become so thick that nothing affects you and you don’t learn anything, resilience ceases to be a skill and becomes a coping mechanism.”

Bozeman offered a story of a high school student she knew who had to develop effective skills over the course of their academic career.

“The student was very good academically but was more of a loner,” Bozeman said. “They didn’t reach out, and they didn’t have any relationship skills. The student wasn’t in the right environment or had the right opportunities to really develop those skills.”

Bozeman said luckily the student had a guidance counselor who mentored them and advised them to join the track team.

“The student never became a really remarkable runner but they did grow,” Bozeman said. “Not only did they gain social skills, but they were humble enough to realize that despite their great grades, they had a lot to learn and were willing to accept coaching.”