Here is our list of the best virtual leadership activities, games & ideas.
Virtual leadership activities are events or games intended to develop effective leaders. For example, Best 30, Virtual Retreats, or Leadership Races. The purpose of these exercises is to introduce ideas and concepts that will help team members to become better leaders. These exercises are also known as “online leadership activities.”
These activities are online equivalents of leadership activities. The exercises help employees develop leadership skills, become strong leaders, and manage remote teams more effectively. For more advice, check out books on leadership and books for new managers.
This list includes:
- leadership games on Zoom
- virtual leadership development activities
- virtual leadership training ideas
- virtual leadership event ideas
Here we go!
List of virtual leadership activities
Virtual leadership activities are great ways to create a productive climate in your workplace. Leaders are responsible for inspiring the entire team. These leaders also encourage a cohesive team spirit. Here are activities to develop strong leaders and encourage good communication in online offices.
1. Spot the Difference
Spot the Difference challenges players to use observational skills. One way to play this game virtually is to match team members up in pairs. Then, send pairs into breakout rooms. Participants will have a few minutes to discuss a topic, such as a team building ice breaker.
After five minutes, both team members will turn off their cameras and change a few elements of their surroundings. Participants can change their appearance and the area around them. For example, move a picture and change their hairstyle. Then, both participants turn their cameras back on. Each player will try to spot the things their coworker changed.
Playing leadership games on Zoom, like Spot the Difference, encourages essential leadership like observation and communication.
2. Leadership Coat of Arms
Historically, a coat of arms was more than a cool symbol used by families or clans. These images were deeply personal and symbolic of the belief that represented the group. Asking your team to make a coat of arms will encourage introspection and creativity.
Before scheduling a meeting, send participants a template to create a coat of arms. Team members can think about leadership qualities that are most important to them and identify their core values. Then, participants should incorporate these ideas to embellish the blank template. As not everyone is a graphic designer, remind folks that this is not an art contest and do the best they can.
After designers have had a chance to finish their coat of arms, discuss the drawings. Team members will get an opportunity to talk about what is important to them and understand more about their coworkers’ beliefs and priorities.
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3. Virtual Leadership Trivia
Trivia games are great virtual leadership event ideas. Virtual trivia encourages communication and teamwork on platforms like Zoom. To play, divide participants into teams. Then, a host will read prepared questions. Trivia games are fun and encourage interaction, communication, and teamwork. You can tweak the game by choosing categories like leaders throughout history. Or, you could require leaders to discuss the answer with their team for 15 to 30 seconds before answering.
4. Leadership Race
In-person events can become virtual leadership development activities with a bit of tweaking. In this activity, participants will race to prove their leadership qualities. Instead of using their legs, participants will use their keyboards.
Participants need to be in a virtual meeting room together to play this game. A facilitator will ask team members about a specific leadership trait, for example, reliability or diligence. Participants who believe themselves to be in possession of that trait respond with a thumbs-up emoji in the chat feature or via reactions. However, those participants must back up their claims with an explanation if called on by the leader. If other team members agree, then that participant gets a point. After around 15 to 20 examples, the teammate with the most points wins.
Virtual leadership training ideas, like Situations, are a fantastic way to practice essential skills. In this activity, you will give participants hypothetical scenarios and challenge participants to decide what action to take. For example, dealing with a conflict in the workplace, budget problems, or implementing new rules.
During a Zoom meeting, give a small group of participants 5 to 10 minutes in a breakout room. Team members should discuss their plans to deal with a presented problem. After the discussion is over, have all team members meet together and discuss the final decisions.
This activity helps teammates practice vital leadership skills like creative thinking, group problem solving, and communication.
6. Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a short narrative that gives a quick overview of an important topic in the corporate world. Often, this 30-second pitch is about a project or idea. However, employees should also know how to craft a personal elevator pitch.
In this exercise, ask team members to develop an elevator pitch about what makes them exceptional. Encouraging members to articulate these talents is an essential leadership skill. Then, ask teammates to present these pitches to each other during a Zoom meeting.
Virtual leadership training ideas can be as simple as Shipwreck. This game only requires 15 minutes during a Zoom meeting.
To play Shipwreck, divide your team into smaller groups. Then, send groups into breakout rooms. Groups should discuss the five items they would need on a deserted island after a shipwreck. The team has to agree on essential items and justify those choices. After 10 minutes of discussion time, invite all the teams back to the main meeting room. Each team can present the lists of items and explain their reasoning.
You could also adapt this game to other scenarios. For example, a plane crash in the mountains or lost in the desert.
8. Best 30
In Best 30, you will encourage team members to be introspective. During this activity, ask employees to take 5 to 10 minutes to think about a moment in their life that stands out. This moment could be in their professional careers, a place they visited, or a personal event. Teammates should pick a memory that they are comfortable sharing with the group.
Next, ask team members to narrow that moment down to the best 30 seconds. Then, have each participant share those 30 seconds and the reasons why they were so impactful. This activity helps team members get to know each other on a deeper level and creates a bond. The exercise also teaches leaders how to distill ideas down into the most important information.
9. Virtual Leadership Retreat
In-person leadership retreats are tricky for remote teams. However, you can plan virtual leadership event ideas that are engaging and productive. A virtual retreat is an excellent opportunity to improve working relationships and managerial skills.
A traditional leadership retreat gives leaders a chance to break away from daily stresses. Wherever these retreats happen, the ultimate goal is for participants to return to work refreshed and ready to tackle work.
To plan a virtual retreat, invite leaders to block off an afternoon in their schedule. During this retreat, plan activities that help participants refresh and reset. For example, guided meditation, online yoga, and virtual team building activities. For an added touch, send members a care package ahead of time with items like tea, scented candles, or company swag.
Check out this guide to virtual retreats.
In Debatable, team members will have to use their communication skills to complete a debate. However, these debates do not have to be on serious subjects.
In this event, pair up team members. Then, pose a question to each pair and assign one member to each side. For example, “Which is better, hamburgers or hot dogs?” One debater will argue for each side. During the event, encourage sportsmanship and consideration so team members do not talk over each other.
This activity will develop clear and concise communication and consideration for others’ ideas.
For talking topic inspiration, here is a list of This or That questions.
11. Personality Test
Personality tests are commonplace in the corporate world. Many large corporations use a version of the assessment for hiring. Personality tests reveal a great deal about work approach and teamwork styles.
To give your team a personality test, decide which tests work best for your organization. There are a variety of tests that offer insights by analyzing test takers’ responses to elements like colors, letters, or animals. Many of these tests are available in free versions. After allowing team members a couple of days to complete the test, meet together virtually to discuss the results. Coworkers can find better ways to relate to each other based on personality types.
Here is a list of free personality tests to try.
Copycat is an online leadership activity that encourages recall, attention to detail, and the ability to listen to directions. In this game, match teammates into pairs. Then, invite one of each pair to a Zoom meeting where you will show them a simple picture. For example, a photo of a living room or an animal. Next, each pair must join their own Zoom meeting or breakout room. In this space, the player who saw the picture will describe the image to their partner, who will attempt to draw it. However, the describer can not use the names of the items, nor closely related words. For example, the describer cannot say dog, couch, or table.
After around 5 to 10 minutes, invite all teammates to the main Zoom room. You can ask all pairs to show their drawings and describe their experiences. The duo who gets their copycat drawing closest to the original wins the game.
13. Amazing Leaders
Amazing leaders inspire others through their words and actions. Some leaders are famous, for example, presidents, coaches, or activists. Other motivational leaders might be a figure in a teammate’s life.
One of the best virtual leadership development activities asks team members to think about the most influential leaders in their lives. In a group call, ask participants to discuss a leader who has inspired them and list why. Be sure to give each member time to talk about their chosen leader.
You could also show a TED talk or video of a famous leader speaking. Then, as a group, analyze what that leader said and what makes them a good leader. In this activity, participants focus on listening and speaking. Team members will also learn about a variety of styles of leadership.
14. Virtual Escape Room
Escape rooms are excellent virtual leadership event ideas. During this activity, participants must work together to solve riddles and find clues that help them “escape a room.” There are many different virtual escape rooms, from art heists to prison breaks. Team members will practice problem-solving and communication skills while working as a team. Participants also gain experience working in high-pressure environments and choosing the best course of action from different ideas.
Check out this list of virtual escape rooms.
15. Something in Common
An easy and quick way to develop leaders and relationships is to play Something in Common. This online leadership activity encourages remote teammates to learn about others and communicate effectively.
To play Something in Common, break up your team into smaller groups of three or four members. In breakout rooms, have participants find the three things that they have in common. These traits should ideally be unique qualities. For example, a group might find they love baking sourdough bread, hate apples, and know how to knit. If needed, then you can set parameters on categories, like not allowing movies, food, or books.
16. Surprising Leadership
Inspiring leaders are everywhere. Every day folks have done amazing things, from stopping a robbery to saving a lost pet. To organize this activity, ask participants to find an inspiring story of leadership. It is best to give team members a day or two notice. These stories can be obscure from a local newspaper or have made national headlines.
During a scheduled Zoom meeting, ask team members to share their stories. Be sure to encourage participants to discuss why the tale was motivational. After the story, teammates can discuss what they learned from the story and brainstorm how to apply those lessons to work scenarios. This event encourages folks to think about what makes a good leader and consider different leadership styles. The exercise also sharpens communication skills.
17. Trust Battery
Trust in the workplace is essential. Every interaction between employees can charge or deplete their trust battery. An important activity in virtual teams is having participants charge their trust batteries.
This activity is part self-assessment and part group discussion. Before the event, ask team members to reflect on their trust battery towards the team and individual members. You can ask them to focus on what things specifically can charge or deplete their battery. Then, as a group, discuss the group findings. As team members talk about what helps or hurts relationships, participants will learn to support each other better.
18. I and You
A good deal of communication occurs between two team members on a daily basis. When these interactions are positive, they enhance the relationship and are productive. When these interactions are negative, they hurt the relationship and can be destructive. You and I is an activity aimed at encouraging positive relationships. This activity is best completed between team members that have regular interactions.
During the game, each participant should write down two statements. The first statement relates to how the writer can help the team member, and the second statement relates to how the team member can help the writer. When giving directions to writers, encourage small and achievable requests. For example, “You can help me by noticing when a task is left open and asking if there is anything you can do to help close it.” After both participants have written down their statements, it is time to share.
Be sure to encourage constructive responses from both team members. For example, “I see why you would request this, and I am able to help.” Or, “I understand why you would need this, but I am unable to do this because…” These discussions help team members communicate with each other.
19. Role Playing
In this activity, participants will witness different leadership styles and the impact on employees. During a Zoom meeting, ask a few volunteers to role-play. One participant will play the role of an employee who made a mistake. For example, missed deadlines or lost clients. Two or three other teammates will assume the roles of different leadership styles and respond to the initial volunteer. After each leadership style has responded to the employee, allow time for the whole group to analyze which style was most effective. Team members can decide what an “ideal” leadership style should look like.
Virtual leadership activities, games, and ideas are ways to develop leaders on your team. In a remote environment, building capable leaders takes intentionality and determination. A good remote leader needs to handle a diverse set of problems. These activities help team members practice the skills they will need to be good leaders in a virtual world.
We also have a list of fun ideas for a virtual amazing race.