Activities to build leadership and teamwork
Many of us are quite enthusiastic about planning leadership activities and team games but we often neglect the fact that organizing team building games requires thought and effort. It is important to choose leadership activities and games that are well-suited to your team. And it's necessary to see that the team members are comfortable participating in them.
It is best to begin with identifying your objectives as a human resource person, team manager or event organizer. Ask yourself whether you intend to build leadership qualities among your team members or aim at identifying the hidden leaders in your team. Evaluate your objectives and choose team activities accordingly. You might like to go through the following leadership activities and include some of them in your next team building endeavor.
Games to Identify Leadership and Build Teamwork
When it comes to building leadership or identifying leaders in a group, you need to consider the skills that a leader should possess. The skills include problems-solving, decision-making, delegation, trust-building and communication to name a few. Leadership has an important role to play in team performance. Teamwork includes communication, understanding and coordination among the team members along with mutual trust. Here we give you activities that help build some of the skills needed for good leadership and teamwork. We have,
  • Leaders' Questionnaire
  • Activities to Build Teamwork
  • Trust Building Games
  • Games to Build Coordination Skills
  • Communication Games
  • Sports
Leaders' Questionnaire
Leaders' questionnaire
This game provides participants with an opportunity to judge their leadership qualities and helps you identify leaders. Give each member some questions, which will help them analyze themselves. Give them survival scenarios and hypothetical situations. Once they complete their questionnaire, discuss the answers with the rest of the team. Exchanging answers will help the members analyze each other's ways of handling problems. Reward the best or the wittiest answers.
Questions like 'how important is it to motivate a team?', 'how to encourage creative thinking in a team?', 'what should the main aim of a leader be?', 'what is that one attribute a leader should not have?', 'is every manager a leader?' can be included in your questionnaire. Answers to questions like these speak a lot about leadership qualities and team skills the participants possess. It's a good idea to discuss the answers or make a concluding speech on the different views expressed through the answers. Depending on the situation, you can decide whether to maintain anonymity with the answers or not.
Scenarios are an excellent way to identify leadership. The way one reacts to a situation tells a lot about his personality. In this activity you can use different scenarios and ask the participants to say how they would react to them. Include scenarios like, 'you are a team lead and a member of your team is not ready to follow your decision, what would you do?' or 'what would you do in a situation where a team member is putting the blame of his underperformance on a co-worker?' or something like 'given that you have two team members of equal caliber, who would you select for promotion and how?' or 'given that a team member is very good at his work but the only thing going against him is his frequent absenteeism, how would you deal with this?' Here too, participants with the best answers can be rewarded and given the choice to discuss their answers with the rest of the team.
Activities to Build Teamwork
Teamwork is not just about coming together to form a team; it's really about working together towards a common goal. These activities help in bringing the team members together to accomplish certain tasks, thus fostering their team spirit.
Group problem solving
Divide the team into groups of 5 or more, depending on the team size. Give each group some tasks to be completed in a stipulated period of time. The tasks could include something like solving riddles together, answering questions, solving a crossword, or piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.
Group projects
Give each group a theme to write and enact a skit on. Or organize a poster-making competition. Give each group a separate theme/subject for the poster and the material needed. Depending on the age group of the participants, you can vary this activity. For example, you could give a science project idea or an experiment to kids. In any of these activities, the members have to work as a team to achieve one common goal.
Task list game
It's one more fun game, where you give each team a set of tasks to be completed in a certain amount of time. You can have activities wherein each team member needs to take up at least one. You are sure to see those with leadership qualities quick at organizing their teams and delegating tasks. The tasks could be like crossing hurdles, juggling, filling bottles with water, writing 1-10 or a-z in the reverse order, building a tower of cups, peeling potatoes, juicing lime, drinking soda, etc.
Trust Building Games
Trust is a vital component of leadership. To be an effective leader, it is important for a person to build trust in his followers. You can expect people to follow you only if you can build trust and a mutual understanding between you and your team members. Trust building games can serve this purpose.
Trust building activities
Blind Walk is one such game. For this game, divide the group into teams of at least 5 or 6. Ask each team to elect a leader for their team. Blindfold all the members of each team but not their leaders. Assign each leader a path to be traced. Now, ask each of the team leaders to direct their blindfolded team members along the path. Effective communication, a sense of responsibility and trust are of importance in this team activity.

Trust Fall is another trust-building activity where the participants are required to stand in a circle. You may require them to make more circles if the number of participants is more. One member breaks out of the circle and stands at its center. He then lets himself fall freely in any direction and those forming the circle catch him before he falls. The game can continue till all the members of the circle get a chance to do the free fall!

Mine Field is a popular trust building activity. For this game, divide the group into pairs. One in each pair is blindfolded and the field is strewn with objects like balls, blocks, cones, rings, etc. The person who is not blindfolded has to guide his blindfolded partner to cross the mine field without hitting any of the mines (objects) laid on the field. The guide can neither enter the field nor touch his blindfolded partner. The instructions need to be in the verbal form. The pair which manages the mine field travel in the least time and with the blindfolded partner hitting the least number of mines, is declared as the winner.
Games to Build Coordination Skills
For these activities, the group members need to use their coordination skills and take quick decisions. In this activity, you will see those with leadership qualities taking the initiative in quickly forming groups based on the given criteria.
Let us team up
Put before the participants different criteria according to which they need to form teams. For instance, ascending order of their height, descending order of their birth months, order of their lucky numbers, descending order of the first letter of their names, etc. This is an exercise of sequencing themselves. You can even give them names which are not their own and play this game. You can introduce tasks like quick formation of two circles facing each other or a quick formation of male-female pairs or forming a square or a triangle by taking correct positions. These activities surely test the group's communication and coordination skills as the members have to arrange themselves in a certain manner through quick communication.
Teaming quick
For this game, the participants are assigned numbers (1 to 100) and then given criteria to form teams. Once each participant gets a number, you can ask the odd numbers to stand together, numbers divisible by 3 to come together or multiples of 10 to form a group and so on. As a variant assign each member a letter of the alphabet and ask the group to build words.
Communication Games
Communication skills are essential for both effective leadership and good teamwork. Those in a team have to know each other's views, strengths and weaknesses so as to be able to work together. For this, they need to communicate. Communication games form a part of leadership activities because leaders need to possess communication skills to be able to lead a team effectively.
It sounds cliche, but is a good communication game that can be used with literally any group, be it kids, the young or adults. You can bring variations to what is mimed in the game. For example, you can have comic book characters or book or movie names. For a corporate group, you can introduce words related to the organization or have values like 'leadership', 'work ethics' or 'time management', explained through actions. Interesting, isn't it?
Who I am game
This is another good communication game. One participant chooses to be someone else (it could be a brand, a famous personality, etc). Then he tries to explain who he is through one of these - actions (he is not allowed to talk) or clues (limit the number of clues and restrict him on what can be revealed and what cannot be). Or you can even have the other members ask him questions about who he is, where he is allowed to answer only with a 'yes' or a 'no'.
I won't buy this game
This is a communication game that tests how convincing one can be in promoting himself/his product. Divide the team into groups of 6-8 people (a little less or more depending on the team size). Give each group a product to sell or have them come up with a novel product idea. Now each group has to identify the strengths of their product and try to sell it to other groups. Other groups decline the offer till they find something really convincing about the product being marketed.
Outdoor games
Outdoor games and sports are all-time favorites as activities that build leadership and teamwork. Sports are a must-have for occasions like team excursions or company picnics. Outdoor games like handball, volleyball, soccer, cricket and several others help keep the team spirit alive and also prove to be excellent leadership activities. The way the team members organize themselves and compete with their opponents, speaks a lot about their teamwork and leadership. It is not about who wins or loses; it is about how each team plays! To arrange sports activities, you will have to see if the venue allows and whether the sport can be played in the space and time available. The sport you choose will also depend on the number of people in the group. But no worries if it's more than what's required for the sport. You can divide the spectators into two teams and have them shout and cheer for their own teams. This is a great way to build teamwork in the group.
Remember, team games can prove to be a sheer waste of time if not planned well. And you cannot afford to compromise on employee productivity in the name of team building and leadership activities. However, if planned meticulously, team building games can serve as an effective means to make the team members feel together and keep them going! Leadership activities can serve as the best tools to identify leaders in a team and games to build teamwork, the most effective ways to spread a positive vibe.