Updated: February 12, 2024

18 Team Building Activities for Leaders, Managers, & Executives

You found our list of the best team building activities for leaders, managers, & executives.

Team building activities for leaders are games and exercises that increase leadership skills. These ideas can also improve communication and stimulate creative thinking within a team. For example, strategy simulation exercises, orienteering challenges, or mystery ingredient cooking shows. The purpose of these activities is to foster a stronger sense of teamwork. Further, these activities cultivate leadership skills and boost morale among staff. These activities are also known as “activities for leadership team building,” “bonding exercises for executive teams,” and “cooperation exercises for managers.”

These activities are similar to leadership icebreakers, executive retreat ideas, and leadership games.

This list includes:

  • activities for leadership team building
  • bonding exercises for executive teams
  • cooperation exercises for managers
  • executive group bonding exercise
  • executive team building exercises
  • executive team growth exercises

So, here is the list!

List of team building activities for leaders

From personality assessments to the partner mirroring game, here are some of the best ideas to help leaders bond.

1. Strategy Simulation

Strategy simulation is one of the top executive team growth exercises. This hands-on experience tests strategic thinking skills in a simulated business environment.

To host this activity, design a realistic business scenario for your industry. Then, leaders work together to create a plan to solve the issue. For instance, discussions can cover resource allocation, risk assessment, and collaboration. Participants make critical decisions, fostering problem-solving and decision-making abilities.

Leaders analyze outcomes, adapt strategies, and promote effective teamwork. The key advantage is the opportunity to practice tough decisions without real-world consequences. Thus, executives can experiment and learn from failures. In summary, these exercises help refine decision-making in a risk-free setting.

Check out more problem-solving exercises.

2. Orienteering Challenges

Orienteering challenges are an exciting team building activity. In this sport, participants navigate unfamiliar terrain with a map and compass. Working together, leaders plan routes, analyze maps, and reach checkpoints.

When setting up an orienteering challenge, be sure to take safety precautions. For instance, give participants first-aid supplies and walkie-talkies. Also, you can have an experienced outdoor enthusiast go on the trip. That way, teams run a minimal risk of getting lost or injured.

This process enhances navigation skills and team coordination. Orienteering challenges push individuals out of their comfort zones, encouraging critical thinking. Beyond physical fitness, these challenges test mental agility and adaptability. Leaders can assess team strengths and observe how individuals handle stress. Overall, orienteering challenges promote team skills and personal growth.

Here are some more great outdoor team building activities.

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3. Personality Assessments

Personality assessments are useful activities for leadership team building. These assessments help outline individual traits and preferences. Examples include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or DISC profile. Leaders can use these insights to tailor their management styles. Benefits include enhanced self-awareness, better communication skills, and increased empathy within teams. Recognizing diverse perspectives fosters inclusivity in the workplace.

However, it is important not to judge solely on personality tests. For team building, you can have each member complete the tests. Then, hold a group discussion to promote a deeper understanding of the results. Effectively using these tools fosters an environment of self-reflection and open communication.

Check out this list of the top personality tests.

4. Mystery Ingredient Cooking Challenge

During this team building activity, participants create a dish using a surprise ingredient. For instance, the mystery food could be cotton candy, dragon fruit, or goat cheese.

Leaders can cook individually or as a team. Participants can take a few minutes to decide what their dishes will be. Then, give chefs a set amount of time to complete their meals. After cooking, a panel of judges can taste the dishes and crown a winner!

This exercise fosters creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. By cooking together, individuals learn to think creatively and adapt quickly. The surprise element keeps participants engaged and encourages quick thinking. Also, leaders can show their skills by guiding their team through the cooking process. Overall, this activity promotes teamwork and develops essential leadership qualities.

This article details more office cook-off ideas.

5. Public Speaking Workshop

A public speaking workshop helps leaders communicate with more confidence and clarity. Participants practice speaking techniques, and colleagues can offer constructive feedback. Topics can be silly to encourage a relaxed environment. For instance, speakers could discuss their favorite movies or their top vacations. You can also ask a public speaking expert to offer tips to the team.

Interactive sessions improve clarity, audience engagement, and presentation impact. These skills encourage effective communication with teams, clients, and stakeholders. Workshops also boost self-confidence and the ability to inspire others. By honing public speaking skills, leaders can share their visions and motivate teams.

Here are some of our best public speaking tips.

6. Leadership Roleplay

Leadership roleplay games are great cooperation exercises for managers. Participants get to practice and improve their leadership skills in a safe environment.

To run this activity, create a list of possible workplace scenarios. Examples include handling challenges or having difficult conversations. Leaders can take turns responding to the scenarios. After each session, provide feedback and encourage group discussion for improvement.

This exercise promotes self-awareness, empathy, adaptable leadership, and teamwork. Leadership roleplay builds confidence in challenging situations and helps leaders navigate team dynamics.

Learn more about the top qualities of a great leader.

7. Health and Wellness Day

A health and wellness day focuses on the well-being of team members. To organize this experience, plan fitness activities and mindfulness sessions. For instance, activities like yoga or meditation enhance focus and problem-solving skills. Then, be sure to provide nutritious snacks and drinks to boost energy. You can also play relaxing music to create a stress-free environment.

Emphasizing health and wellness encourages teams to prioritize self-care and builds positive relationships. Plus, a healthier work environment reduces stress and increases focus.

Check out these wellness programs and activities.

8. Project Management Game

The project management game is one of the top executive team building exercises. During this game, participants make strategic decisions for a fictional project.

To host this experience, create an imaginary project to manage. You can either build a more realistic project or make a sillier one. After writing the project details, split participants into teams. As project managers, leaders make decisions on factors like budget, resources, and risk. Then, participants can present their project plans to the rest of the group.

This game helps players learn to navigate complex problems. Further, the exercises boost communication and delegation skills.

Learn more about the most important project management skills.

9. Partner Mirroring Game

The partner mirroring game helps build team trust and communication. In this game, pairs of participants face each other. One player moves, and their partner mirrors those movements as quickly as possible. For instance, players can lift their arms, twist in their chairs, or bend at the waist. The goal is to encourage active listening and nonverbal communication.

This game fosters a deeper understanding of cues and builds rapport. Participants will also build skills like active listening and empathy. In summary, the partner mirroring game enhances trust and communication.

Here are more trust building activities and games.

10. Innovation Workshops

Innovation workshops offer a platform for employees to collaborate and think creatively. During interactive sessions, participants use techniques like design thinking to create innovative ideas.

To conduct an effective workshop, start by defining your objectives. Then, create a safe space for idea sharing and incorporate interactive activities. Activity examples include exploring trends, journey mapping, and reversing roles.

These workshops encourage teams to explore unique solutions to their issues. Further, leaders will gain confidence in proposing unconventional ideas. Overall, innovation workshops unlock creative potential and drive growth.

Check out these books on innovation.

11. Charity Team Projects

Charity team projects build teamwork while making a positive impact in the community. Engaging in charitable activities strengthens team bonds and brings a sense of purpose. Projects may include volunteering, fundraising, or community clean-up.

Doing charity work as a team instills values like compassion and social responsibility. These outings enhance leadership skills through collaboration and effective communication. Further, these activities create a meaningful and rewarding work environment.

This list outlines some of the best charity team building experiences.

12. Team Mentoring Programs

Team mentoring programs are a great executive group bonding exercise. These programs foster growth and development within the team. These experiences also strengthen relationships among employees.

When starting a team mentorship program, start by establishing guidelines and goals. Then, pair junior and senior members together. Teams can set up regular meetings to share knowledge and information.

These programs boost employee engagement and morale. Workers will feel valued and supported in their professional growth. Further, leaders will connect with their employees and learn more about daily tasks. Overall, team mentoring programs improve teamwork, communication, and productivity in the workplace.

Check out this list of mentorship program ideas.

13. Strengths Discovery Workshop

This workshop focuses on finding and using individuals’ unique strengths within a team. Participants try exercises to explore their top strengths, such as leadership or creativity. Examples of activities include reflection journals, appreciation circles, and skills mapping. Through coworker feedback, executives can learn where they excel. Further, activities may reveal ways participants can improve.

Leaders will learn how their strengths contribute to the team’s success. Thus, the workshop empowers individuals by highlighting strengths, which boosts confidence and motivation. By learning where they shine, managers can better understand how to lead their teams.

Here are more great corporate workshop ideas.

14. Role Reversal Activities

Role reversal activities involve switching roles or responsibilities within a team. Individuals can gain insights into different perspectives and others’ roles. Participants can develop empathy, communication skills, and collaboration techniques.

One example of a role reversal activity is Job Swap. Team members trade positions or take on tasks outside their usual responsibilities. Participants can learn more about their colleagues’ challenges and contributions. This exercise builds trust and encourages cross-functional cooperation and innovation.

Another role reversal activity is Reverse Mentoring. In this activity, hosts will pair senior leaders with junior employees. As the name suggests, the junior employees mentor their superiors. By swapping the traditional mentorship dynamic, leaders can learn from younger colleagues. These employees may bring fresh perspectives, technological expertise, and knowledge of emerging trends.

While running these experiences, be sure members feel comfortable participating. Also, consider hosting discussions after each exercise to learn about each other’s insights.

15. Cross-Departmental Collaboration

Cross-departmental collaborations can help create connections and achieve organizational goals. Teams can benefit from diverse perspectives, skills, and knowledge to solve complex problems. This exchange of ideas can improve decision-making, efficiency, and creativity.

To host successful cross-departmental collaborations, create clear communication channels across the firm. Regular meetings or joint projects can allow employees from different departments to interact. Additionally, encouraging collaboration can motivate employees to take part in cross-departmental initiatives.

Leaders should keep potential challenges in mind during these experiences as well. Collaborations may need extra effort to align workflows, priorities, or resources. Further, conflicts or power dynamic issues may arise. Promoting transparency and fostering a respectful environment can address these issues.

With these activities, leaders can learn more about the organization and encourage innovation.

16. Cultural Awareness Day

Cultural awareness activities are among the best bonding exercises for executive teams. These experiences foster a positive and inclusive work environment. Further, these exercises promote understanding, respect, and appreciation for different cultural backgrounds.

One great activity is a culture-sharing session. Team members can share parts of their own culture with their colleagues. For instance, participants can share traditional food, music, or stories. Individuals get to showcase their unique traits, and others can embrace diversity.

Another activity is organizing a cultural trivia game or quiz. Teams can answer questions about various cultures from around the world. This exercise exposes players to different customs, traditions, and beliefs. By engaging in such activities, leaders can create an environment that values diversity.

By adding these activities to team building initiatives, leaders can foster cultural awareness. Understanding and appreciating diverse perspectives enhances collaboration and problem-solving abilities within teams.

Check out this list of DEI activities.

17. Vision-Sharing Sessions

Vision-sharing sessions are a valuable team building idea. Team members can align their goals and aspirations with the organization’s vision. During these sessions, leaders can share the company’s mission, values, and long-term objectives. This experience fosters a sense of unity and purpose among the team.

To conduct this activity, leaders can outline the organization’s mission statement and values. Then, managers can hold open discussions. Team members can share their thoughts about how they see themselves adding to the vision. This conversation fosters collaboration and creativity within the team.

Through these sessions, leaders can inspire their teams to work toward a common goal. When employees align with the organization’s vision, they contribute their best efforts. This effort leads to improved teamwork, increased productivity, and a stronger organizational culture.

Teams can collaborate on a virtual vision board.

18. CEO Shadowing Day

Learning about the CEO’s daily tasks can help leaders understand the company’s structure. To host this experience, coordinate with the CEO and identify a day when employees can shadow them. Management can spend the day observing the CEO’s duties and asking questions. At the end of the day, the CEO can hold a debriefing session with the team.

By learning about the executive’s duties, teams can learn how to work toward a shared goal. Knowing the company’s schedule and motivations can guide future projects. Plus, this exercise creates bonds between company leaders and staff.

Final Thoughts

Fostering a strong work environment increases creativity, productivity, and job satisfaction. Hosting team building experiences with leaders is just as important as with teams. Investing in your leadership can greatly impact your workplace’s dynamics. Implementing such initiatives can be game-changing for your organization’s success.

Next, check out our posts on team building best practices and team building challenges, as well as these team building activities for students.

FAQ: Team building activities for leaders

Here are frequently asked questions about team building activities for leaders, managers, and executives.

Why are team building activities important for leaders, managers, and executives?

Team building activities are crucial since they can enhance communication within teams. Improved communication leads to better project collaboration. Additionally, these exercises promote positive relationships in teams. Creating strong bonds cultivates a friendly work environment.

How do you measure the effectiveness of team building activities for leaders?

To measure the effectiveness of these activities, watch for participants’ engagement levels during the session. Also, you can ask for feedback after each experience.

What traits should team building activities aim to foster in leaders and executives?

Each leader may require fostering different traits depending on their respective role. Fundamentally, these initiatives should develop traits like communication, critical thinking, and conflict resolution.

Are virtual team building activities effective for managers & leaders?

Virtual team building is beneficial because it allows remote teams to interact. Doing virtual team building activities with leaders can improve their management skills because these exercises allow them to understand firsthand how to help their remote team members connect and build bonds.

How often should leaders participate in team building activities?

Participation frequency depends on the size and needs of your team. However, a monthly or quarterly schedule often proves to be effective. You can always add quick team building games and exercises to meetings to increase frequency.

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CEO at teambuilding.com.
I write about my experience working with and leading remote teams since 2010.

LinkedIn Michael Alexis

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