Living our values
Being new into post of Chief Commissioner for Wales I am conscious of the impact I can have on people both intended and unintended, says Rhian Moore, that why I try to listen with empathy and challenge with courtesy.
With most new appointments come questions, concerns and opportunities. ‘What is she like? What will she change? What will she want? What will she do?’ and so on.
I've been clear from the start that Scouting in Wales is amazing. I see my time in the role as building on the great work undertaken in previous years and taking it to the next level. It’s about helping Scouting thrive and flourish in Wales.
Using empathy and ‘showing our workings’
You'll hear me talk about great leadership and team work from volunteers. I believe in going back to basics and getting simple things right. This in turn will free up time to grow Scouting, help it become more inclusive, have a positive impact on communities more shaped by young people. I know we can succeed in the same way I know we all have the same thing at the heart of why we volunteer: to support young people to develop skills for life. Living our values will help us do this and make the experience fun and fulfilling for us all.
However, change can be both a wonderful opportunity and a time of uncertainty. So in living the Scout values I have tried to show empathy and have done my best to live by the same mantras as when solving complex maths problems at school, and show my workings out. I try to start with the why and explain where ideas or changes have come from. What makes perfect sense to me may seem very strange or completely illogical to others. By taking this approach, if people disagree we can have a good chat about the information that has led me to a particular thought or conclusion, and come to a shared understanding.
Challenge with courtesy
I think challenge is good and encourages us to make the best decisions possible and when we challenge with courtesy and kindness wonderful things can happen. Caring for others isn't about getting our own way or claiming the glory for decisions. It is about working together to grow ideas, add some different perspectives, a dash of kindness and a splash of respect for others and we have the perfect recipe that will empower young people to be amazing.
Doing this also means we can join the dots between all the great work that is taking place in Scouting across the UK, in ScoutsCymru and all over Wales. It helps to avoid duplication of effort and helps with collaboration and cooperation. It also brings together different perspectives and diverse ways of thinking. These help us make sensible decisions that are relevant and supportive to young people and groups in Wales.
I also try to listen to what is really being said. We tend not to like conflict and we can shy away from what we think are difficult conversations and only share half a story when we speak. However, as we all know, it can be trickier to hide body language. Face to face conversations are needed for this, but I can't meet everyone all of the time. So I've tried to use Skype and Whatsapp video when I speak with people. It hasn't been easy, there are often technical glitches and it sometimes means I am the only one with camera switched on, but it means I can actively listen, see people’s reactions and see many more volunteers from all over Wales.
After all a picture paints a thousand words. So the next time you open your email consider whether you could arrange a chat instead - it will give you the chance to talk through your workings out, come to a shared understanding and it may end up in taking less time as well as give you the opportunity to put our Scouting values into action.