“Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.” John Peter Zenger
While most people have never heard of John Peter Zenger, they may have heard the latter quote or something akin to it. Zenger was an important figure in American history as the printer of the “New York Weekly Journal” and was famously sued by colonial governor William Crosby for libel. When he was acquitted he became a symbol for the freedom of the press.
Zenger was German immigrant to the American Colonies. Zenger and his family immigrated in 1710 as part of a large German Palatines group. The colonial Governor promised all of the children in the group an education and Zenger worked under the first printer in the American Colonies, William Bradford.
It was in 1773 that Zenger printed the article that would cause Crosby to sue him. Cosby wasn’t satisfied with is salary and couldn’t control the local government so he removed one of the judges and placed someone friendly to his party in the former judge’s seat.
Zenger and his paper being part of the opposing party, continued to print articles disagreeing with Cosby’s actions. Alexander Hamilton and William Smith Sr were his lawyers and eventually winning the libel suit against Zenger.
As the summer weather starts to settle in, those people in leadership roles might want to take advantage of a nice day through outdoor team building activities. Getting your team out into the sunshine can be a nice change of pace and a reenergizing experience, especially for a team that mostly works indoors and/or sitting at a desk.
A scavenger hunt might be a common activity; however, one can turn it into a team building exercise. Especially when you encourage people to work with those they don’t normally work with. Leaders can use this activity to break up social cliques in the workspace.
Making the scavenger hunt task-oriented with problem solving activities is another way to increase the team-building aspect of the activity. This might include puzzles and riddles as well as searching for particular objects. Each team should receive an identical list of tasks and there should be a deadline by which all tasks need completed.
The “human knot” is another fun activity that is well suited for a sunny, outdoor space. Depending on the number of participants, you may want to break people up into several groups. The instructions are simple—everyone should stand shoulder to shoulder in a circle and facing each other. First, everyone sticks out their right hand and grabs a random hand across from them. Then the same with their left hand. The goal is to untangle the knot without releasing hands. Success is dependent on team work and communication.
An “egg drop” using office supplies is another possibility for a game—instructions for variations on egg drops are available online. But the gist is that teams will use common items from the work space to construct armor for their raw egg. After a set time limit is up, each team will drop their egg from the same height to see which team constructed the best armor. Obviously, this messy game is easier to clean up outside.
These are just a few examples of team building activities that don’t happen in a meeting room around a table. Try them out. That nice weather will have people’s attention wandering from common, indoor activities.