We had the pleasure of Jamie Thompson’s insight during a Trainers Warehouse Show & Share conversation. Jamie is the principal of MTa Learning, a game development company based in the UK. As a seasoned developer of experiential learning leadership activities, Thompson shared a handful of memorable tips. Because of groups’ interest in emotional intelligence, we also discussed a bunch of ways we can improve EQ training for our leaders.
In response to many leaders’ requests for leadership training, trainers are often asked to conduct complex experiences for their management and leadership teams. While games must be intellectually demanding enough to challenge leaders, and reflect the complexity of their environments, trainers should resist the impulse to begin with such challenges before developing basic teaming and communication skills. Note: Thompson’s suite of MTa Team Development and Insights games offer a rich menu of experiences that will allow you to step up the activities as leaders become ready for new challenges.
Several participants articulated an interest in developing their leaders’ EQ skills. While the group shared a roster of Emotional Intelligence Activities, we also discussed these approaches:
You might not have access to an EQ-specific game. If not, you can elicit “emotional friction” by altering a game’s rules:
In each of these examples, the team experience will be challenged and create some degree of frustration. By manufacturing this friction, teams will come to appreciate the impact of vulnerability and the necessity of trust and emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-regulation, emotions, empathy, social skills).
Discuss the impact of those challenges, behaviors, and approaches in your debrief and relate the learning to workplace issues.
These two models will help your groups develop a lexicon of emotions and better identify and discuss their own and other’s feelings. To introduce these models, you might begin by asking: “How are you feeling?” See how many people instinctively reply, “fine” or “good.”
Afterwards, introduce one of these colorful illustrations to help them better understand the huge range of feeling that they might call upon.
As Jamie reiterated, the quality of your experiential leadership activity will depend upon the:
While you can adapt many games to suit the needs of your groups, be sure to select your games based on their ability to elicit the lessons that will be most useful to your group!