I recently had the pleasure of working with 200 young people in one of the waves of this year’s National Citizenship Service (NCS).
For those who haven’t heard of NCS, it’s a UK programme run over the summer for 15 to 17-year olds that involves residentials, outward bound activity, employer skills, community projects and a whole load of fun. As it’s backed by the government, it’s financially accessible to all so if you know anyone in that age bracket, ask them to take a look at www.ncsyes.co.uk.
I ran sessions about empathy and how being able to put yourself in other people’s shoes (teammates, customers and people from other backgrounds/cultures) is a key life and business skill.
I was blown away by the enthusiasm, creativity and passion of the people who attended the sessions. I found it exceptionally rewarding and it changed my thinking in many areas too. The biggest lesson for me was that I (had) always believed in the old saying ‘treat people as you would want to be treated’ but after the sessions, I came to the conclusion that this saying is seriously flawed. Surely, if we truly empathise then we should ‘treat people as they would want to be treated’…a subtle change in words but massive change in behaviour. I’m going to give it a go and try to apply this but, as I’m sure it’s not as easy as changing a couple of words in a sentence, I would welcome any tips you have.