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Between 30 March and 5 April, 2012 an Ethical Leadership Workshop took place in Surdesti, a village near Baia Mare, Romania, where an active Initiatives of Change team called Club for Young Leaders is working towards developing a better understanding and promoting of value-based leadership.
The course was run by Foundations for Freedom trainers David Curtis from UK, Dasha Kolesnik and Angela Starovoytova from Ukraine, Willemijn Lambert from The Netherlands and Diana Damsa from Romania.
Sixteen participants had a chance to discuss and deepen their understanding of topics such as ethical leadership, motivation, moral values, integrity, communication, trust, competition and cooperation. All this was held together by the regular practice of quiet reflection as an essential tool for an ethical leader.
At the end, the participants expressed their thoughts regarding this experience. Asked about their general impression, they said:
'It was the most powerful experience of learning of my life! I discovered that I am not alone, that there are many people who believe in the values I believe.' - a high school teacher.
'I felt like growing and belonging. I must admit I loved having the chance to express my thoughts. ' - a football coach.
'I’ve never been to such a powerful course. It is amazing how many skills and spiritual thoughts you can develop in just five days. The course achieved it’s goal!' - a recruitment consultant.
'The perfect analogy is the one about fireworks shows. Each session/game/exercise etc is like a firework, it makes you say 'wow'. And when you think you’ve seen it all, BANG goes another firework, even more beautiful and bigger than the previous ones.' - an engineer.
'I LOVED IT! I had a wonderful time, it was an amazing combination of fun, learning, enlightenment and self-discovery. ' - an economist.
Referring to the most useful and insightful learning, many participants mentioned the exercises on developing trust, the ones on understanding the need for cooperation, but most of all the depth which a regular time of quiet reflection can bring in one's life.
'I liked the most the time for quiet reflections because finally I’ve found a way to open up and to realize some things in my life. This practice is really helpful not only for a leader, but also for that leader’s personal life.' - a high-school student.
'The first day I came here I thought that the quiet reflection sessions make no sense at all, but gradually I started to like them so much that now they are/were/will forever be my favourite session/time ever. ' - a high-school student.
'I liked the most the quiet reflections because during them I could really feel people around me, know their heart and mind.' - a public relations and communications consultant.
Also, looking at the issue of the practiced values in one's life was refreshing for many participants:
'The session about values was one of the ones I loved most. Because I was actually thinking of re-doing the list of values a while ago, but I never got to it. So I was really grateful for this opportunity.'- a NGO activist.
'I liked the most the session about values, because I never thought about it. In that moment I realized what are the most important values for me and this thing made me think.' - a high school student
Regarding the skills developed by the course:
'I think now it’s more clear how to build a team, how to involve people and keep them together'; 'I learned how to know myself better, how to love and be loved'; 'I have learned to listen more, and to pay more attention to what others have to say'; 'Patience, listening, going deeper into myself, learning more to think/feel/will'; 'I’ve learned that we are leaders not only on special occasions, but all our lives, because if we want to be true leaders we have to, first, be our own, personal leader.'; 'The quiet reflection sessions helped me with listening to my inner voice. I’m not good at that, because I always shut this door, but I realize now it is safe and feels good to do it.'
Asked about the inner changes that can be already noticed some participants said:
'I realised that my family is very important for me and that the honesty is part of my life' - a student in journalism.
'I started thinking about all the changes I want to make in my life and that I am the only one who can do that: CHANGE. I think that I am more aware now of the responsibility I have in my own life and in the life of the others around me. I gained more trust in other people.' - a NGO activist.
'The course motivated me to care more about people and to seriously take action when needed.' - a high school student and NGO volunteer.
'The course reminded me that as a child I was more heart and soul and mind. I should go back to that stage and bring back these values and qualities into my life.'- a recruitment consultant.
To sum it up:
'I might have learned here in a few days more than in 15 years in school - at least regarding the social skills. I feel it will help me a lot in my job as a coach. It’s amazing how we get energy from another! So positive! People were never bored or low in energy!'
Thank you to all those who made this course possible.
Who we are: Initiatives of Change (IofC) is a world-wide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting with their own.
Purpose: We work to inspire, equip and connect people to address world needs, starting with themselves, in the areas of trustbuilding, ethical leadership and sustainable living.
Omnia Marzouk, President, IofC International
'Nothing lasting can be built without a desire by people to live differently and exemplify the changes they want to see in society.'