This whole month we’ve been focusing on the theme of leadership, and how leadership training should be something that all team members can take part in. Last week we gave you a list of 10 activities that were great for building cultures of leadership on teams.
But because we had so many good leadership training activities to choose from, we decided to add 6 more. Again, these activities touch on different aspects of leadership like creativity, goal-setting, and communication.
These leadership training activities also work as team building activities that strengthen relationships between team members, as well. Leadership is based on relationships, influence, and the connectivity of teams. And a well-balanced leadership skill set includes empathy and emotional intelligence, which drives leaders’ ability to empower and motivate their team.
So, here are 6 more leadership training activities that will boost your team’s spirit of leadership!
1. Post-It Note Values
Some of the best leadership training activities are ones that deal with figuring out team values and goals. The Post-It Note Values combines individual value-setting with team-wide value-setting and teaches team members how to shape their goals and values in tandem with the team.
In this activity, have each team member write down three values or goals that they have for their work on sticky notes (one per sticky note). Break team members up into groups of 3-4 and have them discuss the goals that they wrote down. After that, have each group combine these goals and values into three group-wide sticky notes.
Once each group has finished choosing their three goals/values, have the whole team come together. Each group should present their goals/values, and place them on a whiteboard. Go a step further and have the whole team combine these goals/values, until you have a set of goals and values that represent the whole team.
2. Back-to-Back Drawing
Back-to-Back Drawing is a leadership training activity that focuses on communication, which is an important skill for leaders to have. Specifically, it teaches effective communication skills: speaking clearly to others in order to accomplish specific tasks. In this activity, team members have to be conscious of how they are communicating, and are able to actually assess how well their messages are being understood.
To do this activity, split your team into pairs. Have each team member draw a picture (the more complicated the better). Then have each pair sit back-to-back. One member of the pair describes their drawing to the other, who has to draw a picture based on their description. At the end, the team members compare their drawings and then switch roles.
This game can also easily be played online too. In which case, there’s no need to sit back to back, since it’s easier to hide your drawing from the other team member.
3. Pass the Hula Hoop
Leaders training activities don’t always have to be serious in order to be effective. Pass the Hula Hoop is a very easy and simple activity, but one that teaches team members to take the lead and communicate with each other. All that’s needed is one plastic hula hoop.
Have team members stand in a big circle together, holding hands (if you have a very large team and are short on time, you can break the team into smaller circles). Place the hula hoop on the arm of one of the team members. The goal is to get the hula hoop around the entire circle and back to its starting location, without breaking hands.
This activity is harder than it seems at first. But it doesn’t take long for team members to get into it and give their ideas about how to accomplish the goal. Again, it’s a great communication and leadership builder, but it’s also good at energizing team members too, so consider using it before a long meeting or brainstorming session.
4. Island Survival
In order to help team members think about leadership, many leadership training activities give them scenarios where they can imagine what they would do as leaders in various situations. Island Survival is one of those types of activities, but the object here is to work together and combine ideas, so that leadership becomes a team-wide concept.
Divide your team into groups of up to ten. Tell them their ship has crashed onto a deserted island and they can only bring 10 items with them from the boat (make up a list of 20 or more possible items for them to take).
There are other possible scenarios for this game too, like being stranded on a mountain, in the jungle, or in space. You can also give them more decisions to solve, like how to build shelter, how to make a fire, and how to hunt for food, etc.
5. Gift-Giving Game (improv)
The Gift-Giving game is a classic improv game that is also one of our favorite leadership training activities that gets team members to practice offering ideas and taking rejection. It also helps stimulate creativity, which is another important leadership skill.
Split your team into pairs. Team members take turns presenting their partner with different gifts, the more extravagant and out-of-this-world the better (e.g. the Empire State Building, the moon, a humpback whale, etc.).
The partner receiving the gift can accept the gift, in which case they need to pretend to interact with whatever it is their partner gave them. Or they can reject the gift by tossing it over their shoulders and yelling “Whoo!”
As the game goes along, team members really start getting wild with their ideas. This is a great game to get everyone laughing, and the way that team members reject gifts is an important lesson in communicating and accepting rejection.
6. Bad Idea Brainstorm
As we mentioned above, creative thinking is an important leadership skill to take into consideration when planning leadership training activities. And Bad Idea Brainstorm is perfect for getting team members to think outside the box and explore different solutions that they normally wouldn’t otherwise.
You probably already know quite well that brainstorming sessions are used to collaborate on thinking about new, great ideas for your team or business. This activity takes that process and flips it on its head. In Bad Idea Brainstorm you are trying to come up with bad ideas.
For example, let’s say you’re trying to market a new product. One bad idea could be to market the product to aliens by shooting satellites into space. See if you can take the idea to its ultimate conclusion though. See how you would actually accomplish this bad idea, even though it is clearly ridiculous, and think through what its effects would be.
To do this activity effectively though, you will need to talk about the activity to your team members beforehand and explain what the goals of the activity actually are. Team members will be very confused if you try to spring this activity at a regular meeting.
You will be surprised how much Bad Idea Brainstorm actually stimulates some good ideas. The idea itself might be crazy, but going through the steps of thinking through bad ideas can sometimes touch upon some actually good methods. It’s also a lighthearted activity that can lead to a lot of laughter and fun, and give some team members practice in leading these types of meetings.