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Valuing empathy and compassion in leadership

If I asked the 14-year-old me about my DofE experience and its impact, I’d probably struggle to go beyond describing it as fun, friendships, a bit of an adventure and trying new things.

I’m sure empathy, resilience and emotional intelligence weren’t words I could readily access within my vocabulary.

However, 25 years later as I reflect on my own DofE journey it’s clear that those experiences – from volunteering in my local residential care home to hiking on the Isle of Arran – have shaped how I lead team teams and work with others.

What I saw as ‘trying something new’, has given me the confidence to say ‘yes’ to opportunities and encourage others to do the same.

Planning and completing a four-day hike with my friends, has helped me to understand my own strengths and weaknesses and be comfortable in calling on the skills of others to achieve success as a team.

This is why I’m pleased that new DofE research out today shows that young people value compassion, kindness and listening skills as important leadership characteristics, as opposed to authority and dominance.

The DofE is future-proofing the next generation to be resilient, confident, team-leaders in a world which is becoming more and more insular and self-absorbed.

Not only protecting them against the life and work challenges they will face; but helping to change traditional models of leadership for the future.

Jenni Anderson, DofE Director of Fundraising

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