This team-building activity introduces the idea of journal writing and provides a reflection opportunity that participants can acknowledge what they have learned and how they will continue challenging themselves.
- To introduce the idea of writing down one’s private thoughts and feelings
- To promote reflection on what was learned
- To challenge oneself to learn in new ways
Activity training methods
- Journal writing
- Bond paper for each person to create a journal or individual spiral notebook.
- Tables and chairs in any arrangement
Use the information below as the basis for any opening remarks you make as the facilitator of the activity. Be sure to explain that journaling is a great chance to assess our own performance, gauge learning, and integrate that learning into the activities. Journal writing and storytelling are excellent ways to capture ideas for later use. Sometimes journal notations provide the basis for a story.
Other times, hearing a story reminds the leader to record in his or her journal any reactions or responses that should be given additional thought. The challenge in this activity is to teach the essentials of a very useful but private reflective practice within an open, shared session, as well as to generate enthusiasm for doing it after the session is over.
Introduce the subject of journaling and provide an overview of the activity. For a long time, professionals in some disciplines have used journaling as an active recall process. Actors and directors are especially devoted to this technique. New actors are encouraged to write their ideas and feelings (free-flow) for at least 20 minutes a day. In this way, they develop a personal journal that captures an array of moods and emotions that can later be drawn on as they prepare for different character roles “for a long time.”
As a leader, you are not really playing a character, but you are, in a real sense, orchestrating the team to work together to solve a business need or problem. A journal provides a personal and private way to track your great moments. If you use it regularly, you will capture your greatest successes, but—most importantly—you will also be recording those times when your choices weren’t the best. New strategies and tactics can later be deduced from these writings.
Journaling is an important part of reflection, especially in adult learning. Adults learn best and have better retention when they consciously take time to reflect on their learning. A journal can help to trace changes in one’s thinking over time. Journaling can also be
guided, with questions provided from an outside source.
Have participants practice journaling by explaining the basics. Distribute the paper or individual spiral notebooks that will serve as their leadership journals. Give participants 10 minutes to identify three things they learned about leadership that day and to how these will help them change a current practice. These thoughts should be recorded in their journal
Ask the group to think of “prompts” that can get the members started writing in their journals—things that will make the process comfortable and meaningful. For example, How are you doing emotionally? or What aha! moment did I have during this session? are good prompts that can be written in front of their journals.
Review the following journaling basics:
It is best to write the journal entry immediately, without worrying about every detail.
Set up a regular time to write in your journal. Your experiences and your thoughts will help you understand your own behavior.
If you get “stuck” during your regular journal time, just write whatever comes to mind. Then, later on, re-read what you wrote and reflect on why you are stuck at this particular time.
There will be points during this leadership program when we will ask you to add thoughts to this journal, so be sure to bring it to every session. Also, use the journal at work to jot down more observations about leadership—yours and others.
Take time shortly after conducting this activity to reflect on how it went, how engaged the participants were, and what questions they raised. Then, make notes that include how much time you actually spent on the activity.