Leading Self

Different Leadership Styles

This activity is designed to provide a simple introduction to new leadership competencies that are most effective in today’s complex and fast paced workplace. Building awareness of how and when to apply these skills can help emerging leaders be more effective when they need to lead employees, manage change, build relationships, and use participatory processes, all of which are critical leadership competencies in today’s world.

For more information about Different Leadership Styles, click here to read the corresponding section in the Playbook.


1-2 hours

Group Size


Skill Level


Comfort Level



Flip Chart, Markers, Printouts, (Room should have enough space to enable full group and small groups)

Step 1

Ask participants to listen to this six-minute podcast “Complex Challenges and The New Leadership” or read the transcript prior to the session. Describe the purpose of the activity. Ask for a show of hands of who has completed the pre-read. Give the group a few minutes to read silently to be sure everyone has completed the reading (5 minutes).

Step 2

Pass out copies of the New Leadership Skills Worksheet. Next divide participants into four small groups by asking them to count off from 1 to 4 and move their chairs to different corners of the room. Once participants are seated in their assigned groups, ask for a volunteer in each group to be the note taker.

Give participants 15 minutes to discuss one of the four skills in their group and ask that the note taker captures the discussion.

Group1:  Leading Employees
Group 2: Managing Change

Group 3: Building and Mending Relationships

Group 4: Participatory Leadership

Tell participants to review the skills mentioned on the worksheet in their category and discuss the questions below. You can write these on a flip chart. After 15 minutes, make sure the groups rotate to the next small group clockwise in the room. The note taker should remain in his/her initial group.

  • Which of these skills are your strengths?
  • Share an example of how you have used this leadership skill at work and tips you might have
  • Which of these skills do you want to improve?
  • In what situations at work do you think you can practice this skill?

Use a timer or your mobile phone to track time.   Get people’s attention when the time is up.

Step 3

Once everyone is in their new group, give them the next set of instructions.

Tell participants that they will have 15 minutes to discuss the skills mentioned on the worksheet in their category using the same questions. The note taker should first summarize the key points from the previous discussion in a few minutes.

Use a timer or your mobile phone to track time. Get people’s attention when the time is up.


Step 4

Tell participants to come back to the full group for a report out. The report out will take five minutes for each group. Go in numerical order and ask each group note taker to share the top three insights they discussed in their small group.  Warn note takers to be very brief, no more than 2-3 minutes. Capture the insights on a flip chart page. Ask the full group if there is anything they would like to add. Capture insights on the flip chart page. Repeat the process until all groups have shared out.  Keep an eye on the time.

Alternately, if you want to make this a shorter exercise, do a “popcorn” report out. A popcorn report out is where you ask participants as a group to “pop” out a high level insight to share and capture it on a flip chart. The total amount of time for this should be approximately 6-8 minutes. Go in order of the small groups.

Step 5

Ask participants to quietly reflect for one or two minutes on this question:  What are some ways that you can practice and apply some of these new leadership skills? Going clockwise, ask participants to share in 20-30 seconds what new leadership skill they will commit to practicing during the coming weeks.