Leadership Walk

Type of Activity: Trust

Props Needed: None

Set Up: Need an interesting area to take an adventure walk through – wooded path, nature trail, hallways with stairs, combination of indoor and outdoor walk, etc. First you might need to split your group into two smaller groups. If you have 16 or more participants go ahead and make two groups. Also, if you create two groups you will need a facilitator with each group (we advise you not to do this activity if you do not have another facilitator to observe the second group). Plays well with 10 to 25 participants for 30 to 40 minutes.

Process: When the group is (or groups

are) ready have them choose, by consensus and agreement (also by the ones chosen) 2 participants to be the leaders of the first leg of the Leadership Walk. When the leaders are chosen have them step out of the group. The remainder of the group will get in a single-file line, placing their right hands in the shoulders of the participants in front of them and then close their eyes. One of the challenges for the group members will be to keep their eyes closed until the “destination” is reach (however, if they need to open their eyes they do have that choice). When the group is ready the leaders then use their “communication” skills (talking and touching are allowed – you can tell them this or not) to lead the group on the Walk. The facilitator with the group will visually show the leaders what path they want them to take – this will depend on “where” the group is at in their development together. Keep in mind, the more interesting the walk the better the experience. However, you also want to keep it safe so the trust level is going up not down. Remember, the facilitator (tha

t’s you) is ultimately responsible for the group!

After a few minutes, stop the group and ask the participants being lead to open their eyes. At this point its good to open a feedback session about how the leaders did during the walk. (You might need to do some skill building around feedback before this activity, if needed.) The idea is to provide information about leadership – what is needed and what is helpful. The ultimate goal (as you know) is to use this information in the future – which is coming right up.

When the discussion is concluded the group chooses two more leaders for the next leg of the walk. And so the process repeats. Allow an opportunity for each participant to be a leader – one participant might need to go a second time with a partner if there is an odd number of participants in the group.

Variations: Have  all the participants closing their eyes, right hand on shoulders. The leadership here is the participant in front. The facilitator uses physical contact with the first leader to direct the path. After a minute or so, rotate the last participant in line up to the front (this rotation seems to be the most interesting because the back participant always seems to know what the leader should be doing!?). Can also do leading without voice but you sound instead such as sticks hitting each other. Establish what is forward, stop, right, and left before beginning the walk.

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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