Hobbies that Make You a Better Leader

Every experience teaches a lesson for people who are willing to learn them. Something as simple as a hobby can prepare you for leadership by teaching you how to work with people and accomplish goals. Any hobby that involves working with other people can do this, but some of them have much more potential than others.

Team Sports
A team wins or loses based on how well the individual members can work together. The skill of each player does matter, but the team’s total effort is much more important. Most other team efforts in life work the same way, which makes team sports a valuable way to practice teamwork with low stakes. The team’s captain will learn the most, since the captain is the one who makes most of the important choices, but everyone can learn by watching the captain. They also offer a chance to learn about the internal dynamics of a team by taking part in them.

Sports also provide an opportunity to learn about objectives. A team’s goal is to score points and win the game, but most players have smaller goals of their own. A defensive player’s goal is to stop opponents from scoring, while another player’s objective might be to open up opportunities for scorers. All of those little objectives lead to the big objective. Players need to make quick decisions to prioritize all of those goals while keeping the big picture in mind, and that’s a valuable skill for any leader.

Tabletop Gaming
Tabletop games, such as Carcassonne or Twilight Struggle, offer many of the advantages of sports in a calmer, slower environment. Like sports, players need to prioritize a variety of small objectives to achieve a big goal while dealing with other players. Unlike sports, players usually have the chance to stop and think about their plans before they put them into action.

These games teach players how to think through a plan and put it into action. Other players will interfere with that plan, so they also teach players how to adapt a plan as circumstances change. A good leader needs to be able to stop and think about how to achieve goals in addition to making snap decisions and working with people, so these games are valuable learning tools.

Charity Work
The best way to learn about leadership is to practice it, and charity work offers a great opportunity to do so and to make a difference in the community. Most charity organizations are eager to take any help that they can get, and they’re normally willing to train people to run events. Local churches are often a good place to start looking for ways to contribute, but it never hurts to ask around with other local organizations.

Running a charity event teaches organizational skills that are difficult to learn from a book. Charity organizers learn to juggle the needs of the group with the personalities of volunteers, who sometimes come into conflict with each other. Mediation requires a gentle touch, since volunteers can always leave the project, so there’s no better way to learn methods for conflict resolution within a team.