Leadership development training programs include fun activities to help participants develop their leadership skills. Leadership training typically enables managers to distinguish between management and leadership, recognize when to use a particular leadership style, such as autocratic or democratic, and motivate, inspire and coach employees to achieve strategic goals. Group activities provide an opportunity for participants to experiment with different leadership styles, attitudes and behaviors in a fun way.
To start a leadership development workshop, effective facilitators ask participants to introduce themselves by asking them to make a statement about what makes a good leader. The facilitator starts off by quoting famous leaders or asking participants to read quotes posted around the lecture room. Participants choose quotes that reflect their views or offer others to support their opinions. To make it fun, the facilitator asks participants to choose fictional leaders, such as action heroes, to emulate.
For this activity, the facilitator provides each participant with an index card listing the name of three other participants. When the facilitator says to begin, participants seek out one of the other people to interview about best practices associated with leadership, such as how to motivate employees, keep employees informed about key initiatives and maintain employee focus on obtaining objectives. After five minutes, the facilitator asks participants to move on the next name on their card. The facilitator repeats the activity a third time before reconvening the whole group for a debriefing session. Because this activity encourages people to meet other participants and get information quickly, the discussions become lively and animated.
Role-playing exercises allow people to experience using alternative leadership styles. For example, a facilitator asks for volunteers from a leadership development training workshop to act out different types of leadership, such as autocratic, laissez-faire and participative. The first volunteer plays the role of an employee who routinely misses deadlines. The other volunteers each have a chance to talk to the first volunteer to address the problem. Other participants vote on the most convincing portrayal of the leadership style. After all three scenarios, the facilitator should ask the whole group what worked well, what failed and what might improve performance.
Facilitators of leadership development programs use discussion activities to show emerging leaders how to build credibility and establish trust. For example, a facilitator asks group members to score their reactions to a series of situations, such as asking for help from a peer, expressing a difference of opinion, providing negative feedback to an employee or admitting an error. Participants rate their responses with a “1” for no risk, “2” for minimal risk and “3” for high risk. The facilitator divides the group into pairs. For 15 minutes, the pairs compare answers and discuss techniques for building a productive environment based on trust. Effective, credible leaders put others’ interests above their own to earn people’s respect with their expertise and sincerity.
- WPI: Leadership & Management Development Certificate Program
- “The Successful Leadership Development Program: How to Build It and How to Keep It Going“; Jo-Ann C. Byrne, et al.; 2006
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.