Situational Leadership Activities and Games
I remember planning a situational leadership board game in 1976 as a student. Is that game still available? Who has some more information about other situational leadership games?
Creative Situational Leadership Teaching Tools
Melanie Naidoo, Manager, South Africa, Member
I am a part-time MBA student and one of my syndicate assignments is to prepare a lesson on Situational Leadership. I am investigating creative ways to deliver the lesson.
Leadership Development Activities
Here are some leadership development activities I found:
- Leadership Envelopes
Leadership exercise in groups, working with practical leadership principles.
This activity helps groups to translate abstract leadership principles into practical on-the-job behaviours. Participants work in groups to come up with real-life application of leadership principles. The groups take multiple rounds to build upon the ideas of each other, and in the end, evaluate the best ideas to identify the most useful behaviours.
- Your Favourite Manager
In this activity, participants take on three different employee personas and list the behaviours of a positive leader or manager and a negative one from the perspectives of those employees. After some individual reflection, participants compare their lists, first in pairs and then in groups. Finally, they collect the ultimate do’s and don’ts for managers and leaders.
Participants work individually, assuming the roles of three different people and brainstorming their perceptions of three most favourite managers and three least favourite managers. Later, they work with a partner (and still later, in teams) to prepare a list of dos and don't-s for improving employees' perception of a manager's style.
- Leadership Pizza
This leadership development activity offers a self-assessment framework for people to first identify the skills, attributes and attitudes they find important for effective leadership, and then assess their own development in these areas and initiate goal setting. This framework is also a great tool to set individual leadership development goals in a coaching process.
- Leadership Advice from your Role Model
Everyone is asked to think of a role model they look up to and ask themselves: If a young person would ask these role models for leadership advice and what kind of advice that would be.
Facilitate a group conversation where these pieces of advice are shared and contradicting points are discussed and reconciled. Given diverse enough responses, this structured sharing activity might be a good introduction to the concept of situational leadership.
This structured sharing activity provides a faster, cheaper, and better alternative to buying and reading a lot of books: You tap into the wisdom of the group—and of their role models.
- Explore Your Values
Explore your Values is a group exercise for thinking on what your own and your team’s most important values are. It’s done in an intuitive and rapid way to encourage participants to follow their intuitions rather than over-thinking and finding the “correct” values. It is a good exercise to use to initiate reflection and dialogue around personal values.
- Your Leadership Coat of Arms
In this leadership development activity, participants are asked to draw their own coat of arms symbolising the most important elements of their leadership philosophy. The coat of arms drawings are then debriefed and discussed together with the group.
After the exercise you may prepare a coat of arms gallery, exhibiting the leadership approach and philosophy of group members.
- Marshmallow challenge
The Marshmallow Challenge is a team-building activity in which teams compete to build the tallest free-standing structure in eighteen minutes out of spaghetti sticks, tape, string, and the marshmallow that needs to be on the top. This activity emphasizes group communication, leadership dynamics, collaboration, and innovation and problem-solving strategies.
The Marshmallow Challenge was developed by Tom Wujec, who has done the activity with hundreds of groups around the world. Visit the Marshmallow Challenge website for more information. This version has an extra debriefing question added with sample questions focusing on roles within the team.
- Crocodile River
A team-building activity in which a group is challenged to physically support one another in an endeavour to move from one end of a space to another. It requires working together creatively and strategically in order to solve a practical, physical problem. It tends to emphasize group communication, cooperation, leadership and membership, patience and problem-solving.
- Chinese Puzzle (Human Knot)
This is a simple game to help team members learn how to work together (better). It can also focus on the group’s understanding of communication, leadership, problem-solving, trust or persistence.
Have your group stand up in a close circle (10 to 16 people is best). They close their eyes put their hands into the circle and find two hands and hold on. Then they open their eyes and the group has to try to get back into a circle without letting go, though they can change their grip, of course.
- Active Listening
This activity supports participants in reflecting on a question and generating their own solutions using simple principles of active listening and peer coaching. It’s an excellent introduction to active listening but can also be used with groups that are already familiar with this activity. Participants work in groups of three and take turns being “the subject” who will explore a question, “the listener” who is supposed to be totally focused on the subject, and “the observer” who will watch the dynamic between the other two.
- Trust battery
Every time you work together with someone, your trust battery – the trust you have towards a certain person, or the ‘emotional credit’ that person has in your eyes – either charges or depletes based on things like whether you deliver on what you promise and the social interaction you exhibit. A low trust battery is the core of many personal issues at the workplace.
This self-assessment activity allows you and your team members to reflect on the ‘trust battery’ they individually have towards each person on the team, and encourages focus on actions that can charge the depleted trust batteries.
- Feedback: Start, Stop, Continue
Regular and constructive feedback is one of the most important ingredients for effective teams. Openness creates trust, and trust creates more openness. This is an activity for teams that have worked together for some time and are familiar with giving and receiving feedback. The objective of Start, Stop, Continue is to examine aspects of a situation or develop next steps by polling people on what to start, what to stop and what to continue doing.
Feedback exercises should always be conducted with thoughtfulness and high awareness of group dynamics. This is an exercise for groups or teams that have worked together for some time and are familiar with giving and receiving feedback. It uses the words “stop”, “start” and “continue” to guide the feedback messages.
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