Activity - Leadership skills - build, Fly & Land paper planes


This activity is for the reinforcement of several different leadership skills , some of the skills that will be  emphasized throughout this activity are planning and scheduling work, use of resources , setting objectives and priorities , coaching, checking understanding, evaluation and continuous feedback to achieve excellence and the benefits of synergy of teams in action and working collaboratively.



1 Hour


Tools/Items required

1.  Runway  and planes landing area as per the figure below

Leadership Activity build fly land paper planes runway

2. Colored paper (80 per group)
3. Rulers (one per group)


Set up 


1. Divide the whole group into smaller groups

2. Each group chooses its own leader.

3. Take the group leaders into a separate room where you show them how to create the desired plane from two sheets of colored A4 papers. (Trainer should try to make the paper plane prototype design as complex as possible)

4. Group leaders go back to their groups, each with the colored paper and a ruler.
Optional: You may give them white paper for the training period in their groups



1. In their groups, group leaders teach their group members how to create the desired plane.
Optional:  You may give them 10 minutes to train their group members before the actual time starts. However, if you decide to do so make sure that the groups have only white paper. After the 10 minute training is over, distribute the colored paper.

2. Each group is asked to create 40 planes. ( 20 minutes).  Important: the groups are not allowed to use anything except the colored paper and the ruler.

3. After 20 minutes ask the groups to stop. Count the number of planes in each group. Each plane is worth 10 points.

4. Give each group a score and record it.



1. Groups move towards the runway. (Two groups share one runway as shown above. However, you must make sure that each has a different color).

2. The main target here is to fly the created planes which must land inside the area shown above. (5 minutes)

3. Only planes that land inside the specified area are counted. Each is worth 30 points.

4.  Planes that land on the border lines or outside this area will not be counted.
Optional: You may give them 3 minutes to try the best ways to fly their planes.

5. After 5 minutes ask the groups to stop. Count the number of planes that landed within the specified area.

6. Give each group a score and record it.

7. Add the scores in steps II and III and then announce the winning group.


Discussion and debrief 

During the  planes construction phase:
Notice how each team leader utilized his/her time during the planes construction phase:
 Did he\she spend enough time guiding and demonstrating to their team members how to construct the planes ? did they have to dedicate specific time to help (coach) certain team members who were having difficulty constructing their planes and hence affecting the profitability of the team.


After score calculation and upon completion of the activity 

Ask each group why they chose their leader ?
Ask team members if they felt that their team leader was successful in explaining & Demonstrating how to construct the planes ?
Ask team members if each of them was given enough time by the team leader to practice constructing the planes ?
Ask team members if their team leader had a specific action plan in order to achieve the team's target and whether that plan was communicated clearly to each of them?  Was it a successful plan? Did he give room for negotiations if they had any comments or objections? How did they feel about that? Ask team members if their team leader divided the tasks equally among all team members? or they felt that some were assigned more tasks than others ?
Ask team members if they felt they were given enough guidance by their team leaders during the planes construction phase ?
Ask team leaders if they had to participate in constructing the planes themselves or  they totally depended on their team members to do the construction  ( To better utilize their time , team leaders should spend enough time training and demonstrating to team members how to properly construct the planes to start with to avoid having to do the construction themselves and properly utilize their teams members as a resource and their time as well )

Ask team leaders about the rationale on which they divided the tasks among their team members?

- Knowing their teams , resources and timeframes they were given, ask team leaders how far off their initial forecast were they once they started implementation and what changes they found out they had to do during the course of the activity to ensure the construction of planes on time and ensure getting the points for each constructed plane
Ask team leaders about any specific actions they had to take to deal with team members having difficulty constructing the planes and consequently affecting overall team profitability.
 knowing that having a plan in place for a specific activity will ensure it is done in less time than starting with no plan at all. Discuss with team leaders how true was this during the activity? 
Make sure all participants get the point that having a plan is the only way to ensure both deadlines and targets are achieved.
Ask team members as well as leaders, If they were to redo the activity , how differently would they do it and why?  OR which actions they would keep and which they would change and why?