As we come to the end of another year, it feels timely and important to reflect on the work and impact of Global Leadership Foundation in raising the emotional health levels of people across the planet.

There are always interesting conversations with our friends, Fellows and clients when it comes to what we mean by the word ‘impact’. We are told by these people that our work with them around emotional health levels has made a difference both personally and professionally. We are honoured to hear the stories they share and to see the real change that results.

An example of this was a story told by Peter Cleary in a presentation he and I made at the World Ranger Congress in Nepal in November this year. Pete is a ranger with Phillip Island Nature Parks and described a situation in which two young women had taken their dog for a walk in an area marked out of bounds because it was the home of nesting penguins. He watched the women for a period of time and when they didn’t leave the area, he decided to intercept them given the danger the dog brought to the birds.

He told the audience that he could have immediately taken the women’s names, fined them and told them to leave – all of which would have been within the regulations. However, he wanted to ensure that their experience was more than one of simply ‘enforcement’. He was conscious of maintaining a relationship that would encourage them to use and visit the park again (in a more appropriate way).

He chose to make this an education opportunity as well. Remaining ‘above the line’ and curious, when he spoke to the women he focused on what they knew about park rules and described the danger of having dogs near penguins. He also shared what he was required to do given they had broken the rules.

After speaking with them and better understanding the entire situation, he identified that he would put their names on the register for being in the area with a dog. However, he made a choice not to fine them as they were apologetic and consciously aware that they had made a mistake.

Whilst Pete and I are not suggesting that this is the only outcome or approach to a situation, we know that he made a conscious choice to take the path of both educating and enforcing in a constructive, above-the-line way.

The gift of being in that presentation with Pete is that his story was shared with 150 other rangers. We trust that the ripple effect of the choices he made had impact not only on the two young women in the story but with the whole audience in that room who heard him talk about ‘above and below the line’ and ‘emotional health’.

I was able to share some simple practices with that audience so they could take back what they had heard and apply it in their own situations. Who knows what might be different in their workplaces as a result? If even a small number are able to apply a more emotionally healthy approach to their interactions with park users, that will represent another positive impact of our work.

I look forward to hearing their stories at the next World Congress.