Kickball, Pottery, and the Pursuit of Leadership

Too often we hear excuses from managers and frustration from team members about the lack of leadership development opportunities.  “I don’t manage people, so how can I get people management experience?” or “I’m field based working with customers, how can I get to work with people from other departments?” These plus hundreds of other excuses are common and often valid refrains.

Enter the best leadership training that money can buy: Team Building. 

Sure, on the outside it looks like a great way to waste an afternoon, but when executed properly it’s a priceless training opportunity. Here’s what we do at Thomas Office Solutions and why:

  1. There is no senior director of team building.  We rotate the leader role regardless of title.  Everyone in our company runs one team building event from A-Z.  ~Leading the event is the most important part of team building
  2. The leader is in charge of picking the event .  ~They have to think of the well-being of the entire team and make sure the activity doesn’t exclude anyone.  Also, it forces the leader to take risk.  What happens if the team doesn’t enjoy it?
  3. The leader is in charge of setting a date and making sure people attend.  ~No one wants to be the reason why a free afternoon off is cancelled.  If they don’t execute we will cancel that quarter’s event.  Talk about peer pressure.  If someone won’t step up to lead an afternoon of bowling, do you think they’ll go the extra mile for a client?
  4. The leader is the judge and jury. ~How awesome is it for Kyle from shipping, who has been with the company for a year, to tell the president that he is out at third.  Communicating bad news upstream is hard.  Why not get some practice in a safe environment?
  5. The leader is responsible if things go sideways.  If it’s a rain out or the bowling alley doesn’t actually open until 5 PM the leader must step up and find an alternative.  ~When do things ever go according to plan?  Talk about a great opportunity to learn how to plan for the worst and think on your feet.

I would love to hear how your organization provides leadership training or about unique team building events. We love getting new ideas.  Just comment or drop me a line at

Michael Thomas

Author: Michael Thomas

Blessed to work with a group of passionate & wicked smart techies. Everyday brings new opportunities and challenges but our focus on being our clients' most trusted advisor never waivers. We love technology and enjoy even more helping our partners improve how they work.