Leadership Mirroring

Type of Activity: Trust

Props Needed: None

Set Up: Variation of the traditional follow-the-leader activity) Need enough room for pairs to work together comfortably. Pair up participants in your group and have the participants in each pair face each other.  Works well with 2 to 24 (or more) for 15 to 25 minutes.

Process: Ask the participant who lives furthest from the point they are standing go first. This participant is designated the “leader” of the pair for the first round. She will be making movements that her partner will be following. The leader must always be in front of her partner and there should be no physical contact made during the action. So, the leader can move around her arms, hands, head, face, body in any form or fashion they so desire and the other person must (at the same time) “mirror” what the leader is doing. Leaders are free to move laterally as well keeping in mind the stipulations. This is not a “catch-the-participant-doing-something-wrong” activity. It’s more of a “dance” between the two participants. (The reason this activity is in the Trust & Support Building section is because of the embarrassment risk – people tend to be very self-conscious about looking silly.) After a minute or so have the partners switch roles – the first leader is now the follower. For the third round ask that neither of the partners be the leader (this was the impressing part). What happens? The interesting thing is that leadership does take place, however, it tends to shift back and forth from one partner to the other. Take a little time to discuss with the group what happened during the third round – a nice leadership object lesson.

Variations: To make this even more of a leadership experience you could have pairs give feedback (a constructive social skill) to each other about the way the leader lead the “dance.”

Debriefing Topics:

  • What did it feel like to be supported by the group?
  • What feelings did you experience?
  • How did it feel to be responsible for someone else’s safety?

For more resources see: Empty Bag

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