Work ethic is not so hard to teach; you do something, you get something. You must be presentable, on time and use effort in every task. Rewards and status are both earned. This is a simplified concept yet easy to understand at any age.
Interpersonal skills... now that takes a different kind of effort! The first thing we teach our young leaders is to always "look to yourself". There is an old saying "when you point a finger at someone in blame, there are always 3 fingers pointing back at you". This illustrates the first teaching philosophy we give: if things are not going well with your class, it is NEVER the fault of the student. The teacher must always be in control. If children act out, they are not being properly engaged. This leads instructors to create their own personal toolkit of drills, activities and keywords to remain in charge. They learn to always observe their charges and adjust their teaching appropriately. This is a first step to being aware of others as much as oneself.
Aside from teaching, our young leaders are also required to work on their relationships with others. When a situation occurs, students are instructed to seek the root of the problem and decide if there are any steps they can take to remedy the problem. How in the world do we teach THAT? Well, the first thing to recognize is that moment when we want to blame someone for something we do not like. Anger and frustration arise creating unhappiness about certain situations. How does one "look to yourself"?
We try to help our young assistants to understand that the ONLY human 100% within your control is YOU. Knowing that, begin with what you can do to alleviate the situation no matter whose fault it may be. Would it help if you spoke in a different tone? Are you reacting to things you don't like without taking a moment to process? Would it help if you just did not engage with the situation? If there is a difficult person involved, try to put yourself in their shoes to see things from their point of view. Are they frustrated for a reason? Is there any way you can ease their feelings?
Our leaders are instructed to always ask and never demand. Phrases like "can you do me a favor?" "will you help me with this?" "how can we share this task?" are used to replace demands and "bossy" commands. The WAY we say things is often the most important thing. How often in an emotional situation do we just blurt something out that adds to the problem? Stop, pause, think about the best way to say something. This is the way we teach our youngsters to use their FILTERS...this is something I find myself needing every day! As our wise Grandmaster Mark Sheeley has always told me, every story has 3 sides: yours, theirs, and what an objective 3rd person would think. Know all the stories before you react or send that scathing email ... as we say when teaching kata PAUSE!