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Team Building & Leadership Facilitation Activities

by Dr. Kelly S. Meier

Integrating developmental activities into regularly scheduled meetings encourages team unity and improves leadership skills. You can use team building to help a group become acquainted, build trust and increase productivity. Leadership development is a natural byproduct. When group members feel connected to a purpose, they show commitment and work hard to move the organization forward. Group members who step up to the plate become leaders, and group synergy and cohesion emerges.

Introducers

Introducers break the ice and help the group get to know each other. Spice up introductions by asking everyone to say their name by starting with an adjective of the same letter; for example, Sassy Sue. Ask the group to repeat all of the names and adjectives that have been shared before they say their own. Even a seasoned group can benefit from a fun energizer. Ask everyone to leave shoes at the door. Distribute a pair to each person and ask them to describe the person who would wear the shoes. Next have the group guess the owner of the shoes.

Builders

Facilitating conversation is an effective way to build leaders. Ask your group to find a partner and describe a leader that has inspired them. Next, ask them to brainstorm the qualities of this leader. Have a large group discussion and ask each pair to share identified leadership traits. Each participant should then list the traits on a piece of paper and evaluate their skills in comparison. Finally, ask individuals to create goals that help them develop similar leadership qualities.

Developers

Self-reflection is a critical aspect of developing leaders. Give group members three pipe cleaners and ask them to create something that represents a leadership quality they possess. For example, a participant might make an exclamation mark to symbolize their enthusiasm. Have the group share their creations. Similarly, partner group members and ask them to share a leadership quality they admire about their partner. Switch partners several times to allow most of the participants to talk to one another. Have the group share aloud some of the qualities they heard during the exercise.

Reinforcers

Providing recognition for group members is an important way to maintain group cohesiveness. Give a pad of post-it notes to each group member and ask them to write something positive about each group member on individual notes. Have them pat each participant on the back with the note that is written for them. Ask group members to read their notes aloud so that everyone can hear the positive comments. Similarly, post a large piece of banner paper and have participants note the positive accomplishments of the group. Read the collage aloud to reinforce group accomplishments.

About the Author

Dr. Kelly S. Meier is a professor and college administrator for a large public institution in Minnesota. She received her undergraduate degree from Western Illinois University and her master's degree and doctorate from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has published more than 15 books on education, group development and diversity.

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