Leadership Styles Game For Classrooms Or Training Sessions

This classroom activity is a group game which students can play to learn about leadership styles and how they are used in different situations.

Teachers and instructors who are looking for an exciting group game that they an use to teach leadership styles and how they are used in different situations might try the following activity. It is one that can be adapted to many other topics as well.

This particular version of the game should be conducted after teaching students about leadership styles such as autocratic, bureaucratic, laissez-faire, and democratic and how each one should be used in different situations.

Explain that you are going to play a game to practice determining when to use the different styles of leadership. Divide students into three teams. Give each team two minutes to think of a team name and/or logo. Ask teams to put their team name on a flip chart or chalkboard scoreboard at the front of the room.

Explain the following rules to participants:

1. The object of the game is to score as many points as possible by correctly deciding which leadership style to use in a situation. The game is played in rounds. A different player must compete in each round.

2. Each team sends one member to compete. You will describe a situation to the players. Players must decide the most effective leadership style to use in that situation and why. (sample situations with answers are listed below or you can make up your own). For example, you might read the following situation: "You are training employees to use a new drill press and need to make sure they understand the exact techniques for using and cleaning the machine." Leadership style: Bureaucratic. Why: Employees working with dangerous equipment must know exact procedures.

3. Players must use a designated signal when they know the answer. They can clap, ring a bell, raise their hands, grab an item, etc. Make sure everyone understands what the designated signal is. The first competitor to use the signal gets to answer.

4. Teams get one point for correctly choosing the leadership style and one point for correctly describing why that style is the best.

5. If the player correctly identifies the style of leadership but incorrectly identifies why it's the best choice, his or her team gets one point and the player directly to the left may earn a point by correctly describing why he answer is best.

6. If the answering player incorrectly identifies the style, the player directly to his or her left may earn points by answering correctly. If the second team can't answer correctly, ask the remaining team to answer and award points for correct responses.

7. Next, the player who correctly identified the leadership style goes back to his or her team. The team gets one minute to decide how to use that leadership style in the situation. For example, in the above situation, a team might say, "Every time you use the drill press, please do it exactly as I demonstrate. The press is extremely heavy and could seriously injure you if the exact procedures are not followed and the safety devices used as shown." If the answer is appropriate, the team earns three extra points. If the answer is not a good example, the team directly to the left can earn three extra points by correctly answering. If the second team doesn't answer correctly, ask the other team if they can answer and award point for correct responses.

8. Team members should write their points in the appropriate spot on the flip char or chalk board scoreboard.

Continue with round two by sending a new player form each team to compete. Play until all participants get a chance to compete or as time/examples allow.

Reward the team with the most points at the end of the game with a small prize.

Sample situations include:

Employee: Factory employee who is new to the job

Style: Autocratic

Reason: The employee is new and needs to learn what to do

Employee: Laundry worker who sorts laundry.

Style: Bureaucratic

Reason: Employee is performing a routine task over and over

Employee: Highly skilled account representative

Style: Democratic

Reason: Employee is very experienced and can contribute to decision making

Employees: Three long-time receptionists all ask for the same day off for legitimate reasons

Style: Democratic

Reason: Employees are used to working together and can help solve the problem

Employees: Employees are receiving CPR training

Style: Bureaucratic

Reason: Safety or security training must be done the same way each time.

Employee: A programmer refuses to follow the company's coding policies

Style: Autocratic

Reason: The employee is challenging the manager's power

Employee: District salesperson who spends most of the year on the road

Style: Laissez-faire

Reason: Employee is able to perform work without supervision

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