One of the greatest gifts a leader can possess is their ability to inspire others. Words inspire people as much as actions do which is why inspiring team building activities for leaders are an important tool for leaders to use to improve staff morale, productivity and overall performance in their organisation.
There is no shortage of books and workshops about how you can become an effective leader. Yet, it is difficult to agree on what exactly makes someone a successful leader. That said, there is no doubt that practice makes perfect.
In this article, I will highlight some of the key skills an effective leader can practice together with a bunch of really fun and inspiring team building activities for leaders you can try with your group to hone your leadership strengths.
Key Leadership Strengths for Teams
Leaders have a unique and crucial role to play in the success of their teams. In the context of building an effective team experientially, here are four of the most important leadership skills you can focus on to help you lead your team to success.
Listening is more than just hearing someone’s words or one half of the communication equation. A good leader practices the art of ‘active’ listening which builds empathy and understanding for the intent and the message the sender (of the message) wants to share. For example, when leading a meeting, work hard to understand the thinking of others who perhaps disagree with you to open opportunities for glimmers of consensus.
Teams often look to their leader to help them make decisions. Naturally, different situations will dictate different leadership styles. Does your team need a quick decisive outcome or will they benefit from you leading a more democratic process? Learn how to ‘read the room’ and exercise the most appropriate leadership style to suit the moment and your group’s needs. To help you develop this skill, many of the activities below can be undertaken with or without a time limit to highlight quick decisions or thoughtful processes.
A good leader is not necessarily the one with the biggest voice or the most charismatic personality or the one with the best ideas. Effective leaders bring out the best in all members of their team, to work towards a common goal. To this end, collaboration is essential and your team needs your help to facilitate this process. You can never present too many group initiatives that invite collaboration because the more your team works together the more they can strengthen this muscle.
Effective leaders often inspire others to step outside what they thought was possible, to be creative and to create. Building a playful learning environment is a powerful tool to help people unlock their creativity. All of the exercises I describe below leverage this element of play. Once again, you can never have too much fun in the context of team development because fun is disarming, attractive and always inspiring. Try one of our favourite team activities below to start the creative juices flowing.
Useful Team Building Activities for Leaders
You don’t have to be an expert to be a leader of team building activities. Just give it a go, most teams will thank you for leading them, especially if they are having fun.
The activities I describe below are 100% fun, simple to present and will quickly invite your group to play, interact, share and build trust. All your group needs is your leadership to help them unlock what is hidden from their view and discover what is possible.
The video tutorial for this exercise has gone viral because people can relate to what they see on the screen, and this can be the first step towards change you want to make in your organisation (not to mention, leadership.) How you ever worked with a leader who said one thing and did another? Expect this exercise to inspire many conversation starters.
In the space of twenty minutes, small teams of 3 or 4 people will attempt to use limited resources to build the tallest tower they can with a marshmallow on top. Many factors will determine their success but team leadership will often prove pivotal. This fascinating group initiative provides ample opportunities for strong and effective leadership, including planning, ideation and execution phases of the task. Upon reflection, some teams often describe a lack of leadership as one of the reasons their efforts failed to live up to expectations. Oh, and by the way, this exercise is one of our favourite among sales team building activities.
It’s not unusual to see leadership and pressure in the same sentence. Without a doubt, this team-building activity puts these two factors under the microscope. Expect many opportunities for you to lead conversations with your team about planning, systems, roles and problem-solving. Look for those who may find it difficult to contribute or feel that their role is less valuable than others.
The simple get-to-know-you-better activity requires no props and is easy to lead, even in small spaces. Lead by example by kicking off the conversation, and encourage others to keep the story moving and the energy high. You could even narrow the focus of this exercise by inviting people to share a story or experience related to leadership to explore valuable insights.
Here’s a simple way to help your team to make a group decision, especially if you have limited time and want to adopt a more democratic process. All you need is pen and paper. Start with the possible alternatives and then invite each member of your team to share what is most important to them.
To search many more inspiring team building activities for leaders, browse our innovative online activity database here.
More Leadership Support
Leading team building games with your group is just one way to develop your leadership skills and improve the performance of your team. Here are three more you might like to explore:
A mastermind group is a regular gathering of peers who help one another solve their problems with input and advice from other group members. The idea was first coined by author Napoleon Hill in his book The Law of Success and described again in his later book Think and Grow Rich. Consider establishing a mastermind group of your own by reaching out to peers and colleagues who exhibit a diverse range of skills, expertise and experiences. Meet regularly and give as much as you receive.
If one-on-one advice is more your thing, then I strongly recommend seeking a professional coach who can guide and support you to realise your full leadership potential. Personally, I attribute at least two pivotal times in my career to the advice I sought from a professional coach. Yes, it is true that a coach will cost you a few dollars, but the ROI (or return on investment) in my direct experience was worth 5 to 10 times more than what I paid.
Another really simple, and often powerful way to develop and nurture your leadership skills is to ask for feedback from your peers, your staff and your colleagues. Yes, sometimes you may need to ask a question you do not want to hear the answer to, but this is where the most valuable insights are hidden. Be sure to set the ground rules first, lest these opportunities for feedback may become a gripe-fest. Seek our constructive feedback, ideas that will truly move you forward. And as with all feedback, you always get to choose whether the advice is fit for purpose, or not.
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