This icebreaker is specifically for teaching Situational Leadership and the four Development Levels. However, it can be used with workshops on coaching, mentoring or general leadership skills. You will teach the participants to sing a simple song at an expert level.
o PowerPoint slide with the lyrics of your simple song, LCD projector and screen
o (Alternative) Flipchart and marker to write and post the lyrics
o Flipchart and marker to keep track of the participants’ progress
o This icebreaker assumes that you have already taught the group about the four Development Levels of Situational Leadership. If you have not, leave out any references to Development Level and just talk about Beginning Skill, Medium Skill and Expert Skill.
o Select a song (with motions if possible) that they don’t know. Pick a song that it very easy to learn with repetitive lyrics, e.g., “Jesus Loves Me,” “B-I-B-L-E,” “Mercy Is Falling,” “River of Life” or “This Is the Day” would work. It’s okay if different participants are more familiar with the song, but most should not know the words and/or motions. If you have some D4’s (experts) in the group, get them to teach the song to everyone else, or if you have a significant number of D4s, have them teach smaller groups. This activity can work especially well for teaching a group that doesn’t have English as its first language.
o Create a PowerPoint slide or flipchart with the lyrics of a simple song
o Create a flipchart with four columns, labeled, “D1,” “D2,” “D3” and “D4”
o Practice the script
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “How many of you recognize this melody?” (Hum the song for the group, or play it instrumentally. Don’t sing the words yet.)
- “Now, I’m not going to embarrass you in any way, but I’m curious to find out. How many of you feel like you have the skills and knowledge to sing this song?” (Look for a show of hands.)
- “How many of you would be confident and motivated to sing this song in the privacy of your own home with no one else listening?” (Look for a show of hands.)
- “How many of you would still be confident and motivated to sing this song here in this room?” (Look for a show of hands. If you have several hands up, ask how many would STILL be confident and motivated to sing this song alone in front of the class. If they are willing and wouldn’t be embarrassed, let them come up and perform the song. Otherwise, you should sing it for the class with the motions – if there are any.)
- “I am going to teach you how to sing this song (and do the motions).”
- “My goal is to help you all become either D3 – Cautious Performers – or D4 – Self-Reliant Achievers – before I am done.”
- “But I want to track my progress, so I would like to get a count of how many people we have at each level.”
- Ask each group to assign a table leader. You can add energy to this and make it quicker if you tell everyone to point their fingers toward the ceiling and then point to the person they think should be the leader on the count of three.
- Ask the table leaders to talk to their teams and get a count for each development level.
- Then, ask each leader for a count, and write it on the chart.
- “How many at your table would you say are a D1 – confident and motivated but lacking skills and/or knowledge?” (Get the counts from each table leader, and post them on a flipchart.)
- “How many at your table would you say are a D2 – lacking confidence and/or motivation and lacking skills and/or knowledge?” (Get the counts from each table leader, and post them on a flipchart.)
- “How many at your table would you say are a D3 – lacking confidence and/or motivation but having both skills and knowledge?” (Get the counts from each table leader, and post them on a flipchart.)
- “many at your table would you say are a D4 – having confidence, motivation, skills AND knowledge?” (Get the counts from each table leader, and post them on a flipchart. You might want to tally the number of each Development Level and turn it into a percentage to track progress.)
- “Great, let’s learn the song!”
- Teach the song one line at a time along with any motions (one word at a time if your participants do not know the English words).
- Have them repeat after you each time until they get it.
- After several times through the entire song, ask table leaders to count the number of people in their group at each level, and write these new numbers on the chart.
- Then, ask your brave D4s to come and teach to the whole group (if the D4s are willing).
- Let them go through the song twice at a moderate pace so that others can learn.
- If some in the larger group are still struggling, ask someone who has moved to D3 or D4 in each group to help the rest of the group, or have your D4 experts go to those tables to coach them.
- Give them a few minutes to work through it, and then ask the table leaders to find out what development level their team members are at. (You won’t always be able to motivate everyone to D4, but you can at least give them the skills and knowledge to reach D3.)
- Write these totals on the chart, and talk about the progress that has been made.
- Finally, ask all your D4s (old and new) to lead everyone two more times through the entire song (with the motions).
- Congratulate the group on their expertise!
- Reward your D4 volunteers for their bravery.
- If you want to debrief the exercise, you can ask the following.
- “What helped you move from D1 or D2 to D3 or D4?”
- “What techniques did you notice me using in order to help you improve your skills and knowledge?”
“What techniques did you notice me using in order to help you improve your confidence and motivation?”
- “What else might have been helpful?”
- “Why didn’t everyone make it to D4?” (If this was the case)
- “What did you learn from this activity that you could apply to your leadership?”