Trainer's Tip: An Exercise in Leading Effective Teams

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Annah Ross shares her top tips on how to roll-out an exercise on leading effective teams for a large group.

I use an exercise which demonstrates the importance of the 'building blocks of effective teams'. This includes:

  • Balanced roles.
  • Clear objectives and agreed goals.
  • Support and trusting relationships.
  • Co-operation.
  • Openness and conflict.
  • Sound procedures.
  • Appropriate leadership.
  • Regular review.
  • Individual development.
  • Good communications.

The instructional aim is to highlight the need for the 'building blocks' to make a successful team.

The aim of this exercise is to see how fast the group can get the whole team to pass through an inner tube - I tend to use a couple of bungees tied together in a circle.

Then explain the exercise:

  • Demonstrate.
  • Get the group to have a go.
  • Time each attempt and tell them how long it took (write it on a flip chart).
  • Get them to set a goal to go faster – Ask "How can you improve on that? What can you do differently? What is slowing you down?" Only give them a minute at the most between each attempt.
  • Continue to re-set the goal.
  • Keep the group going until they really form a quick solution.
  • It should take about 15 - 20 minutes to achieve a really fast time.

Ask the delegates: "What they did to get such a good time?" Discuss the points and list them on a flip chart. Link this in with building blocks and then ask them to assess themselves and their own teams and to plan ways to improve on areas that need improving.

Note well: A fast solution will usually include participants taking it in turns to go head-toe and toe-head with two holding open the tyre/bungee and moving it up and down.

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