Build Leadership skills in Escape Rooms

10 Ways Escape Rooms Build Leadership Skills


Want to know a fun way to build leadership skills? Go to an escape room! It might not seem obvious, but there are many ways in which this unusual gaming experience applies to a corporate setting. Whether you’re a manager looking to inspire your team, or an employee wanting to make a good impression, you’re bound to reap the benefits. This team building outing is a great way to build leadership skills in escape rooms.

Identify Leaders within your Company

I never realize how motivational Monica was. In the game, she was the glue that kept us focused and facilitated communications amongst all of us.

A good leader exists both in and out of the office. Taking your team to an escape room is a great way to identify leaders in an unexpected and fun way. You’ll quickly find out who has effective communication skills, who excels in problem solving, and who motivates and inspires success. The type of leadership skills you want at work are exactly the type you’ll see in an escape room. Your team will have fun at work, and you’ll gain key insights about the leaders within your company!

Understand your Team’s Communication Skillsets

I’ve never noticed the little things: I observed some teammates interrupting each other and bulldozing others because they were convinced their way was the only correct way. Then I noticed immense support and teammates bouncing ideas off of each other, ultimately congratulating each other.”

Communication is key, both in a work setting and in an escape room. By playing an escape room, you can learn what types of communicators you have on your team. Some questions to ask as you observe:

Who is an active listener?
Who keeps an open mind about different ways to solve a problem?
Who interrupts others? Who gets interrupted?
Who immediately relays information about clues and puzzles?
Who finds a clue, stashes it in their pocket, and tells no one?

If we’ve seen it once, we’ve seen it a thousand times: someone in the group finds a clue but doesn’t tell anyone, either because they don’t think it’s important or they forget about it when the time comes. This is a killer in the game, and a killer in the work environment. This lesson can make all the difference in fostering effective communication amongst your team.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking under pressure

“I thought I was a pretty good out-of-the-box thinker. Clearly not.”

Believe it or not, problem solving is a pretty big part of escape rooms. Shocking, I know. But! These problem-solving skills apply to the workplace as well. Just like every project at work is different, every puzzle at an escape room is different. Approaching puzzles with a clear objective and unified strategy is important, but so is getting creative and thinking outside the box. Solutions can come from unexpected places, and escape rooms encourage that type of ingenuity. Playing an escape room will put your critical thinking abilities to the test, and strengthen them as you go.

Healthy Competition and Team Management – Working towards a common goal together

“The best part was when the project controllers escaped, and the management consultants didn’t! The rivalry continues!!”

         Team building, team building, team building. This a huge part of effective team management, and rightfully so. Whether as a leader or team member, it’s important to create a cohesive unit that works well together and understands one another. Build bonds, practice communication, and strengthen collaboration in a creative environment. There’s a reason escape rooms have been a growing form of team building – it works! Team management will improve that much more just by getting your team to play an interactive game.

What we’ve observed in effective ways to build leadership skills in escape rooms is to not only look at the superstars, the ones that are leading the charge, but also the rockstars, the ones keeping the wheels turning, keeping morale high, and the ones that are the support of the team. They, too, are crucial.

Incorporate Escape Rooms in your Hiring Process

“Our team had two openings and four candidates. We booked a game for ten people total, six employees and the four candidates and in one hour, we all agreed which two to hire based on how they jived with our team.”

         Want to know what types of people are applying for your company? Put them to the test! As we’ve outlined above, escape rooms are a great way to learn about someone’s communication style, critical thinking skills, and leadership potential.  It may seem like an odd addition to your hiring process, all the more reason to do it! This will bring in creative applicants who are open-minded and flexible. What’s better than that?

Gamification to foster productivity and improve morale

I learned more about my co-workers in one hour at Trapology than in several days of 8-hour team building trainings.

         People naturally want to socialize, learn, and achieve, and games bring out these innate desires. Gamification is the application of game elements to non-game contexts, such as working in an office. Taking your team to an escape room is a great way to foster productivity, improve morale, and strengthen critical skills amongst employees on your team.

The best part? Because it draws from innate desires, everyone will have fun doing so!

It’s like exercising. Some people hate being stuck in a gym and lifting weights, but they could rock climb, kayak, or ski all day. This option to build leadership skills in escape rooms via gamification will help teams learn about each other and themselves while having fun, and not being stuck in a stinky gym (aka, a conference room training for 8 hours at a time).

Understand your employee’s workstyles of Conflict Resolution

“I learned that he likes to think things through quietly to himself for a few minutes and then come back to us with multiple options, versus I think aloud and like to work things through.”

         We don’t have to tell you that time strains and difficult tasks can create conflict. However, this can actually be a good thing for you and your team. Escape rooms can provide the perfect opportunity to work on conflict resolution.

Some conflicts that may arise in escape rooms:

  • Running out of time to complete the game
  • Differences in opinion on how to accomplish a certain task
  • Deciding whether or not to ask for a hint
  • Someone making a mistake that cost time
  • Butting heads over who does what in the group

While it may seem bad for these issues to occur, it’s actually really good practice for resolving conflicts that could happen at work. Each conflict listed above easily applies to a corporate setting, which is all the more reason to put your team to the test in an outside environment. If your team can resolve conflicts in an escape room, they can do so at work!

Develop Situational Awareness

“If we had only listed to Jen when she mentioned the first six times about noticing that the handwriting similarities, we would’ve saved at least 10 minutes!”

         For most, an escape room will be an unfamiliar environment. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, paying attention to both the big picture and the minute details. This situational awareness, like many other skills listed here, can apply to a your work. Your team will develop the ability to take in a unique setting and tackle the tasks at hand as efficiently as possible. There are always multiple things to grab your attention in an escape room, so learning to observe it all and efficiently decide when and what to focus on is crucial.

Motivate your team and have fun with coworkers!

“It was so nice to see different people shine for different reasons. We all contributed!”

         A motivated team is an effective team. There are many ways to achieve this, but why not do so by having fun at work? Like when starting a project at work, it’s important your team be motivated and inspired when going into an escape room. Making sure everyone understands the goal and task at hand is key. Additionally, playing an escape room can boost team spirit and culture while allowing everyone to learn about one another. You’ll quickly see who’s inspiring others, what they’re doing to accomplish that, and how it’s working.

The Debrief: Lessons from Winning and Losing

“After we left Trapology, we discussed what we learned about each other, complimented each other, and talked about what we would do differently. We’re going to bring these learnings back to work with us.”

Here’s the thing: you won’t win 100% of the time, either in an escape room or in life. But that’s ok! Losing is an important part of learning and improving, and a strong leader understands these benefits. Here are a few questions to consider after a game:

         What is the attitude of a leader when they lose a game?

         Do they blame anyone or anything?

         Do they talk about the positives?

         Do they encourage everyone to try again?

         Do they appropriately attribute credit to the team?

A loss under a good leader can provide the opportunity to strengthen your team. Of course, a win will do the same thing! Either way, how your leaders respond after a game will make a big difference in the benefits received from the escape room experience.         Hopefully I’ve now convinced you of the many leadership lessons that can be learned from an escape room. Still on the fence? Come and see for yourself by playing at Trapology Boston!

Ready to come try it for yourself? We’re ready to help you build leadership skills in escape rooms!