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Seb Anthony

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Leadership exercises


Hi Everyone,

Has anyone got any new, fresh, and most importantly FUN exercises/warm-ups/energisers for a 3 day Leadership programme I am currently writing they would be happy to share with me please?

The more fun, interactive and thought provoking the better!!

Your help, as always, is greatly appreciated.


Buffy Sparks

5 Responses

  1. Give Attendees A Leadership Test
    I suggest that you use my leadership test to get everyone’s juices flowing.

    This is a simple test of 10 questions. Rank yourself (or a manager) on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best or almost always, 1 being the worst or almost never. Add up the points for each question.

    If you score close to 100, I would expect that your employees will be over 3 times more productive than if your score was 30 or less. In addition, employees will unleash their full potential creativity and innovation, love to come to work and have very high morale. 🙂


    -provide regular and frequent opportunities for employees to voice complaints, suggestions and questions, provide reasonable and timely responses, and give employees what they say they need to do a better job? (At least weekly?)

    -elicit answers/responses from the team and get them to use their brainpower to solve problems?

    -listen to employees with 100% attention without distraction, without trying to figure out a response and with the use of follow-up questions to obtain missing details and suggested fixes?

    -refrain from giving orders since by their nature they demeaning and disrespectful and destroy innovation and commitment?

    -treat members better in terms of humility, respect, timely and high quality responses, forthrightness, trust, admission of error, etc than they are expected to treat customers and each other?

    -publicly recognize employees for their contributions and high performance and never take credit him/herself?

    -openly provide all company info to employees to the extent they need/desire?

    -use values and high standards of them in order to explain why certain actions are better than others?

    -use smiles and good humor with subordinates, not frowns or a blank face?

    -generate in employees a sense of ownership?

    Best regards, Ben Simonton
    Author “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”

  2. Leader exercises
    Hi Buffy

    Don’t know how many people you have on the programme, but assuming you have a morning and afternoon break, plus lunch, you have opportunities over 3 days for 9 people to each be the leader for some fun exercises. You could set them anything from building a lego tower, making a cup of tea, planning the evening’s activities (if they are residential). The feedback could be focused on whatever aspect of leadership you have just discussed. Helps embed the learning and gives a bit of light relief as well


  3. Secrets & Lies
    Hi Buffy,

    You probably already know this one but I use it a lot on leadership courses as it covers one of the critical components of leadership in a fun way i.e. knowing the people behind the employee.

    Teams of 2 interview each other and find out 3 unusual things about each other (e.g. they do underwater basket weaving on a Sunday night) which they will then tell the rest of the group when they introduce their colleague.

    However one of the “things” must be a lie. This means that the interviewee has to be creative in their discussions and the interviewer has to question and find out more to suss out which one the lie is.
    The interviewer does not tell the interviewee which one they think the lie is until they present back to the group.
    (Its a bit like call my bluff).

    It is great for leadership courses as it stresses the importance of finding out about the “real” person in the team rather than the “employee”, this inevitably helps build trust.

    I have a few anecdotes and examples if you want to chat offline.

    Best regards

    [email protected]

  4. Lead the way …
    Hi Buffy,

    One that we often use in Leadership Programmes is about leading the way.

    Get the group to stand up and have them to close their eyes. Ask them to point ‘North’ (make sure they keep their eyes closed!). Ask them to remain in position but allow them to open their eyes, you will find that everybody is pointing in different directions (unless knowing where North is, is essential to their jobs but then you give them a different instruction).

    The purpose of the exercise is of course the importance of having a leader who points everybody in the same direction to achieve team/business success.

    You can debrief this with the group in many differnt ways but I prefer to throw it back at them and get them talking about what they believe the point of this icebreaker is. Most people get a nice insight out of a silly little exercise and if you ask me that is the purpose of using icebreakers and games in training.


  5. Leadership activity
    Hi Buffy
    A great fun ice breaker is to split participants into small groups, armed with different coloured flip chart markers and a piece of flip paper. Their task is to describe their nightmare manager visually – the boss they’d hate to work for. Participants tend to come up with an amalgam of traits in the form of talking heads (of the Hitler variety) with speech bubbles; or perhaps office scenes e.g. the participant who showed the fuming boss in an office with a great big padlock on his door (closed door person). The exercise plays partly towards their imagination, and partly past experience of being managed by someone like this.

    Participants them talk through their caricatures, with the trainer drawing out some of the themes. We then discuss the reasons why managers can have nighmare tendencies (e.g. power trips; under stress; don’t want to admit that they are not coping / have a training need; a management culture that pervades from above). The point is to help them explore the reasons and recognise in themselves of they are becoming ‘nightmarish’.
    Hope that helps.
    Happy Days!
    Bryan Edwards


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