Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discovering the many layers of teamwork and leadership. In the final part of this mini-series we’ll share the activities we ran during our leadership and teamwork “training” night. If you missed the first part, catch up here.
Decision making: Shopping
We started with a shopping game, where each Patrol (a small group of Guides) was given 25 virtual dollars and presented with an assortment of items they could purchase. Each member of the Patrols took turns rolling their dice until someone rolled a 6. That Guide was then able to take the $25 and purchase any item from the store, without any interference, suggestions or input from the other members of her Patrol. If there was money left over, the Patrol continued to take turns to roll the dice until their $25 had been spent.
Some Guides bought items just for themselves and others bought items that would benefit the whole Patrol. It’s a simple game but the reason for the activity doesn’t become clear until the end, when you ask, “how did it feel to have no control over a decision that will impact the rest of the Patrol?”
What did we learn from this activity? A unanimous vote showed that all Guides believe it’s not fun when someone makes a decision that will impact you, without consulting you first.
Behaviour when working as part of a team: Role play
We pulled the chairs together to create a stage and asked for four volunteers. Each volunteer was given a slip of paper outlining their character and some behaviours for the scenario. The characters were kept secret from the other performers and the scenario was kept secret from the audience. Each scenario included a Patrol Leader who was trying to get her Patrol to take part in an activity.
At the end of the performance, the audience were asked if they had understood the scenario that had been performed and whether or not they could identify the different personalities in the Patrol. As some of the characters were given specific instructions to ignore their Patrol Leader (eg “A Guide who hasn’t finished her last activity. She’s working on an amazing craft project and only needs a few more minutes to get it finished. She thinks it’s OK for her Patrol to do their duties without her, because she’s nearly finished… and it’s going to be THE BEST THING EVER when it’s done!”) we spoke about the tactics used by the Patrol Leader to overcome a difficult situation and then the Guides made suggestions on other ways a Patrol Leader could handle it.
Of course, we also spoke about different ways the Patrol members could act too, because teamwork isn’t just dependent on the leader. Everyone is important in the Patrol.
We repeated this with new volunteers and at the end of the second scenario the Guides spotted a pattern emerging – a Leader should get to know her Patrol. If she knows the Guides in her Patrol, she’s able to use this to her advantage when encouraging someone to take part in something they don’t want to do. This could be as simple as knowing that they love to run around and play games, so the Patrol Leader could say, “Right now we all need to work together to get our duties completed, when we’re done we’ll play a game. Remember that it’s your turn to choose which game we play, but if we don’t get our duties done quickly we won’t have enough time for a game”.
What did we learn from this activity? That everyone in the team is able to impact what the team achieves and it achieves the most when everyone works together, towards the same goal.
Giving instructions: Instructed drawing
This is an activity where one person stood away from the Patrol, with her back to them. She called out instructions to draw something simple, like a cat or a house. The other members of the Patrol could only draw what they were told to.
The idea of this activity was to show the role that clear communication plays in how a team performs.
Simple instructions were used (“draw a square”) and then the Patrol was given time to draw the square before the next instruction was given.
This was hard to begin with, because some Guides were quick to work out what image they are meant to be drawing and then just drew that, rather than follow the instructions they were given. Their drawings were great for comparison and discussion at the end though!
This activity was so much fun and we all laughed so much!
What did we learn from this activity? That instructions need to be thought out and communicated clearly if you want a group of people to work as a team.
Leading discussions: Debate club
The final activity of the night was a debate. We split the group in two and asked each to take a side.
Our topic for debate was, “Should Patrols be allowed to plan all of their own activities?”
We had a few school Debate Club members present, so once we’d organised the formalities they were able to start focusing on their arguments.
The Guides came up with some great arguments for both sides:
- Modern day girls should speak up and experience leadership.
- We learn how to prepare for times when something goes wrong – we learn to think ahead.
- It gets us talking to other people, being social.
- Encourages creativity and imagination.
- Learn life-skills, like planning.
- Encourages us to do the activities we enjoy, or new ones we’d like to try.
- “Children aren’t smart enough to know what to do automatically (except for me). Children are automatically built to play a silly game instead of doing work when they are given any sort of time. I know this because I have had experience, being a child.” (This is a direct quote, no hate mail please!)
- Adults do a better job of being prepared if something goes wrong, they know how to think ahead of time.
- We should be surprised instead of knowing what we are doing every week.
What did we learn from this activity? With only one exception, all Guides agreed that being able to plan their own meetings was a great opportunity. They thought that it might be too much pressure if they had to plan every thing but, right now, they are very happy to be allowed to plan some of them. They still like to have the “surprise” of Leader-planned meetings though (keep reading to see my own thoughts on this!).
During the night, the adult Leaders were taking notes and writing down all the points that were made about teamwork or leadership. We thought that we would gain many more insightful comments this way, rather than requesting comments in a formal evaluation at the end of the session and it turns out that we were right.
The final list was quite long but essentially the general theme was “sharing is caring”. There were quotes such as “it’s hard on the Patrol Leader when no-one wants to take part, even though sometimes the jobs just have to be done”, “Patrol Leaders shouldn’t make decisions for the Patrol without consulting them first” and “when we work as a team, it’s easier for everyone”.
I certainly found it interesting that they like the “surprise” of Leader-planned activities. The majority of these meetings come from ideas that the Guides have given us, but perhaps they don’t realise that just yet.
I’ll leave you with my favourite quote of the night, one that brought a tear to my eye (and I might just print it out and frame it!):
We learn skills at Guides that we’ll use in the rest of our lives. Even if we don’t use them now, at least we’ll have learned them for when we do need them
Have you ever run a similar evening? I’d love to hear about your teamwork and leadership activities!