Life Skills Facilitator's Guide
As a leader, you need to be able to clearly and succinctly explain everything from organizational goals to specific tasks. Be prepared to define Life Skills in Urdu and regional languages as well as English. Example: Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable us to deal with challenges by managing frustrations and focusing on realistic goals.
A large part of communication involves listening. This is a skill all life skills trainers must cultivate and practice. Don't rush in to add what you think people are feeling or thinking, ask them, and wait for them to finish their thoughts. Repeat what they said back to you to summarise the discussion.
To be an effective life skills trainer, you need to inculcate the qualities of a leader, which means mastering motivational skills. A leader must inspire stakeholders to go the extra distance to achieve goals/ targets/ desired outcomes. Build students/ staff and other stake-holders elf-esteem through recognition and rewards, or give new responsibilities to increase their stake in the project, without increasing their burden of paper work. If you want the help of a head teacher, for example, start by telling them all you want to do is tap into their treasure trove of experience to learn about the students and their community.
You must learn what motivators work best for your students and other team members to encourage productivity and passion.
Leaders who try to take on too many tasks by themselves will struggle to get anything done. You need to identify the skills and interests of stakeholder groups, and assign responsibilities based on their skill set. Once you delegate tasks be prepared to follow and reward progress.
A positive attitude can go a long way. You should be able to take yourself lightly and laugh at yourself when something doesn't go quite as planned; this helps create a happy and healthy environment, a safe space even during busy, stressful periods.
Students and other stakeholders need to be able to feel comfortable coming to their leader with questions and concerns. They need to feel safe. And they need to feel that you value their input.
As a leader, you have to make decisions that do not have always have a simple, clear answer; you therefore need to be able to think outside of the box, go off on tangents, explore unorthodox solutions. Ask yourself if you know what this means. Be honest with yourself, ask for more training if this is an area you are not confident in.
Learning to try non-traditional solutions, or approaching problems in non-traditional ways, will help you to solve an otherwise unsolvable problem.
Leaders should constantly look for opportunities to gather and deliver useful information to team members about their project and performance. By teaching students how to improve their work and make their own decisions, you will feel more confident delegating tasks.
A leader is responsible for both the successes and failures of the team. Therefore, you need to be willing to accept blame when something does not go correctly. Then, rather than dwell on the failure, learn from it, and use it as an example, modelling resilient behaviour. Bounce back from it, and emerge as an inspiring leader as a result. Don’t punish others for failing, and don’t punish yourself, accept that something didn’t go well and explore the lessons you have learnt in the process, and move on to implementing solutions.
If your students/ stakeholders/colleagues see their leader pointing fingers and blaming others, they will lose respect for you. Accept mistakes and failures, and then devise clear solutions for improvement.
It is important for leaders to follow through with what they agree to do. You should be willing to put in the extra hours to complete an assignment; for example if the students choose a current news topic, make sure you read the news and stay informed. Your students and stakeholders will see this commitment and follow your example. Similarly, when you promise a reward, such as project party, you should always follow through. Never avoid fulfilling a commitment.
Mishaps and last-minute changes should not ruffle your feathers. When large groups of people work together misunderstandings and mistakes offers occur. Leaders need to be flexible, accepting whatever changes come their way. Students will appreciate your ability to take challenges in stride they will learn from it.
Leaders must be open to suggestions and feedback. If your students are dissatisfied with an aspect of their project, listen to their concerns and be open to making changes. Students will appreciate a leader's ability to accept appropriate feedback.