Why Listening Is The Most Important Leadership Skill

Listening is a tough skill to learn. It requires us to be more present, attentive, engaged, open and flexible. All for the benefit of building relationships with other people. This is what is known as active listening.

 

Active Listening

Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that builds a mutual understanding. It requires you to focus on the other person with all your senses.  When someone else is talking, take the time to really hear them, rather than focus on what you want to say next in response. Listening first to understand another person’s point of view before jumping in, will help you build a relationship with them. If you don’t agree with what they are saying, you can still build on what they have said in your response to show that you respect them and have heard them out. Active listening is a skill that can only be learned and refined through social interaction. Ultimately, it will improve all your relationships.

Engagement

Listening shows engagement. It shows that you care. That you are open to new ideas, constructive criticism, and to building relationships. It can help build your empathy skills. As a leader, empathy and listening go hand in hand. You can show this level of engagement by giving the person who is speaking your undivided attention; listen to their words and reflect on them. Sometimes you don’t even need to provide your opinion; just listening can be enough. Showing this level of engagement not only helps you grow as a leader but builds trust as well.

Camp counselor helping kids at camp.

Open minds

As a leader, being open to criticism, new ideas and approaches demonstrate that you are flexible. Flexibility is an important skill to have as a leader, and one of the best ways to learn flexibility is through listening with an open mind. Successful leaders are flexible, allowing change when it is necessary. They have an open mind, they like hearing others ideas and criticisms. Most of all, they love discussion. Next time you meet with your team, start a discussion about the project and with an open mind listen to what everyone has to say.

Here are some extra resources to help improve your listening skills.

Active listening techniques

10 Steps to Effectively Improve your listening skills

 

Listening is the most important skill a leader can have. It is the basis of so many other skills and traits that make up a leader. So be sure to make improving your listening skills a priority.

 

 

Written by Vimbai Chikoore

aLUMNI Day at Camp

Alumni Day at Camp 2017

To everyone who joined us to celebrate Alumni Reunion Day at Camp on July 15th 2017 to mark Moorelands Camp’s 100th Birthday:

THANK YOU!

Former campers and camp staff from the 1950s through to now, came back to camp to share memories and create new ones.  It was so wonderful to reconnect with you all!

Check out the pics below (click on any image to see a larger one or start the gallery)

Don’t forget to share your own photos on social media using the hashtag #moorelandsalumniday.

Head over the Moorelands’ Alumni Page to stay up to date with the latest Alumni news and events. And ask your friends to sign up to the page too to receive updates!

Let’s Stay Connected!

Top Teamwork Tips That Help Everyone Win

In the workplace and educational spaces, the term “collaboration” is a buzz word that you will hear often. Working productively in a team may sound simple and easy but it can in fact often be a difficult task. A true leader is always thinking Win-Win to ensure success for everyone involved and more than that they know that working with people rather than pushing against them is a quicker route to success. So below are some of our teamwork tips to help you and your team succeed.

Clear Goals and Timelines

Always set goals when working on a project. A clear goal and a solid timeline keeps everyone focused. Map out individual and team goals. This way everyone one the team is on the same page.  Before starting a project, make sure you are setting targets and timelines with the end goal in mind. This will help your team put first things first rather than getting stuck on minor issues. By having clear goals and timelines, everyone in your team will benefit.

Communication is Open, Honest, and Respectful

Create a team culture where members feel like they can express their thoughts, concerns, and solutions to problems.  This will benefit the team and the success of the project. Everyone on the team should feel like they can be heard and ask questions. Remember the key to communication is not who can speak the loudest or the most but a respectful two-way street of speaking and listening. Always start your team meetings by listening first to understand other people’s perspectives. Then building on what’s been said to make your point rather than simply hogging the conversation.

Kids building a towers of lego

Team Members Have a Sense of Belonging

After school program kids posing for photo

Maintaining team morale is important. Members who feel a sense of belonging garner a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to the project and team. Find a way to make sure your team members feel like they belong, that they are valued and know that their role in the team is important. Here is an article by Psychology Today on how to Create a Sense of Belonging.

Teamwork has become a staple in almost all aspects of life so be sure to implement these tips to help you in team situations.

 

 

Written by Vimbai Chikoore

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girl posing with two guys at Moorelands event

Networking Tips for Teens

Networking means getting to know people; fostering relationships and creating a network of people that can lead to great opportunities. A person in your network is someone who can support you professionally or help you find opportunities to work, volunteer, gain experience or make valuable connections.

 

If you are looking for a job, volunteer experiences, scholarships, etc, then you have probably done a bit of networking already. Also you probably know that everyone around you is networking, so here are some networking tips for teens that can help you stand out from the crowd.

Use Social Media

Use social media? You might be thinking, who is more of an expert other than you!? Well actually, if you want to use social media for social networking, it may be time to slightly change the way you use the various social platforms. Use social media to interact with companies, employers, colleges, and universities. It may help you stand out from the crowd. Remember to keep in mind that your social media accounts are public, so present yourself in an appropriate and positive way.

One valuable social media site for professional networking is LinkedIn. It’s a great platform to make connections, find opportunities and find jobs. It’s never too early to make an account. And don’t just stop with creating your profile. To truly network using the site, you need to join groups that are relevant to your career path. So for example, if you want a career in media or marketing, you might choose to join a group like Media & Marketing Professionals Worldwide where you can keep up to date with relevant news and events, post content that you think others will find interesting (to get noticed!) and join in the conversation by commenting on other people’s posts.

Be Prepared

Before you go to a networking event, practice! Practice how you will introduce yourself, your body language, your handshake, your facial expressions.  Prepare for questions such as “tell me about yourself” or “tell me about your experiences”, practice asking questions too. Practice everything that you will do or think you will do. If you need to show materials such as a portfolio or resume, have those prepared. Being prepared will help you feel more comfortable and ready.

 

Need some help coming up with questions? Here is a useful list of Networking Questions to Ask by Harvard Law School

Everything is an Opportunity

Treat every day and everyone you meet as an opportunity to network. Classmates, teachers, counselors, coaches, and friends could help you find opportunities, get information or help connect you to someone else. So from now, be alert to those people in your life and consider how they might connect you to an opportunity. If someone you know if so kind as to offer you an introduction to a great new connection or opportunity, never let it pass you by! Make sure you follow up with whatever it is that they have put in front of you and show your appreciation for them taking an interest in you and your career.

two girls talking

Context

Lastly, not every networking opportunity requires you to be formal or professional, the majority of the people in your network you meet and interact with casually. So keep it casual, remember that the people in your network are your parents, your friends, your teachers etc, so treat them as such.

Networking can seem stressful and tough but keep these tips in mind and it will become fun.

 

 

Written by Vimbai Chikoore

Group of campers posing for a picture

Leadership Development: 3 Pitfalls to Avoid

Developing your leadership skills is no easy task.  At Moorelands, we know how important it is to continue to grow and develop your skills no matter where you are in your leadership journey. As you develop you will make mistakes but don’t give up! Here are three pitfalls to avoid as you develop your skills towards being a strong leader.

Ignoring The Truth

As a leader you are going to make tough decisions, whether it is taking a different approach on a project, stopping it altogether, or having a difficult conversation. You have to be honest with yourself; look at the reality of the situation. Being truthful with yourself and with those you work will take courage, but you will become a better leader for it.

Stopping Your Education

graphic with educational options swirling around two young adults

The most important aspect of development is education. Even if you have already left school or college, that doesn’t mean your education stops. Leaders never stop learning whether it’s a skill that will advance their career, a leadership habit that will make them more effective or taking up a hobby that will keep them sharp. Continuing your education does not mean you have to go back to school, it can be as simple as picking up a book on a new topic, going to a workshop, taking an online course or if you are lucky enough, finding a mentor who can help you hone your skills.

Taking The Easy Path

As a leader you’re going to encounter a plethora of problems, people and paths to success and often the easiest path is the most deceptive. Not everything in life can be solved or achieved by the flick of a wrist or snap of a finger. Solving problems and achieving goals takes time and hard work. Taking the more difficult road will not be easy, however, remember to stay proactive as issues arise. Don’t let the unexpected send you on a reactive spiral. Stay calm in the face of adversity, be the person who is resilient in the face of a difficult task rather than the person who explodes in anger or implodes under stress.

As a leader, you will go through many difficult situations, keep these pitfalls in mind to help your development.

 

 

Written by Vimbai Chikoore

girl caring for a boy by giving him a cup of water

Why Teaching Kids About Caring Is Important

We all know someone who makes us instantly smile when they’re near. Someone who lights up the entire room when they walk in. Someone who has that special “something” about them that makes them truly shine.On top of this, being caring helps us to strengthen our relationships and develop meaningful emotional connections with others.

When we allow ourselves to show care to those around us, we are truly allowing ourselves to live happier, more complete lives.

 

“Being caring can come in many different forms”

But what is it about that person that draws us to them? What is it that makes us want to be near them?

 

More often than not, it all comes down to how caring they are. We are naturally drawn to people who make us feel genuinely good to be around. That is, people who are caring and compassionate to those around them.

three boys posing for photo

What exactly does ‘caring’ mean? And why is it so important?

 

Caring is one of the six positive Moorelands character qualities that make up the “Pillars of Character”, on top of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, and citizenship.

 

Being caring can come in many different forms, such as displaying kindness towards others, sharing with others, being polite by saying “please” and “thank-you”, being sensitive to other’s feelings, showing compassion to those less fortunate, and forgiving someone who has done you wrong.

boy high-fiving a girl

One of the biggest reasons being caring is so important is that it gives us the ability to help others and understand when others are in need. Whether it’s volunteering at a local charity or showing empathy towards a friend who’s going through a tough time, being caring allows us to make a positive difference in another person’s life.

It’s important to remember that being caring doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. In fact, in order for someone to develop a truly caring nature, they need to be taught and nurtured from a very young age. 

 

This is why it’s so important for children to have positive role models in their lives who not only teach children about being caring, but also exhibit caring behaviours themselves.

Two girls smiling and posing for a photo

By teaching your children about caring today, you are giving them the skills to help them lead happier, more fulfilled lives tomorrow.

 

Natalie Burns-Holland

kids posing with leader

Top Five Leadership Skills All Effective Leaders Need

Becoming an effective leader requires us to master five essential skills; positivity, communication, self-awareness, confidence, and determination.

Positivity

Positivity characterizes most leaders; they can see the light in the darkness, find a reason to smile, to laugh, to remain passionate in the face of adversity. That kind of attitude energizes others, especially during hard times. In the workplace or in a team setting, positivity can foster a positive environment which according to a research article published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science;

  • Increases positivity
  • Decreases stress
  • Attracts employees  

Try to stay positive even when things are looking dark.

Communication

Leaders are mostly known for their drive and passion, but it is the ability communicate effectively that is key. Having a vision and creating a vision are two different things, an effective leader knows how to speak with their peers, team members, co-workers or employees, by clearly describing what it is they want. Find the best method to communicate with those around you to increase productivity.

Self-Awareness

Knowing who you are, what your goals are and how you want to achieve them is key to being an effective leader. We all benefit from self-awareness. It will be hard achieving your goals if you don’t know what you want and how you want to get there. Make sure to always take some time for yourself and ask questions such as; what your strengths and weaknesses are, what is best for you and what isn’t. This exercise will help in gaining self-awareness. Here is an article by Life Hack about 30 questions you should ask yourself every day. 

Confidence

Girl at camp practising archery

Ever heard the saying confidence is key. I’m sure we all have, but that doesn’t make it any less true. A good leader stays self-assured even when the future looks unclear. In a team setting having a confident leader motivates everyone else. Try to stay confident in your vision and in yourself.

Determination

Armed with a vision, passion, and goal, leaders will stop at nothing to see their vision come to life, that is determination. Leaders see their projects to completion and don’t give up easily when things become difficult. Try to accomplish your goals and see your projects through to the end, unless there is a compelling reason not to.

two boys posing in a canoe

Positivity, communication, self-awareness, confidence, and determination are five simple skills that can be honed by anybody. Anyone can become a leader, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and prove to your peers, co-workers or friends that you are a leader too.

 

Written by Vimbai Chikoore

Leadership Retreat 2017

Moorelands’ Leadership Retreat 2017

Young Leaders Show Off Their Skills at the Leadership Retreat

Each summer, the culmination of both of Moorelands’ after-school leadership programs (Youth LED and VITAL) is a leadership retreat.

While each of these programs is different – Youth LED helps middle school children at Valley Park develop a firm foundation of leadership skills while VITAL is focused on giving high schoolers at Marc Garneau Collegiate both leadership training and volunteer experience – participants from both programs are invited to take part in the retreat.

The purpose of the leadership retreat is to celebrate participants’ learning, to give them an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned at their programs and to give space for a final debrief of the Moorelands Leadership Habits and Qualities they have learned.

Check out the pictures of out youth leaders having an amazing time enjoying the outdoors and the Moorelands community of which they have become an integral part!

volunteering

Why Volunteering is a Great Way to Boost Your Resume

Need relevant work experience in your industry? Need a boost on your resume? Need to build your soft skills? Need to show employers that you are the right person for the job? Then volunteer! Volunteering is an excellent way to cultivate your skills, gain experience and give yourself a resume boost.

Gain Professional Experience

By volunteering in your work industry or the industry you want to work in, you gain professional work experience. You will gain the necessary experience to put on a resume and industry knowledge that will help you during interviews and on the job. Employers will see that you know the industry’s inner workings, showing how ready you are for the job.

Moorelands after school program

Boost Your Resume

It’s a great way to gain experience to add to your resume.  Volunteering helps to create a positive impression, making you look innovative and creative. Also, you gain a range of useful skills. All are important aspects that recruiters seek.

 

In an Adweek article about the State of Recruitment in 2015, through a Jobvite survey, they found that recruiters rank volunteer participation higher than personal presentation, and spelling and grammar errors when looking at a candidate’s social media.

Improve Your Skills

Moorelands after school program, kids playing on the pavement

By volunteering, you learn an array of soft skills. Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, collaboration and conflict resolution appeal to employers since they display that you are able to work effectively in a group setting. People take courses and seek mentors to gain these skills, but you can easily gain them through volunteering.

The best place to find volunteer opportunities is in your community. We encourage you to seek out such amazing experiences. Moorelands is always looking for volunteers to aid in our various departments.

 

Written by Vimbai Chikoore

resume

How to Write the Best Resume

Resume Writing for Beginners

Creating a resume can be a daunting task, but it is a necessary step towards employment. Moorelands youth leadership programs, Youth LED and VITAL are designed to give kids the skills they need to succeed in the future. As our programs have ended for the year and some of our participants will be looking for jobs we’ve created an outline taking you through what it takes to create a good resume.

Prep

Before you start creating the perfect resume thoroughly go over the job posting taking note of keywords in the job description. You can also do some additional research by going to the employer’s website and learning about the business; how it operates, who are their employees, who it serves, and what are its services. This information will become useful when tailoring your resume.

Content

The content of your resume is the most important part. Your goal is to tailor the content of your resume to prove that you are qualified for the job.

 

Name and Contact Information

Your name and contact information (email, phone number, address, and LinkedIn) should be at the very top of the page. It should be the first words that the recruiter reads, so they know who this resume belongs to and how to contact them.

 

Education

Including your education is necessary on a resume, especially for jobs that look for applicants with a particular academic background.

 

Qualifications

This is where you briefly introduce yourself, what job you are applying too, your skills, your experience and how they apply and qualify you for the job. When writing this section, refer to the job posting, making sure to include the skills, qualifications, and objectives that the posting mentions.

 

Skills

Use this section to show how your personal knowledge ties into the job posting. For example, for the job of a Communications Associate including proficiency in Microsoft word, excel, powerpoint, etc., in the skills sections is a good idea.

 

*Note that you don’t need both a Qualifications and Skills section. You can have one or you can combine the two. It all depends on how you have chosen to tailor your resume.

 

Work Experience

This is the section where you summarize the most important and relevant information from your work history. For this section make sure to keep your work experience relevant to the job you are applying for. In bullet points summarize your position, responsibilities, and achievements in that position. When describing your position, responsibilities and achievements make sure to tie it back to the job posting or additional information about the business. If you lack work experience, you can also use relevant volunteer experience.

 

Achievements

This is another optional section or section that can be combined with another. In this section, you list or summarize your achievements. For example listing that you won an essay contest would catch the eye of a recruiter looking to hire a Communications Associate with a strong writing background.

 

Relevant Courses

While not a necessary section, if you are a student, recent grad, are taking or have taken a course that can apply to the job, then you can add that to your resume.

 

References

You do not need to add your references until you are asked by a recruiter.

 

Wording

Lastly, how you word your content is important, so here are some resources to help you.

 

100 Great Resume Words 

 

Forbes- Best and Worst Words to Use on a Resume

Formatting

When formatting a resume readability is key. According to Business Insider, recruiters only spend about six seconds looking at a resume so utilizing white space, sectioning and formatting your resume will increase readability and allow for easy navigation.

 

White Space

You don’t have to fill up the whole page, make sure to strategically leave spaces to section out your content.

 

Sections

Just as you have outlined your content earlier make sure to section it out accordingly by using white space, line breaks, headings, different fonts and text styling such as bold and italics. This makes your resume look neat, organized and increases readability.

 

Length

Keep your resume short; your resume should be no more than one or two pages. Here are some resume samples from Monster.ca and resume Templates for Microsoft Word to help with formatting.

In the competitive workforce having well-crafted resume can give you the extra edge needed to get your dream job.

 

Written by Vimbai Chikoore

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