Leadership development training activities function like exams for managerial trainees. They are designed to help potential managers put into practice what they’ve learned in training and, at the same time, help them experience what it’s like to lead people in real life situations. Although most leadership activities may seem like party games, they are actually designed to simulate actual office or managerial scenarios, wherein a trainee is forced to take charge or solve a problem. In these scenarios, the leadership trainee is forced to adapt into the role of a leader, which in turn helps him or her understand the challenges that usually goes along with a particular leadership position.
The truth is that some people are born with leadership qualities. They are either charismatic, assertive, well-organized, intelligent or all of the above. For these people, leadership activities simply improve those skills that they already possess. For those who are not born with leadership qualities, however, these activities can help trainees develop the leadership skills that they otherwise lack.
Leadership activities are important educational tools because leadership is an active skill which can only be cultivated in action. To put it another way, leaders only become leaders when they lead. No amount of theorizing can change that. Leadership is best taught in actual practice, and leadership activities are designed to serve this particular need.
Furthermore, it’s also important to remember that leadership skills are influenced by many other types of skills, such as communication, teamwork, listening, risk management, planning as well as a problem solving. Leadership activities help trainees develop these ancillary skills, thus also improving their leadership skills in the long run. So in order to best understand the importance of leadership activities, it’s important to look at them not so much as glorified parlor games, but as practical teaching tools that help trainees adapt to their potential leadership positions.
How Leadership Development Training Activities Help Train Better Corporate Leaders
The best way to understand the importance of leadership development activities is to understand that it is meant to give inexperienced rookies real life experience in leadership. Leadership activities put trainees in situations where they must adapt to practical problems as they happen. They are given practical experience on how to apply what they’ve learned in their training. They are also introduced to the importance of group dynamics and team work as tools for achieving managerial goals.
By adapting to real life problems, leadership trainees are taught, on an instinctive level, what they are supposed to do once they are placed in managerial positions. In other words, the trainees are given practical experience on how common leadership qualities, such as communication, organization and planning skills, are applied in a corporate environment. This allows them to become more well adjusted to their niches after training and, at the same time, helps them to cope with challenges that results from their duties.
Furthermore, aside from improving the leadership/management skills of the trainees, leadership development activities can also be used to develop a trainee’s in other areas, such as:
- Human Resources
- Customer Service
What Are The Goals Of Leadership Training Activities?
Like all types of practical activities, leadership development training activities are designed to serve certain goals. Obviously, helping managerial trainees improve their skills is one of these goals, but there are other goals as well. These additional goals can help improve each trainee’s abilities, and allow them to better perform their jobs as managerial personnel.
First of all, these activities and games can help potential leaders understand themselves. This is one of the reasons why certain leadership activities are designed to cause emotional or mental stress. They are designed to apply pressure on the trainee, such that he or she gains a better understanding of her own skills and limits.
By understanding certain aspects of their personality, trainees can more easily improve their positive qualities while reducing their negative ones. This is why many leadership activities are designed like personality tests, because they allow leadership trainees to understand how they might fit into their organization’s managerial structure.
Another goal of leadership activities is that they build up confidence. Not everyone who undergoes leadership development training has self-confidence, which is why some activities are designed to help managerial trainees become more daring and assertive. To do this, some leaderships activities are designed to help trainees how to cope with problems as well as handle different groups of people.
Finally, leadership activities are meant to teach coordination and group dynamics. These skills are designed to help leaders work in any type of environment and, at the same time. They encourage personnel to adapt to complex situations and, at the same time, create practical solutions to problems as they happen.
Examples of Leadership Activities
There are all types leadership activities available out there, but here are several good examples which can be adapted to the needs of most organizations:
The Tallest Tower
In this activity, all the trainees will have to divide themselves into teams of four. Their goal will be to try and build the tallest tower using ordinary office materials, like paper and glue. However, two of the members will have to be blindfolded, which means that they will need their other team mates to give them directions on what to do. As for the other two team members, one of them will have their left hand tied to the right hand of the other, which means that they both each have only one hand free to cut the paper. This particular activity encourages team building, cooperation and cooperation.
The Survival Game
In this activity, all of the trainees will need to separate themselves into two groups. Each group is given a hypothetical scenario where they are stranded on a deserted island for a certain length of time. To help ensure their survival, each group is given the choice of selecting a limited number of items (usually 5 to 7) which they can bring with them to the island. It is each group’s goal to reach a consensus on which items they will need to bring in order to survive on the island.
This particular activity helps the trainees to focus on important priorities, while encouraging them to find common ground with people they disagree with. The Survival Game helps promote planning, risk taking and decision making among leadership and managerial trainees.
The Animal Game
In this activity, around 10 to 15 items be hidden around the area or room, and all the trainees will have to be grouped into teams of 5 to 6 members each. Each group then selects a particular animal with a distinctive sound, such as a cow or a cat. Once everyone has chosen their animal, each team must choose their respective leaders, who they will then blindfold.
The goal of this activity is to locate all of the hidden items in the area, and this will be the job of the members. Once one member finds an item, he or she will lead their blindfolded leader to it using their chosen animal sound. The team that finds most of the items wind. The Animal Game helps promote listening skills, communication skills as well as trust.
There are a lot of leadership activities out there, but despite their differences, they all have one thing in common and that is their goal of creating great corporate and managerial personnel. In this sense, these activities are not very different from those drills the military uses to train their officers. They are designed to take raw skill, and turn them into real leadership qualities. Raw charisma, for example, can be turned into better communication and advertizing skills. Likewise, specific forms of leadership activities are meant to turn raw intelligence into organizational and planning skills.
These are important distinctions to make, because most organizations don’t always need raw talent. What they need are skill sets which can best serve their niche and corporate hierarchy. It is for these reasons that leadership development training activities exist in most modern business structures.