Episode 7

Published on:

19th May 2020


Unlearning: A Game Changing Soft Skill

In 2016 Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well‐developed soft and people skills.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler

Unlearning is essential, but as a game changing soft skill it is undervalued.

Four practical steps to help consider unlearning:

#1: Figure out how to ask NEW questions. 

#2: Think as far beyond the box as your mind will allow you to go so that you can move away from your established assumptions.

#3: Put your thoughts into a NEW context. 

#4: Pursue unlearning and then test what you unlearn

You may be doing the same things but the way you think about them will change!


Dalai Lama

n.d. (2015). The Soft Skills Disconnect. National Soft Skills Association. Retrieved 4.20.20 from https://www.nationalsoftskills.org/the-soft-skills-disconnect/

Klammer, A. & Gueldenberg, S. (2016). Organizational Unlearning and Forgetting – A Systematic Literature Review. Retrieved 6.5.2019 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305682100_Organizational_Unlearning_and_Forgetting_-_A_Systematic_Literature_Review

Mehta, J. (2015). The Paradox of Deeper Learning: The Unlearning Curve. Retrieved 6.5.2019 from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_deeply/2015/04/the_paradox_of_deeper_learning_the_unlearning_curve.html

Uldrich, J. (2011). Higher Unlearning: 39 Post-Requisite Lessons for Achieving a Successful Future. Edina: Beavers Pond Press


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About the Podcast

The Art of Leadership
The Art of Leadership focuses on soft skills... some of the hardest skills a leader will ever learn.
The Art of Leadership with Dr. Niña Ellison focuses on the soft skills of leadership, their value and the power of their influence. As a leader, if you are interested in moving from success to significance then balancing both hard and soft skills is essential!

Hard skills are demonstrated through technical expertise that results in clearly measured goals being reached. They are vital to the success of any initiative or program. On the other hand, soft skills emphasize the transformation of people. They highlight behavioral changes and making a difference in people’s lives.

This podcast is for leaders who are seeking a fresh perspective into some of the hardest soft skills a leader will ever learn. You can connect with Niña at https://www.ninaellison.com

About your host

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Niña Ellison

In 2019, after years of leading teams varying from international disaster relief and healthcare to the US Corporate world, Niña founded Healthy Leadership to focus on her passion for partnering with leaders in their growth and sustainability. Her own journey into soft skill development has convinced her that while her technical skills helped her get her foot in the door, her soft skills moved the influence of her leadership from success to significance.

As a soft skill specialist Niña takes monthly deep dives in her podcast series, The Art of Leadership, to explore the underlying dimensions of soft skills. She knows that soft skill development is not so much about WHAT but HOW a leader leads.
• From a 10,000 foot view a leader pursuing soft skills asks, “How do I problem solve; How do I manage time and energy?”
• From a 1,000-foot view that same leader, as they dig deeper into soft skills, begins asking questions like, “How do I listen; or How do gain self-control?”
• From Ground Zero the leader recognizes that there are underlying dimensions of soft skills as they ask, “How do I model respect for all; How do I sustain hope; How do I demonstrate appropriate love in the workplace; How do I maintain the right attitude?” How do I lead by serving?

Nina believes that behind every wildly effective and sustainable system and process are leaders and teams who have interwoven soft skills into every phase of their work.