Great social skills is a great way to build knowledge. No one should feel lonely at work

Talent has always been the same. One generation has never more talented than another – the issue is less about human talent and far more structural. The issues can be dated back to the 1990s when the education system changed and one mistake has followed another.

By Chris Sheppardson, Managing Director, EP

I see great talent everywhere I go but so much is just not mentally prepared for the harder, tougher environment that the work environment does inevitably bring. Many feel they are imposters. Others feel alone.  Our thinking needs to change.

We therefore need to create new thinking and approaches. We will not change the system as politics seems to be more focused on political agendas than real life anymore. This is not a political piece but politics no longer leads anymore, it follows.  Blair spoke in 1997 of the importance of “education, education, education” – and that was a theme I supported – but now I suggest we need to focus on “friendship, friendship, friendship.”

This may sound silly but there is a point – many find it harder and harder to achieve what we used to achieve daily and naturally – friendships that crossed barriers and understood people and life. Social skills do seem to have fallen. People seem more self-absorbed with less care about the bigger picture and the community at large.

“No one should feel alone. No one should feel an imposter.”

Every morning I reach London, I will stop at the Dry cleaners to enjoy a conversation with a European lady with five degrees – far brighter than me but who feels an imposter – then to Pret for a coffee and another chat with a young man behind the counter who is struggling with a young family, to the reception of my building to chat to a Colombian who runs a cleaning company, lives in North London – very different to Bogota – and loves London. It is now 7.30am and I have spoken to three bright, good people that all bring me new thoughts ideas and perspectives. I learn from them and I think – I hope – they value my friendship.

So many people feel lonely and silos but this is only because that is how it feels – but it is easy to create change with a different perspective – and we need to help the young have a broader perspective.

So we – EP – are working on two things that I ask you consider:

1. Creating events that bring people from all areas together to network together – from law, sport, accountancy, financial services, and hospitality and beyond. We can all learn from one another and more importantly we learn and share knowledge together more effectively

2. We are bringing sports players into mentor young talent not because they have all the answers but because they bring a different perspective and logically are positive, achievement focused characters who overcome barriers. Mentoring is important as it really supports the psychology of individuals. It will challenge, stretch and also bring a sounding board and friend. There is also growing evidence that shows that sports brings a stronger mental approach and performance.

It is mildly mad that in a country – and world – as busy and full as we possess, people – especially aspiring professionals feel lonely. No one should feel alone but more importantly we need to support great talent.

Disagree with me?

Let me pose you one more thought. The Imposter Syndrome – a well-known case whereby many individuals doubt their accomplishments and feel they will be exposed as a fraud. Clearly this is a barrier to success but also how ridiculous that really good talent and professionals feel like this. They need feedback, friendship, reassurance and support.

I will always argue that there is nothing more important that social skills and friendships. I will never stop meeting new people, hearing their stories and learning from them. They will never stop challenging me in return.

No one should feel alone. No one should feel an imposter – so let’s make’s sure that we are working to nurture talent through personal interaction. It will be today’s talent that will take the world forward so it is in our interests to do so.