Areas of Focus
Interpersonal Skill Development
Interpersonal skills are the bedrock to building effective leadership skills. At YLI, we equip young people with the interpersonal skills needed to rise above and beyond barrier-filled, screen-based, virtual world interactions in order to build confidence for greater person-to-person relationships. We impress upon our youth the guiding principles and characteristics of effective leaders and the importance of how one’s moral character, motives, values, and goals impact others. Our young leaders learn new techniques that enable effective communication including understanding verbal and nonverbal cues and physical indicators. Through this introspective process, young people gain an elevated state of consciousness and take ownership of their responsibility to be active, global citizens.
Leadership is a relational, social exchange process, just as it is scalable; it requires one to have a foundation built on integrity, authenticity, creativity, effective communication, and creating a healthy environment. At YLI, we believe that young people can evolve to become effective and impactful leaders by developing the “interpersonal leadership of oneself.”
Critical thinking skills are the cornerstone for effectively resolving conflict. In this area, YLI offers programming that will attune young leaders to assess conflict, listen to others during discord and when moments of conflict, and to skillfully disagree without breaking bonds or burning bridges. We coach and guide young leaders to reach a collaborative win–win strategy and to avoid scenarios that lead only to a zero-sum game. We offer youth alternative suggestions and more importantly different options on how to defuse hostile confrontation, which produces a creative growth mindset.
Youth learn about creating positive social change by internalizing the practice of engaging in a healthy, yet fair exchange of ideas and considering alternate points of view. Young Leader Institute participants gain first-hand experience in dealing with awkward and uncomfortable settings, while modeling dialogue that involves conflict and hostility. It is in this space, that participants learn various options on how to disarm a hostile opponent and to work with them toward a common goal, even when parties do not see eye to eye. This is a transformative journey that awakens the young mind to critical thinking while sharpening communication skills. The path to critical thinking begins by asking hard, meaningful questions, which in turn boosts confidence in negotiation skills and the ability to navigate difficult situations.
The greatest, most influential leaders in the world seem to share a common characteristic - Ethical Leadership. Ethical leadership is rooted in respect for ethical beliefs and values and in preserving the dignity and rights of others. At YLI, we believe that the absence of ethical leadership can only produce marginal leaders, at best. Ethical leadership can be developed by understanding the relational process in which thoughts become words; words that become actions; actions that become habits; habits that form values that ultimately define character. It is your inner moral compass that shapes and defines you and your representation to the world.
The difference between a good vs. a great leader is the presence or absence of a sound moral compass. At YLI, we believe that ethical leadership skills form the basis and the foundation for which all other leadership skills can flourish. Our workshops enable young leaders to explore themselves and gain a deeper level of self-awareness and an elevated sense of social consciousness. They learn about what it means to have integrity and how to live in their best authentic self. Participants discover how to develop and embody their own personal “code of ethics” which will lead them on a journey to living in congruence with their own personal values.