week 10 Leadership lessons from games.

Essential Question: What Leadership Lessons Can We Take from Gamers?


I will admit I have mixed feelings about writing this blog. I feel that we can learn something from everyone… I don’t believe that all that gamers are leaders the same that I don’t believe that because you I taken a this class I am great at implementing technology. It is what you do with what you learn that makes you a leader. The qualities that I identified are as follows:


  • Innovation
  • Focus
  • Practice/ continuing education
  • Working with others for a common goal
  • Seeing a bigger picture.


Innovating is a leadership skill that keeps you on top of your game. It is being able to see what is around you and understand it enough to use it effectively. This can be something applied to life as a theory or skill. It can be something physical like building something or creating something. Strategies have been around for years and they continue to evolve for success. This innovation is a leadership quality.


Focus is a leadership quality that keeps you on track so that you can finish what you start.


Practice, repetition of skills to application of those skills and continuing education is a leadership quality that when applied to life is a large part of success in your area of choice. Gamers learn about their games from others to be successful. They play it over and over to get better and in some games life or “experience” Leaders do the same thing they research what they need to know they talk to others to help solve a problem which leads to my next quality. They apply what they learned to the next level and so on.


Working with others for a common goal. Leaders know how to work with others to achieve the goal. Depending on the game you have to work as a group and each person has a job if you don’t do your job then the team “dies”.


Seeing a bigger picture goes along with teamwork members of a team have to get over their own ego to see the bigger picture for the team. This may mean that you are not always right which can be tough to swallow.


A discussion this summer with a girl that is a “gamer” and also is attending school to learn graphic design also showed me another side of gaming that I didn’t know existed. She talked about how some games are based on theories of society At the time she quoted several different theories and that these games were based on these ideas. These theories are then applied and the gamer is on a simulation of what they might be like and how they would solve problems in that society. I wish I could have been able to contact her for this interview but was not able. She was the first person to actually get me interested in “gaming” I wanted to see what she was talking about.

All of these skills are reinforced in games and many other places. I found many of these in competition either choir, or sports, Culinary arts students team is another place I found these. It is all about what you do with these skills that makes you a leader.

The following interview questions were discussed with two “gamer” colleagues. Their experience was not as in depth as the young lady I spoke with this summer but still gave me some ideas.


1.  How can gaming be used to teach important skills in the classroom?


Unless the game was intentionally designed to do so, anything more than simple flash games that might teach critical thinking skills would probably be too time consuming as well as distracting for any efficient acquisition of skills. If anything is to be learned through non-education driven games, it has to be very intentional.  Although, knowing enough about a game and using aspects of it during instruction could definitely be a booster to engagement and motivation. (I.e. Talking about characters – who are the characters in X game?)


2.  How does gaming help individuals work together?


In many games there are often co-op/multiplayer options in which players will have to work together in order to accomplish certain goals and overcome obstacles. In certain games types (MMOs in particular) members of a group will have a specific role to play (healer, tank, dps). If everyone isn’t working together and doing his or her job, everybody dies ☺ Being able to communicate well goes a long way towards a successful venture.


3.  How can playing games teach leadership skills?


Again, it depends on the game type, but certain games present the opportunity for developing skills such as planning, organizing, delegating, arbitrating, etc…


Many story driven games are also leaning towards emphasizing the fact that decisions have consequences. When presented with a situation, how you handle it changes what you face next or what happens later in the storyline. Actions having consequences, good or bad, can never be acknowledged enough in my opinion.


4.  Can playing games prepare students for real life situations or jobs?


If the game is designed to do so, then maybe. For instance, I have heard of the military using certain games/simulators to help train soldiers. Flight simulators also come to mind.


If the game involves communicating and working with other people it can definitely help students prepare for the reality that in real life, you have to communicate and work with people!


5.  What type of social undertones do the games you play have? Do you recognize any theories of society?


My lack of knowledge regarding prominent theories of society may be hindering my ability to answer to this question.


6.  How does that relate to you in the real world




7.  Pick you favorite game… How would you use that to teach?


Different games lend themselves to different situations. Many games are stories in action. They have characters, plots, problems, solutions, etc. Having students analyze the story would be one way to use a game in teaching.


There are often different objectives that have to be met in a very specific way. This could be used in writing a How To piece.


Many calculations also go into various games. If an enemy has this much health, and we have this many people doing this much damage per second, how long will it take to take that enemy down? How much experience would I need to get to X level? How many more materials do I need to gather to make X? Etc…


8.  Do you know what games are popular with your students right now?


Call of Duty Black Ops 2; Grand Theft Auto 5; NBA; Halo


**** The last Source was one of my favorite reads on this topic. Serious Games for Smarter Skills: The Future of Learning


Meister, J. (2013). Gamification In Leadership Development: How Companies Use Gaming To Build

Their Leader Pipeline. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2013/09/30/gamification-in-leadership-development-how-companies-use-gaming-to-build-their-leader-pipeline/

Reeves, B, (2013). How Video Games Build Leaders. Retrieved from


Boinodiris, P. (2013). Serious Games for Smarter Skills: The Future of Learning. Retrieved from



5 thoughts on “week 10 Leadership lessons from games.

  1. I would really like to know whether or not your gamer colleague observed any differences in the academic performance of his students who were dedicated gamers versus those who were not. Did they seem more likely to lead? More cooperative? Better problem-solvers? If you are able to do a follow-up question I would really appreciate you posting your findings.

    I may have just found my thesis topic.

    Very good article Hallie.

  2. Amber Hanson

    Courtney, I have to say that from the beginning of this post, you had me hooked. I completely agree with the statement “It is what you do with what you learn that makes you a leader”. It doesn’t matter how much someone KNOWS about being a leader that will make him or her one. It really takes several qualities (as you noted) and the actual implementation and refinement of those qualities that really make someone a leader.

    I really like how pointed out that practice was one lesson we as educators can learn from gamers. Gamer do it all the time, when they need to redo something, or just want to get better at the game. This is something that a lot of leaders do and continue to do as a means of improvement. I also agree with the concept that collaboration is also a great skill gamers often are able to exhibit. They do it constantly in RPG games and the like. By showing that they can successfully collaborate with another individual (or many) they are likely able to complete a task or goal that would not otherwise be able to be met. By learning to work together for a common goal they exhibit leader like qualities. One person can only accomplish so much; if we as teachers can tap into and use this on frequent bases we will become better leaders.

  3. Heather

    I loved your list!
    Practice/ continuing education
    Working with others for a common goal
    Seeing a bigger picture.

    It makes it so easy to see what we can learn from them. Thank you for putting it together in a list format. One word, easy!!

  4. Courtney,

    I also liked the way you outlined your list before you explained them in depth. My favorite was the last one which was seeing the bigger picture. I had an incident at work in which two team members weren’t seeing eye to eye and one let her ego get the better of her. This lead to stepping over her supervisor and talking to he head supervisor. It was stressful and unneccesary and the supervisor is still contemplating the employees performace appraisal??? I like the way that you put members need to have teamwork and let thier egos go because it does more damage than good and takes more unnecessary time out of the workday that could actually be spent working…I enjoyed reading your post and making it reader friendly~

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