e-book Discovering the Leader Within: Running Small Groups Successfully

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Personality Theories and Models. Versions of the 'Iceberg' may be mapped according to different perspectives, for example - how people see it currently; how they'd prefer it to be; from a personal, departmental or workforce standpoints. The exercise can be used as a basis for all sorts of learning and development activities, for example relating to:.

For groups of any size. Split into pairs, threes, or work teams and review as appropriate, or run the activity as a quick ice-breaker. What acronym can you devise or suggest one you know already that is particularly appropriate for modern times?

Where groups devise their own acronyms you may optionally award a point for each letter in the acronym and bonus points for:. This is a simple and adaptable exercise which can be used to explore various themes.

Discovering the leader within: Running small groups successfully

You could run a version on a table-top, or use it to get people moving around quite a lot. As facilitator you need just a tape measure and a pad of small sticky notes. Here is the basis of the exercise. Adapt it and use different exercises to suit your own situations. This is an experiment to explore the brain's capability to estimate scale.

Your guesses will be measured and results given. The exercises involve simple guessing, but provide a basis for understanding more about how reliably or unreliably our brains can estimate scale, etc. Sometimes guessing and instinctive assumptions are effective; often they are not. Note: As facilitator it will take you a while to measure and note scores for lots of guesses, so think how best to do this. If using the exercise as a quick icebreaker, or if time is tight, especially if group is large, think carefully about how many measuring exercises to include.

Just one is fine for an icebreaker. With big groups and treams issue people with tape measures and have them score each other. Or see the examples for simplifying the activities below. Depending on time and how you want to use the activities, other materials and measuring devices can be used for different exercises, for example:.


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Adapt the exercises depending on how active and logistically involved you wish the activities to be. This is a simple exercise for groups between 8 and 30 people, and involves many different learning elements: understanding strategies, teamwork, presentations, argument, debate, analysis and group decision-making. The activity is based on the funny one-liner often attributed to comedian Stephen Wright , which is deeper than first seems:.

Nominate one team to be 'early bird' and the other team to be 'second mouse' or allow the group to decide this themselves, which can be an interesting mini-exercise in its own right. Give the teams minutes, each to develop a second presentation or longer for bigger groups and more learning depth as to why their strategy 'early bird' or 'second mouse' is best for business or work or life, depending on your situation. Optionally, ask the teams if in light of the presentations they would prefer to frame the question in a different way. People might now see a more constructive approach to the question.

Again this can be a useful mini-exercise in its own right. After the debate hold a 'free' vote to see what the combined group now believes about the question. Allow but do not encourage abstentions 'don't knows'.

Encourage group members to vote as individuals, putting their team loyalty to one side. There are many possible learning areas to review after this exercise, depending on your situation and development purposes, for example:. Problem-solving and decision-making. Here are some ideas and exercises to explore human physical contact and touching; the types, benefits, risks, associated feelings and reactions, in relation to self others.

Touching people is understandably a neglected aspect of relationships and communications, especially in management and education relating to sexual harassment and child protection. Nevertheless touch is a highly significant part of body language, and crucial to human interaction. We therefore benefit by improving our understanding of touch and using it appropriately, rather than avoiding it altogether.

A New York Times article by Benedict Carey reported some interesting findings on human touching:. Many and various other studies have reported the positive powers of human touch. As with physical exercise, human touch triggers the release of chemicals in the brain. These are basic primitive human responses, not easily understood, and even now only beginning to be researched and analysed in reliable scientific terms.

In time we will know what it all means and how it all works. Meanwhile a little practical experimentation can be helpful and enlightening. Here are some ideas:. Love and compassion at work. Stress management. The nature of anything - especially feelings, relationships and communications - changes according to situation and context. This is vitally important in understanding ourselves, others, and the way that human systems operate, in which subjective views are commonly more dominant than objective facts, figures and evidence.

Perceptions among people, especially given group effects, has a huge effect on systemic and organizational behaviour. Here is a simple and pleasing demonstration of how something can change when experienced in a new context, particularly when the warmer spring season approaches in the northern hemisphere :. The demonstration is clearest if first people pour the drink and take a few sips indoors, and then walk outside, so as to compare the indoor and outdoor taste. Strangely the taste is quite different, sometimes remarkably different.

This is probably due to the fresh air being smelled and tasted along with the drink. I am open to better explanations. The effect also works with cold drinks.

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And picnic lunches, if you've time. In some situations the exercise will work better by not warning people of the reason for going outside, other than to get some fresh air and a leg-stretch, both of which are good for groups anyway.

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Taste is not the only characteristic altered, for example, in cold weather the drink cools far quicker. Small and insignificant though it is, the drink experience and memory is altered by the different outside environment. The indoor cup of tea or coffee is perceived to be different because of the outdoor context and situation. The analogy can be used in many subjects which benefit from interpreting differences and implications within relative positions, for example:. Very many theories and models for learning, management, development, etc. Understanding relativity is not merely for theoretical explanation - it's a real practical tool for interpreting and acting with more appropriate meaning - rather than a 'one size fits all' mentality - especially concerning the widely different perceptions among people in different situations.

For groups of any size, subject to splitting into working teams and managing the review of the team work. The exercise will take minutes plus whatever review your think is appropriate for your situation. Enough for every person to have at least sheets.


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  • You may nominate specific models, or seek examples of models from the group, then write these on pieces of paper, fold, and have people pick them 'blind'. Allow discussion and debate of matters arising as appropriate, according to the needs and timings of your session. To save review time - ask people to work in pairs, or in teams - requiring each pair or team to present an interpretation of only one story, being the most powerful example that the pair or team can find in the time allowed.

    Practices of a Small Group Leader: Leading an Effective Bible Study Conversation

    If the group has access to computers, internet and group display this enables the use of online news websites rather than newspapers. Explore what alternative words people would use to describe each other?

    Discovering the leader within: Running small groups successfully

    What words surprised us and why? What obstacles tend to exist when we don't know each other? And when other aspects of mutual awareness are not good? Why is it that lack of mutual awareness tends to cause difficulties, whereas good mutual awareness tends to produce benefits? How does good mutual awareness in a team enable greater delegation of responsibility, and generally better and easier performance?

    Where the exercise is used as more of an ice-breaker for a group which has only recently been introduced to each other, a separate learning illustration is how much or little we seek, observe and absorb about new people we meet, and whether we can be more attentive at such times, since this reflects on perceived levels of empathy, and can influence people's self-esteem and confidence, and readiness to cooperate, etc.

    A quick icebreaker and kick-start activity with a helpful underlying purpose.

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    Commitments tend to succeed where there is a plan, especially for aims which contain steps leading towards the final result. Without a plan, little can change. Work backwards, identifying the steps necessary for achieving it, back to the starting point: i. In this situation it is particularly helpful to clarify that people do not need to reveal or discuss their aims with the group unless they want to, since for some people this enables more relaxed and creative thinking.

    Here is a selection of quick easy fun party games, including some already on these team games webpages. Very funny. Who Am I? Issue each with a heavy key or spanner similar cold metal tool, tied to about fifty feet of string. The winning team is the first to thread the string through the whole team, passing underneath each team-member's clothing from top to bottom. Issue each with an orange or potato or other similar sized fruit or vegetable.

    The winning team is the first to pass the orange from person to person and back to the beginning by holding the orange between chin and chest no hands. Dropping the orange incurs a two-person-stage penalty move it back two people in the chain. Play in pairs. Give each pair a raw egg still unbroken in its shell.

    Discovering the Leader Within

    Pairs face each other in two lines, five paces apart. The egg must be thrown and caught twice between each pair. Move the lines three paces further apart. Again, throw and catch twice.