How Escape Rooms Build Leaders
If you're reading this blog, you already know that leadership is one of the most important skills you can learn. At Red Door, we believe that people are your company's greatest asset, and you need great leadership to make the most of your people's potential. However, what you might not know is there are multiple ways to improve your leadership skills outside of the day-to-day work in your job. Similar to an athlete practicing outside of the game, you can practice leadership outside of your job. One great way to practice your skills: playing escape rooms! And the best part? You're having fun while getting better!
In this blog, we're going to dive into several factors of leadership that you will sharpen when playing an escape room:
One of the vital factors to becoming a great leader is building trust with your team. Building trust within relationships is the fundamental building block to establishing a culture of teamwork and the most essential component to unlocking potential. In our escape rooms, there is no political correctness, ambiguity, or beating around the bush - you must work as a team and learn to trust each other on hints, clues, and puzzles to make it out in time. Second-guessing your teammates is a clear route to stagnation.
2. STRATEGIC THINKING
As soon as the timer starts, you will need to analyze your surroundings and kick into gear your critical thinking skills. Our episodes are all unique, which means that your creativity and problem solving will be challenged in a new way with every theme. Our escape rooms aren't scary, dark, or sketchy- they are challenging and fully-immersive and will test your team's ability to work together and develop a strategic plan to escape. The best groups have a plan before entering and quickly make adjustments on the fly.
3. GOOD COMMUNICATION
Communication is key in life and in our escape rooms. You will need to actively listen, communicate quickly, and ultimately deliver clear information to solve the challenges you face. Being in a series of rooms with your whole team may get chaotic, so you'll need to stay focused and listen attentively to all team members, especially those who might be on the quieter side, as they tend to be the most observant. For our players on the shy side: you'll need to speak up more than usual to rise above the noise. Every opinion matters, and every observation counts if you want to escape on time, so keep your eyes and ears open at all times!
4. DECISION MAKING
To be a leader, you must be able to make decisions that best benefit your team. For example, how will you decide when to use your first clue or your last clue? You only get three free clues, so you'll need to use them wisely! As a team, you will need someone to take the initiative, keep track of the solved puzzles, keep an eye on the clock, and make sure that everyone in the group is heard. The best leaders can pull in information from different people and places, piece together the facts, and solve complicated challenges. The most effective teams have leaders who can do this well under pressure, and there won't be any shortage of that when you come to play!
Perseverance is an essential factor in leadership, as it proves your character. There will be times when a group fails and becomes discouraged, and the leader is the one who gets the ball rolling again. Asking for a fresh clue, taking a fresh look at an old puzzle, or asking a new team member for an opinion might be the boost that your team needs. Eventually, the wins will begin to compound, and your team will start to gel again, but not if you let the losses take the wind out of your sails. Perseverance the root of your team's character and hope. (Romans 5:3)
By the end of your team's experience, you will have sharpened more than a few of these leadership traits. Your quiet teammate will be communicating better, your trust will have improved, and your perseverance will have jumped a notch. Whatever the improvement, I assure you and your team will leave better than you came, one step closer to becoming excellent leaders.
While it's tempting to end with a fun memory and an hour's worth or "leadership reps," you'll learn the most when you reflect and discuss your experience with your team after.
Here are some good conversation starters we like to ask our teams after their experiences:
1. What skills do you think are essential to escape on time?
2. Were there any times you felt the group solving strategy wasn't flowing well or felt unorganized? What would you do differently next time?
3. Were there any lessons learned, and how would you apply those lessons to your workplace?