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Turning Make Believe Traps Into Tests of Leadership


For the most part. It is actually not that hard to see how casual games, like escape room challenges can be used to test teams of working professionals. Also teach them how to better coordinate (no matter what their job may be).

On the other hand, would it be also safe to say that these challenges can further test the effectiveness of leaders in the workplace?

The short answer is: Yes.

Like every other type of team building activity.  Escape rooms are not just meant to improve team synergy. They obviously improve that synergy by challenging the skills of those in leadership positions. An few games consisting of some make-believe traps can have a positive, long-term results in raising the competence of an organization’s leadership.

The key lies in understanding the deeper core skills often required in leadership. Knowing that conventional training and coaching isn’t the only way these skills are tapped. Here are just a few examples.

Problem Solving

Most professionals have this idea that a leader’s only major job is to delegate. However, proper task delegation is actually a middle step. Before that can even happen, effective leaders must be among the first to identify and define a problem.

Now, while challenges like escape room require everyone to have problem solving skills, a leader’s particular role in the solution is to be the first to start piecing information together and then delegating tasks to fill in the gaps. Seizing initiative is often seen as a good sign of leadership but rarely do people notice that is actually the initiative to start solving problems.

Time Management

Escape rooms are well-known for their suspenseful time limits so it makes sense that great leaders are very aware of how time is being spent. However, many people underestimate just how impactful such challenges can be.

In real-life work settings, most leaders underestimate the allowance they have with distant deadlines and often enable an ineffective process to persist beyond what is healthy until the deadline finally nears.

A fast-paced, time-limited challenge can really make team leaders more aware of how long their team is taking to solve a problem and make faster decisions about how it can improve.

Role Management

Whether it is at work or play, both are activities that find success when people fulfill their roles and learn how to synergize them. However, it is also obvious that it is the leader’s main task to manage these roles and achieve that synergy.

This not only includes identifying each person’s individual skills and how they best fulfill that role, but also making sure their efforts combine into the best solution to a problem. Escape room activities can really hone a leader’s ability to understand a situation and have the right people in the right place, at the right time.

Interpersonal Skills

Lastly, even when a leader has assigned people to the right task, they must also have good interpersonal skills to identify conflicts between personalities. Another thing that team building activities and real-life work have in common is that they demonstrate the human side of everybody.

That makes people skills a natural requirement, whether it is in the exciting context of disarming make believe traps or mediating tensions between conflicting co-workers.

Overall, even business leaders can gain some benefit from participating in light, play-oriented team building activities. The parallels between the challenges of work and those from make-believe traps can teach them a thing or two as well!

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