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25 Legendary Leadership Activities

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Find the legendary leader inside you! What is "legendary leadership"®? It can be defined simply as leadership that is remembered.

These 25 activities are designed to ensure you are remembered as a good _ or even great _ leader. The number of people in the group you lead or the size of your organization doesn't matter. The book is organized around the qualities and abilities that enable a leader to effectively lead a few people "a large organization" or even a nation. Whether you are a new or experienced leader, you will find development activities that cover a wide variety of skills that can help you reach your greatest potential. Do you need to work on dealing with demands on your time? Pacing yourself? Feeling comfortable in all your many different roles? Making difficult decisions? Understanding and capitalizing on your leadership style? You'll find just the right activity here.

Sample activities include: How Do You Spend Your Leadership Time; The "Plugged-In"Leader; Managing Sideways; Leading Outside the Box; Leadership Survival Skills; Collaborative Management. The activities couldn't be easier to use. You'll get the purpose of the activity, description of the activity, time allotted, resources required, presentation instructions and a debrief. The 25 handouts including assessments, questionnaires and charts-make this book even more useful. 25 Legendary Leadership Activities -challenging, fun and a must resource in your legendary leadership journey.

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Activity 1 How do you spend your leadership time?

PDF

Activity 1

How do you spend your leadership time?

Purpose

To provide participants the opportunity to complete an assessment that helps them measure how they spend their leadership time

Description

There are many different activities that leaders must engage in on a daily basis in order to perform their jobs. Certain jobs and situations often dictate which of these activities is most important in relation to the others. One of the most important skills for a leader to master is the ability to do the right things, at the right time, in the right circumstances. Probably most leaders have never thought about developing a self-assessment of their activities to understand how they spend most of their time. By completing the following Leadership Activity Assessment, participants can get a better idea of what they are presently spending their time on and if this is the best use of their time.

Time

45 minutes

Resources

Handout 1.1

Presentation

1. Ask participants if they feel they make the best or most efficient use of their workday doing leadership activities.

 

Activity 2 The “Plugged-In” Leader

PDF

Activity 2

The “Plugged-In” Leader

Purpose

To illustrate the many different ways a leader can access information today

Description

The focus of the activity is to help participants learn to deal more effectively with sources of information that oftentimes compete for their attention as leaders.

Time

45 minutes

Resources

Handouts 2.1 and 2.2

Presentation

1. Explain that the new communications technology available today is both a blessing and a curse. Present the following points concerning the various ways in which leaders receive information today:

Y

Communications tools become obsolete quickly—technology that amazes us today, bores us tomorrow.

Y

Staying connected is not only becoming more complex, but more essential every day.

Y

Communications challenges are on a whole new frontier.

Y

You now have multiple sources or portals coming at you at the same time, often creating competing communications sources.

Y

Fighting this communications technology is a losing battle no matter how powerful you may be in your organization.

 

Activity 3 Managing out the Wazzoo

PDF

Activity 3

Managing out the Wazzoo

Purpose

To provide a more humorous perspective of what it is like to manage in today’s increasingly demanding work world

Description

The term wazzoo is introduced as a management concept of sorts. The catch phrase managing out the wazzoo is presented in a short description of the increasing pressures that managers and leaders face today. It is ultimately left up to the reader to interpret what managing out the wazzoo truly means, but the concept itself is one that practically anyone working in a leadership role today can easily relate to their own situation.

Time

20 minutes

Resources

Handout 3.1

Presentation

1. Distribute or display Handout 3.1.

2. Lead a discussion concerning the following concepts presented in the handout:

Y

A wazzoo represents those ambiguous situations in which leaders often have to make difficult decisions based on incomplete data.

Y

Learning to manage out your wazzoo may not be something that can be taught to you, but rather something you need to learn to do for yourself.

 

Activity 4 LeaderFear

PDF

Activity 4

LeaderFear

Purpose

To introduce the concept of LeaderFear to participants and why it is important to understand

Description

The concept of LeaderFear is defined and explored in this activity. LeaderFear can be defined as the fear that leaders intentionally or unintentionally create as a means to reach organizational and personal goals. The activity describes the pitfalls of LeaderFear and why it is not an effective long-term management philosophy.

Time

45 minutes

Resources

Handouts 4.1 and 4.2

Presentation

1. Explain that LeaderFear can be defined as the fear that leaders intentionally or unintentionally create as a means to reach organizational and personal goals.

2. Distribute a copy of Handout 4.1 to each participant, or present the information on Handout 4.1 as a lecture.

3. Briefly review the major points of the handout:

Y

The unfortunate fact is that LeaderFear can get the job done.

Y

Although it can be effective, fear is not an efficient motivator, at least not in the long run.

Y

Fear gets people’s attention and causes a definite reaction.

 

Activity 5 Legendary Leadership Questionnaire

PDF

Activity 5

Legendary Leadership Questionnaire

Purpose

To help participants understand that the concept of legendary leadership isn’t confined to those who lead great numbers of people, but is a status that can be legitimately aspired to by any leader regardless of the size of the organization that he or she leads

Description

Participants are asked to complete a short questionnaire designed to explore the individual’s personal perceptions about legendary leadership.

Time

30 minutes

Resources

Handout 5.1

Presentation

1. Introduce the activity as one in which participants’ perceptions and beliefs about legendary leadership are going to be explored.

2. Explain that the concept of legendary leadership doesn’t necessarily need to be confined to those who lead large numbers of people. Legendary leadership could potentially exist in any situation.

3. Distribute a copy of Handout 5.1 to each participant and allow enough time for everyone to complete it.

Debrief

Ask participants to share their responses to the questions. Keep in mind that there really are no right or wrong answers. Help participants realize that legendary leadership can potentially exist in any leadership situation or environment.

 

Activity 6 Legendary Leadership Hall of Fame

PDF

Activity 6

Legendary Leadership Hall of Fame

Purpose

To help participants identify who they would consider to be legendary leaders

Description

Participants are asked to identify up to 10 leaders they have known or know of whom they would consider to be worthy of induction into their “Legendary Leadership Hall of Fame.”

Time

30 minutes

Resources

Handouts 6.1 and 6.2

Presentation

1. Begin the activity by commenting on the following:

Y

Each of us has our own standards and criteria for legendary leadership.

Y

Even the term legendary can mean many different things to different people.

Y

For many of us, legends can be big or small, can come in many different forms, and can be known in many different ways.

Y

Legendary can even be on any scale.

Y

One can be a legend in his or her own field or even in his or her own organization. In this sense, any leader can become legendary.

2. Ask participants to think about some of the leaders they have known or worked with in the past.

3. Distribute a copy of Handout 6.1 to each participant and ask them to list as many leaders as they have known or know of who would deserve to be inducted into their “Legendary Leadership Hall of Fame.”

 

Activity 7 Getting into a Management Rhythm

PDF

Activity 7

Getting into a Management Rhythm

Purpose

To create the analogy of managing and getting into a natural rhythm to make work go more smoothly

Description

Managing is compared to getting into a “groove” or rhythm much the same as you might if you were dancing.

Time

45 minutes

Resources

Handouts 7.1 and 7.2

Presentation

1. Distribute or display Handout 7.1.

2. Either read the handout out loud to the group or ask participants to read it silently.

3. Discuss the concept presented in Handout 7.1, Getting into a Management

Rhythm.

4. Ask participants how important they believe it is to get into a management rhythm and why.

5. Distribute a copy of Handout 7.2 to each participant.

6. Review each of the eight steps presented in the handout.

7. Explain that each of these steps is designed to help you get into a management rhythm and to avoid interrupting your daily work patterns.

Debrief

Conclude the activity by discussing the importance of feeling comfortable in our jobs and getting into certain rhythms and patterns at work. Ask participants to share examples of management patterns or rhythms that are part of their daily work lives.

 

Activity 8 Leadership Building Blocks

PDF

Activity 8

Leadership Building Blocks

Purpose

To illustrate the importance of the sum total of all a leader’s life experiences to his or her leadership style and capabilities

Description

A model is presented that outlines the various influencers that ultimately determine a leader’s style and effectiveness.

Time

45 minutes

Resources

Handouts 8.1 and 8.2

Presentation

1. Begin the activity by explaining the following to participants:

Y

There are many variables and factors that ultimately determine the success of a leader. Many of these variables are determined or, at a minimum, are greatly influenced by what has previously occurred in the leader’s life that shaped and influenced who he or she is today.

Y

This activity explores these influences or leadership building blocks.

2. Distribute or display Handout 8.1.

3. Review each of these blocks, beginning with the bottom of the pyramid and moving to the top:

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Early Experiences

Character Builders

First Attempts

Finding a Formula for Success

Capitalizing on Success

 

Activity 9 Leadership Vantage Points

PDF

Activity 9

Leadership Vantage Points

Purpose

To demonstrate just how differently a leadership decision or action might be perceived by those directly and less directly impacted

Description

A vantage point model is presented illustrating how different people might be impacted differently by the same leadership decision or action.

Time

30 minutes

Resources

Handout 9.1

Presentation

1. Begin the activity by explaining that the results of leadership are often a matter of perspective or vantage point:

Y

The perspective of leadership is dependent on how people are affected by it. A decision by a leader must be considered from the various perspectives that others may have of it.

Y

Just as every action has a reaction, every decision affects people in different ways.

Y

As much as a leader’s decision may please one person or group, there may be another who is equally displeased as a result of the decision. It’s really a matter of what end of the decision you find yourself.

Y

To make better decisions, you must be able to appreciate and begin to understand what these different perspectives might be.

 

Activity 10 The Leadership Compass

PDF

Activity 10

The Leadership Compass

Purpose

To introduce the Leadership Compass, a model showing different leadership styles, and to provide information to help participants identify their own leadership style

Description

The Leadership Compass is a model with four quadrants, each showing a different leadership direction or orientation much like the four directions on a typical compass. These orientations are explained during this activity, and participants are asked to complete a questionnaire designed to help identify their own particular leadership style or orientation.

Time

90 minutes

Resources

Handouts 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, and 10.4

Presentation

1. Introduce the activity by explaining that the Leadership Compass is a model with four quadrants, each showing a different leadership direction or orientation much like the four directions on a typical compass. Tell participants that each of these directions will be explained during this activity and that they will be asked to complete a questionnaire designed to help identify their own particular leadership style or orientation.

 

Activity 11 Profiling Legendary Leaders

PDF

 

Activity 12 Managing Sideways

PDF

Activity 12

Managing Sideways

Purpose

To illustrate that the traditional way of managing an organization based on hierarchical reporting relationships may not always be the most effective way to lead

Description

An illustration of how to manage sideways in an organization is presented and discussed.

Time

45 minutes

Resources

Handouts 12.1, 12.2, and 12.3

Presentation

1. Begin the activity by explaining the following to participants:

Y

Managing sideways may sound more like something that might cause you to be off balance than an effective management technique.

Y

But managing sideways can help you discover ways to achieve your business objectives and help your organization reach its greatest potential.

Y

Managing sideways can help you improve communications, teamwork, resource utilization, and synergy in your organization.

2. Distribute or display Handout 12.1 and explain the illustration shown as follows:

Y

Most leaders view their responsibilities vertically, tending to think in terms of whom they report to and who reports to them. This is what a typical manager thinks of as his or her area(s) of responsibility and accountability. There is nothing incorrect in this view of a manager’s role in an organization. After all, there must be boundaries for everyone’s span of control. Even the leader of an entire business can pay attention to only a finite amount of factors that influence the organization’s success.

 

Activity 13 Leadership Roles

PDF

Activity 13

Leadership Roles

Purpose

To illustrate the many different potential roles that a leader must play today to effectively perform his or her job

Description

A Leadership Role Matrix is presented, listing 80 different types of roles that a leader could potentially be called upon to perform as part of his or her job. Participants are asked to select those roles that could be part of their current as well as future job assignments, personal skill level, and any gaps that might exist between these skills and required roles. Participants will be asked a number of questions to develop an action plan to address current and development leadership role needs and any existing or potential gaps.

Time

90 minutes

Resources

Handouts 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4, and 13.5

Presentation

1. Begin the activity by explaining the following to participants:

Y

Leadership involves playing many different roles.

Y

Each role requires specific behaviors, competencies, insights, and knowledge.

Y

These roles are the building blocks of leadership.

 

Activity 14 Leadership Decision Dynamics

PDF

Activity 14

Leadership Decision Dynamics

Purpose

To highlight the importance of decision making for leaders

Description

A brief description of the importance of making good decisions is presented in this activity intended to stimulate group discussion on this topic.

Time

30 minutes

Resources

Handout 14.1

Presentation

1. Begin the activity by explaining the following to participants:

Y

A leader’s ability to lead effectively will ultimately come down to decision making.

Y

One very bad decision can get a leader quickly booted out of power.

Another decision can immortalize a leader to legendary status.

Y

What often distinguishes legendary leaders from the others are the decisions that they make.

Y

There are certain dynamics of decisions.

Y

These dynamics involve the time and circumstance that decisions are made. It is easy to criticize a decision that was made in retrospect, but to be fair, you must understand the time and circumstance in which it was made.

Y

Decisions have a specific timeline for their effectiveness and practicality.

 

Activity 15 Making Difficult Leadership Decisions

PDF

Activity 15

Making Difficult Leadership Decisions

Purpose

To help participants gain a better awareness of how others are impacted by leadership decisions

Description

A Decision Impact Model is presented that helps participants better understand just how others may be impacted by their decisions.

Time

30 minutes

Resources

Handout 15.1

Presentation

1. Begin the activity by explaining the following to participants:

Y

A leader’s decisions don’t just impact the organization’s financial bottom line.

Y

People are affected differently by the decisions of leaders. It is important to have an understanding and sensitivity to how decisions impact others both positively and negatively.

Y

Leaders find themselves in situations when a decision they must make will have opposing results on people.

Y

These can be the most difficult of all decisions to make.

Y

It may not just be the magnitude of the impact on the different individuals affected, but also results may be mutually exclusive.

Y

Mutually exclusive decisions result in one person being positively impacted and another being negatively impacted.

 

Activity 16 Leadership Breadth

PDF

 

Activity 17 Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions

PDF

Activity 17

Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions

Purpose

To help participants better understand how bad decisions might be made and how to avoid making these mistakes

Description

This activity provides a list of 10 reasons why good leaders might make bad decisions.

Time

40 minutes

Resources

Handout 17.1

Presentation

1. Before conducting the activity, become familiar with Handout 17.1, 10 Reasons Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions.

2. Begin the activity by explaining the following to participants:

Y

Leaders are ultimately judged by the decisions they make, both good and bad.

Y

Most leaders spend their entire careers trying to avoid making bad decisions, but sometimes fail to avoid these pitfalls.

3. Distribute or display Handout 17.1 and review with participants the 10 reasons that good leaders sometimes make bad decisions and how they can avoid making these decision-making mistakes.

Debrief

Ask participants which of these 10 reasons they believe are most responsible for good managers making bad decisions. Ask if anyone can think of other reasons that bad decisions are made not included on this list.

 

Activity 18 20 Questions You Should Ask YourselfWhen Making a Difficult Decision

PDF

Activity 18

20 Questions You Should Ask Yourself

When Making a Difficult Decision

Purpose

To help participants make better decisions

Description

An activity including 20 questions that should be considered before making difficult decisions is presented and reviewed.

Time

40 minutes

Resources

Handout 18.1

Presentation

1. Begin the activity by explaining the following to participants:

Y

Decisions are what ultimately define a leader.

Y

Leaders are often remembered for the decisions that they make, both good and bad.

Y

Learning to make good decisions is a skill that every leader must develop if he or she ever expects to be successful in this role.

2. Distribute or display Handout 18.1.

3. Review each of the 20 questions with participants and discuss how each question could be important to the final outcome of a leader’s decision.

Debrief

Comment that most of these 20 questions focus on communications concerning a decision. In other words, they focus on either getting advice or approval before making an important decision or understanding how others may be affected by a decision.

 

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