Caring. Encouraging. Understanding. Tolerant.
Qualities of E-teen leaders
- Personal commitment to be involved with another person for an extended time generally, one year at minimum. One of the most important qualties E-teen leaders have is a genuine desire to be part of other peoples lives, to help them with tough decisions and to see them become the best they can be. They are willing to make an investment of time to the relationship and to be there during good and bad times in order to make a difference.
- Respect for individuals and for their abilities and their right to make their own choices in life. E-teen leaders do not approach people with the attitude that their own ways are better or that participants need to be rescued. They convey a sense of respect and equal dignity in the relationship, win the trust of peers and the privilege of being advisors to them.
- Ability to listen and to accept different points of view. Most people can find someone who will give advice or express opinions. It's much harder to find someone who will suspend his or her own judgment and really listen. E-teen leaders often help simply by listening, asking thoughtful questions and giving teens an opportunity to explore their own thoughts with a minimum of interference. When people feel accepted, they are more likely to ask for and respond to good ideas.
- Ability to empathize and show compassion with another person's struggles. Effective E-teen Leaders can feel for people without feeling pity for them or taking their problems to heart. Even without having had the same life experiences, they can empathize with what another person is feeling and the personal problems they're dealing with.
- Ability to see solutions and opportunities as well as barriers. Effective leaders balance a realistic respect for the real and serious problems faced by peers with optimism about finding equally realistic solutions. They are able to make sense of a seeming jumble of issues and point out sensible alternatives.
- Flexibility and openness. Effective E-teen leaders recognize that relationships take time to develop and that listening as well as communicating is part of developing a relationship. They are willing to take time to get to know their people, to learn new things that are important to their mentees (music, styles, philosophies, etc.), and even to be changed by their relationship.