To become a leader and follow a certain leadership style, you need to spend some time perfecting the craft. After all, no one is born a leader - it can and should be learned. But who has time for learning with so much work to do?
Instead of going through leadership lessons and programs, you can do fun leadership activities to brush up on your active listening skills, critical thinking, communication skills, public speaking and much more.
Here is everything you wanted to know on leadership games and activities, plus fun examples that match any leadership style.
What are leadership activities?
Leadership activities provide managers with the conditions they need to practice and improve leadership qualities. Throughout engagement with leadership activities and training games, employees and managers learn how to improve responses to situations requiring care and attention.
Training a leader is not easy but with leadership games, a controlled situation can be used to carefully educate and empower employees. These leadership exercises are great for personal development and can benefit leaders from companies of all shapes and sizes.
Benefits of leadership activities:
Better employee retention
Empowerment of future leaders
Improved essential leadership skills
Improved ability to handle high-pressure situations
Improved communication skills in leadership roles
Increased understanding of diversity
Increased emotional intelligence
More successful leaders and employees
Here is a list of activities that you and your team can benefit from. The leadership skills can reflect on your daily life too.
Leadership activities and training games
Survival training game
Divide your employees into two groups and present them with a situation requiring survival skills. Examples include plane crashes and shipwrecks. Next, identify a list of objects that could potentially be useful in the survival situation.
Have each group pick only five items from the list to help them survive the situation. Once each team has decided on each of their items, have them justify their choices by explaining how each chosen item would be used to survive.
Benefits of survival training games:
- Promotes critical thinking
- Encourages creativity
- Promotes strategic thinking
- Strengthens problem-solving skills and creates more effective leaders
Hypothetical Training Game
In this fun activity, invite each of your employees into your office individually and present them with a hypothetical situation difficult to solve. Ask them to develop a solution for addressing the issue.
An example of a difficult situation is, “What if you made a decision outside of established protocol that negatively impacted company revenue? How would you explain your decision and how would you work to correct the mistake?”
Benefits of hypothetical training games:
- Promotes rational thinking
- Taps into analytical and strategic thinking
- Encourages accountability
- Strengthens problem-solving skills in new and potential leaders
This is one of the most useful leadership team building activities that can shine a light on different types of leadership approaches that can be used in everyday situations.
Obstacle Course Training Game
For this leadership development activity, divide your employees into teams of two. You'll need a blindfold and a set of obstacles, like office furniture. Or, turn it into an outdoor activity and take your employees to a nearby park.
Have one group member wear a blindfold. Instruct his teammate to guide the blindfolded person through the obstacle course using only the following words: forward, backward, left, and right.
Benefits of obstacle course training games:
- Promotes effective communication
- Building trust between partners
- Promotes effective listening in leadership dynamics
Select a leader training game
Divide employees into groups (no more than five people in one group). Place each group in different parts of the office so they can discuss among themselves. Have them identify leaders they admire, whether living or dead and have them collectively appoint one leader for their group.
Once each group has come up with a final decision, call all groups together and have them present the leader selected for their group. Inquire further about their decision-making process.
Provide effective feedback for each leader selected, identifying desirable leadership traits and characteristics in this quick activity.
Benefits of leader selection training games:
- Promotes teamwork
- Encourages engagement
- Reveals positive leadership traits
Break the ice training game
Provide team leader training with an icebreaker task. Have participants come up with five questions meant to break the ice. An example of an icebreaker question is, “Have you met a famous person?” You can give simple verbal instructions to get started with this fun game.
Let each person ask their questions and have those answering the questions raise their hand when the question applies to them. For example, if three people raise their hands when asked if they've met a famous person, that's a total of three points for the person who came up with that icebreaker question. In the end, the person with the most points wins.
The great part about this simple game is that people can share their personal experiences from everyday life. With a good list of questions, you can use this type of activity to get to know each other better in the team.
Benefits of breaking the ice training games:
- Relieves tension
- Develops interpersonal communication and constructive feedback
- Encourages discussion
- Creates connection through situational leadership
Leadership qualities training game
Create activities for leaders by first identifying 20 positive leadership qualities. Write them down using “I am” statements. For example, “I am comfortable with making important decisions in high-pressure situations.”
Have your employees line up facing you – they should be standing next to one another. Read each of the statements out loud and ask those who feel those statements apply to them to take one step forward.
Ensure your employees know they should justify their position when asked to. As the game progresses, ask the remaining employees to rationalize their next steps forward.
Read through each statement until a winner is identified.
Benefits of leadership quality training games:
- Identifies employees with leadership traits by familiarizing them with leadership concepts
- Promotes connection and understanding among employees
- Helps construct leadership scenarios and establish strong leadership skills
Tower building training game
For this leadership training activity, you'll need a few supplies. Feel free to get creative and substitute any of the items if necessary. Here are the detailed instructions for the items you'll need for this excellent activity:
- Uncooked pasta
Divide your employees into two teams and have them build the tallest tower they possibly can using the items you've provided. Set a time limit of 20 minutes and let them get started.
The tower should be able to stand alone and hold the weight of a small marshmallow, which will be placed on top at the end of the exercise. The team that is able to build the tallest stand-alone tower that supports the marshmallow wins.
Benefits of tower building training games:
- Encourages group communication and collaboration
- Strengthens problem-solving skills for every style of leadership
- Promotes creative thinking and innovation
- Improves team spirit and effective team dynamics
Incorporate creativity and imagination when engaging with leadership training games. Decide which leadership traits are of most value in your business setting and create activities that promote the use of those traits. Giving workers the opportunity to engage with one another through low-pressure games and activities helps to bring cohesion to the group.
Activities should be conducted once per month, if possible. Write these into your shared calendar so your employees can look forward to leadership training on a regular basis. As you continue, leaders will begin emerging from your workforce, providing you with the information you need to shift duties and offer promotions to employees displaying the leadership qualities your business needs.
For remote teams, you can choose a virtual activity that will work just as well as those you run in person. Some virtual team building activities include:
- virtual scavenger hunt - online office Olympics - werewolf - photo channel - typing speed race
And many others.
These leadership exercises are an excellent way to become a better leader without burdening yourself or your team. Through fun games, you can practice interpersonal skills, get to know your team better and build leadership behaviors that will last your entire career.
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