Last Monday morning watching my 15yr old James at 7am chatting to me ready for school, looking immaculate and prepared for the week I was astonished. He had just spent the weekend selling poppies, programmes for the London the Brighton to raise money for his unit and marshalling at the local firework display. He left at 9am Sat spent all day in London then marshalling locally, finally getting to put his head down at 11pm ( on the floor of his cadet unit in a sleeping bag) only to be woken at 3am to be back selling programmes unpaid in the freezing cold until 4pm.
He was exhausted and even said he was feeling rough before he went to bed, yet there he was ready to go the next morning.
We hear so much criticism about the “younger generation” our new era of digital natives, that we cannot get away from the screen yet here we have a young lad totally committed and prepared to do what it takes.
As James is my personal psychology project I asked him what drives him, so we can use it with our own teams, some of whom who are not much older than him.
He gave me these tips:-
1. Create something we want to believe in. We will work hard and be committed if we believe in it.
2. Let us get involved, trust us and recognise our contribution, by doing that you will build our confidence.
3. You don’t always have to praise us, we can take criticism but steer us in the right direction not just tell us it’s wrong.
4. My commanding officer John Woods (ex Falklands Royal Marines engineer) is such a role model, he is tough and we have to deliver, he tells us straight but he will do anything for us and he believes in us.
5. I don’t want to let my team mates down, we are in this together, they would not let me down.
6. Teach us. I get to go on courses and now want to be an engineer in the Royal Marines, I have to get top grades to do that so missing school or not turning up for cadets is not an option.
His last phrase though it one you can use with your team…
Believe in what you do, give as much as you can and show them you are prepared to do what it takes and they will notice and you will achieve more in the long run.
Not bad for a 15 year old.