As a dad to a nine-year old, year five girl, I am at the daunting stage of her life, when as parents we are starting to look at secondary schools.  We are a long way off from making any decision and I am sure we will still be undecided when we need to start thinking about filling in forms in a year’s time.  We have been to see many secondary schools; mixed, all-girls, academy schools and they all offer something different.  At each school the head teacher has given a great and engaging account of their school and where the strengths lie and the great things they have been achieving.   The schools are huge and certainly a long way from the grammar I went to and where we sang about five hundred fellas assembled in hall – now it is more like one thousand five hundred and I am scared, so lord knows what my daughter will think/feel when it is time to go but like any workplace, values were key.

At one school they had a number of ‘R’s but one really stayed with me.  It is not a word I would ever use, I would certainly struggle to spell it and I get flustered when I say it out loud but the meaning and what it stands for will stand any child, going into future employment well.  The value that was used throughout the presentation was ‘reciprocity’ – being socially adept at learning.  What a great value for life.

The slide read ‘Reciprocity involves developing the skills required to be an effective and efficient collaborative learner, demonstrating leadership and partnership skills to produce the best possible learning outcomes.  Students show sophisticated skills of empathy, using enquiry, investigative and experimentation.

  • Interdependence
  • Collaboration
  • Empathy and Listening
  • Imitation

As I digested the meanings and words, I considered how equally important these were in the workplace and how if you are equipped with these at the start of your career journey, you will be well placed.

Interdependence in the workplace is fundamental to success.  Employees who interact and relate with each other and draw from each person’s contribution will eventually help you reach that greater goal and ultimately lead to success.   Each employee should be encouraged to contribute their piece of the puzzle.  We are all different and have different ideas – don’t be afraid to share.

Collaboration in the workplace is also fundamental to the success of an organisation. Working together through idea sharing and thinking to accomplish a common goal is easier than trying to solve the issue by yourself. Collaboration is simply teamwork taken to a higher level.

Working in teams makes employees more responsible and it also raises their motivation level.

Empathy is the capacity to comprehend and share another person’s feelings. It is more than just acting with sympathy, empathy allows us to take a walk in someone else’s shoes and understand them better as a result. … The importance of empathy in the workplace is often downplayed.  It shouldn’t be….

Verbal communication involves both speaking and listening. In a business organization, listening is key to effective working relationships among employees and between management and staff. Listening skills also impact a company’s interaction with customers and other businesses.  Obvious I know but you would be surprised.

Imitation is a core tool for learning new skills and through observation and interactions with peers, skills will be honed and fine-tuned leading to your own style.

In conclusion, if my little girl comes out of school at 18, as a young lady with all the above skills, she will be well set for university, the workplace… and life.