Leadership games are a great way to increase teamwork and communication within your entire team while also strengthening leadership skills in some people. They can also provide an excellent way to evaluate the potential leaders in a group in a no-pressure environment. While there are many more complex ways to strengthen and test potential leaders, it's often beneficial to start out with some simple tasks first.
Blueprint Leadership Games
Set up blocks on a table along with a set of blueprints in an envelope. Have the group select a leader. This leader is the only one allowed to look at the blueprints for what they are to build. The leader may not say what the group is attempting to build and cannot touch the blocks but must guide the team to building the structure on the blueprints. You may want to set up multiple tables with multiple groups and have each group move to a new table when they complete their task if you have a large group of people with whom to work.
An alternative method involves setting out a simple jigsaw puzzle and blindfolding everyone but the leader, who must guide the team to complete the puzzle without touching any of the pieces herself.
Have the team tell a story, with each person contributing one sentence at a time. This is obviously a good team-building activity, but it also works for leadership exercises because it forces people to think creatively and plan ahead while also improvising as the situation changes, which are all essential skills for leaders. You may also notice that the true leaders of the group work to add a sentence that helps the team members who will follow them rather than making the story go in a difficult-to-follow direction.
Pass the Hoop
Everyone in the group stands in a circle and holds hands, with one member of the group holding a hula hoop on his shoulder. The team must then pass the hula hoop around one another without breaking arms until it travels through every person in the circle and ends up back on the original person's arm. This is an excellent team skill-development game, as it forces people to use their bodies and minds to communicate with one another physically and verbally. It is common to see one leader rise up in this game and help guide the others to pass the hula hoop more efficiently.
Maneuver the Minefield
First, break everyone in the group into pairs. Then, similar to the alternative version of the blueprint leadership game, one person in each pair needs to be blindfolded. Next, a minefield is built around them with items like cones, balls or papers. The leader of each pair must then guide the blindfolded partner through the obstacle course using only a handful of preselected words, such as "forward," "back," "left" or "right." If the blindfolded person touches an obstacle, that team loses. The team that makes it through their course fastest wins.
Differing Leadership Styles
This game is best used when you want to train potential employees on how to be good leaders or improve a group of managers by showing them how to be better leaders. Break everyone into groups of four people. Three people will role play as bosses of the fourth person. Each of the leaders will be given one of three leadership types: bossy, pushy or lenient. The group is then given a scenario where they need to talk to their employee about a problem, such as being frequently late to work, cutting corners, having a bad attitude with customers or causing problems with coworkers. Once each leader confronts the employee with her assigned approach, the group should get together to discuss how the boss could have handled the situation more effectively.
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