These commandments were primarily crafted for our In-Classroom Facilitators. They are worth reviewing as we begin our online engagement with children and young adults. Some of the principles remain unchanged and would serve as well as we interact online, some could do with some changes, so we look forward to coming up with a modified list for our Online Trainers, Mentors, Coaches and Counsellors – so do run through this and send us your comments and suggestions.


I. We shalt smile.

Nothing more important than showing the Young Leaders that we are delighted to be with them.

II. We shalt respect commitments made or taken.

This means starting on time and importantly finishing on time. If for any reason there is a change in timing or schedule, let the Young Leaders know in advance. Respect their time and earn their respect for ours. If we make any commitments on awards or recognition be sure to follow through.

III. We shalt talk ‘with’ them NOT ‘to’ them.

It is important to not come across as preachy or even worse condescending. Because of our usual beliefs that children are our ‘inferiors’ we can sometimes unconsciously take a tone of voice or adopt body language that seems to suggest “ you better listen up. I’m here for your own good so do yourself a favour and pay attention”. This is counter-productive.

IV. We show rather than tell.

One picture is worth a thousand words.

V. We shalt get them to do and talk.

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” – Confucius. So the more we get the Young Leaders to talk and do the better the chances of effective learning for them. A good guidepost to keep in mind is that whoever is doing the talking is doing the learning. So especially with the young, less is more in terms of us talking. Listening to them often yields much more dramatic results.

VI. We shalt believe in EVERYONE in our group.

Sometimes we tend to gravitate in a group to one or more members who are more attentive, or more participative. We should deliberately try and maintain an ‘equal attention” attitude if required paying more attention to some of the less confident members of our group.

VII. We shalt not have or display prejudice or bias.

In the examples we use or our language, there should be no traces of religious, race, caste, gender or any other kind of bias. Sounds obvious, but this also means no use of offensive language or images or slang. In speaking with an only boys or only girls group – we should ensure our examples are gender-relevant and sensitive.

VIII. We shalt be assertive but never aggressive in maintaining a culture of discipline.

The idea is to get the Young Leaders used to the concept of them taking responsibility rather than being nagged by others. Our approach to ‘discipline’ should be to reflect the root of the word. Discipline is derived from the root which means ‘ to teach’. There is no hint of punishment there.

IX. We shalt use simple and relevant language.

We can often slip into the habit of using words, phrases and terminology for our own background or career. We should try and minimize this and where required, we should clearly explain it. Our tone and voice are informal and conversational. Our language and examples must be from the Young Leaders perspective and not ours. As St. Ignatius put it, “ Enter through their door so you can leave through yours.”

X. We shalt give the message but also we ARE the message.

This means we dress the part- male facilitators in suits, female facilitators in saris, formal salwars or other formal wear. This means we practice the same skills and values and do not contradict through our behaviour something we are urging them to follow or adopt. Ralph Waldo Emerson put it well – “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”

Leo Fernandez

Leo Fernandez is CEO and Co-Founder of TalentEase Pte Ltd. Leo is passionate about making a difference. With 18 years of leadership experience, Leo has spent his career bringing together high-performance talent, crafting winning partnerships with clients and developing solutions for business change. Prior to founding TalentEase, Leo was a Partner with Accenture, based at Singapore.

He has an abiding interest in the Asia Pacific region and in showcasing it as the region to drive global innovation and step change. His current projects involve education and micro-entrepreneurship. He has a Bachelor’s in Economics and a Master’s in Business Administration. He currently splits his time between Singapore and India.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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