Several of you reached out after publishing my last article, “What are your Super Powers?”, and you asked, “How did you run the Super Power discovery activity?”
Welp, that’s what we are focused on today. We are teaching you how to run a Super Power Discovery session with a group of people!
STOP! First, do you have the right ingredients?
So, you are thinking you would like to run this activity with the people in your lives. This can be your team, your family, or some other group of people you care about. The most important requirement for running this activity with anyone is having a relationship built on trust.
If your relationship is surface level and is not able to be 100% honest with each other, this will not work (at least, it won’t work as well). Instead, I recommend working on the bonds between these people first.
Running this activity on top of a “meh” connection will result in everyone being nice to each other and you will probably come up with a lot of Super Lies. It may still be a good team-building exercise but you won’t get to the truth and unlock anyone’s actual Super Powers.
Do you have the right ingredients? Yes? CONTINUE!
How to run a Super Power Discovery activity:
The remainder of this post is the Super Power Discovery activity. It lists the requirements necessary and a variety of scenarios you may run into as you perform this session. Please share in the comments below any other scenarios you run into and how you worked through it. Enjoy.
- A group of people who have some level of already established trust and relationships. The stronger the bonds, the better.
- A willingness of your group to be open, honest, and without judgment. This goes for themselves as well as with each other.
- Some writing supplies. Pen & paper is fine.
- A facilitator. This can be a participant or an outsider… it’s up to you.
- About 2 hours.
- Super Silent Brainstorming (5–10 min per person)
- Share within the group (3–5 min per person)
- Decipher your notes (3–5 min)
- Super Delivery (3–5 min per person)
The process we used helped generate a lot of unique ideas because we ensured everyone spent time brainstorming on their own. A lot of team activities utilize more extraverted skills like speaking and white-boarding. We felt this was more of a personal activity requiring introspection and deep thought, so we enforced a silent brainstorming best practice. We then moved towards a group-sharing concept to gather thoughts from others.
Super silent brainstorming:
- Separate into smaller groups, no more than four or five people.
- In your group, pick one person to begin with.
- Spend 5–10 minutes silently brainstorming what each of you in the group, including that person, believes that a person’s Super Powers are and WHY? DO NOT SHARE YET!
- Complete Step 3 for each person in your group.
Share within the group:
- Pick one person to begin with.
- This person shares what they believe their own Super Powers are. This should take about 3–5 minutes.
- The group should ask probing questions like “Why?” and “How?”
- Then, one by one, each person in the group shares what they came up with as a Super Power for this person and shares why. You may build upon each other’s ideas, but you must share what you came up with.
- The person discovering their Super Power should focus on listening and asking questions. This is your group’s turn to talk, not yours. Take notes and practice hearing what your group is trying to tell you. Active listening skills work great here. Say things like “hmmm” or “interesting” even if inside you are thinking, “WTF! Does this person even know me?”
- Repeat this process for each person in the group.
Sharing needs to be safe!
This is where this activity starts to get uncomfortable and honesty between humans is vital. Everyone should try their best to be vulnerable, to listen, to contribute, and not be judgmental. This should be a safe activity. If someone disrespects this goal, be a leader, and make it safe again. Failure to create a safe environment will result in people closing up, staying at the surface level, and ultimately, it will be a failure of an exercise.
Decipher your notes and find your Super Powers!
As you ran through this discovery process, you and your group probably came up with a lot of strong words and phrases that all sound great. Your juices are flowing, and you are probably feeling pretty good about yourself because these people see something special in you. Awesome!
Now, everyone needs to go back into their corners and review all of these nifty statements. Read between the lines, find connections, and identify your Super Power.
How do you decipher your notes and come to a conclusion?
The best process we used was asking “Why?” and “How?” a bunch of times. This can be with the group, or it can be to yourself to help you diagnose as to what the root cause is.
- People in my group said that I inspire them.
- I asked, “Why?”
- They said because I help them feel like they can.
- I asked, “How?”
- They said, by believing in them. By sharing my ideas. By showing that I care. By being who I am as a person.
- I asked, “What do you mean?”
- They followed up with a lot of statements that included words like “feeling,” “caring,” “belief,” and getting them to feel those feelings too.
- I felt like the cause for all of this was because of my ability and willingness to express my Emotion. I believe this was the best label that tied all of these statements together and was the true trigger behind the people in my group saying the things they said.
Discovery Pro-tip #1: Look into the past!
Think about past events where the notes from your group were relevant. Does something stand out to you where these words and phrases from your group are highlighted?
For me, it was a list of events where the dots started to connect. Presenting at conferences. Family events. College. Past jobs. Each of these had situations where my group’s statements made a lot of sense, and I was able to compare what they said to my personal history. This helped me figure out what my Super Power is.
After digging through your notes and reflecting on your past, you should have a better idea of what your Super Power may be. We went around our groups one last time and shared what we came up with and why.
Some people came up with truer Super Powers than others, and a few people didn’t feel confident in what they discovered… and that’s okay. Discovering your Super Powers may take longer than an afternoon with your team. Keep looking, and someday you will have an “Ah-Ha!” moment.
Why can’t I find my Super Power?
Don’t worry, we ran into this too. Some of the reasons may be:
- You did not get good feedback from your group, probably because they don’t know you that well. Consider running through this exercise with people who know you better and will give you stronger feedback.
- It is possible you did not listen very well and may not be open to the feedback you received during this activity. Really listening and hearing what people are saying takes practice. Find someone that can tell you like it is. This person will be able to help you.
- You might be lying to yourself and believing your Super Power is something it is not. Sharing with someone that can give you good feedback will be the best way to figure out if you are being truthful to yourself or not.
We found our Super Powers, now what?
Awesome! I am excited for you all because now, this is where the magic happens. You have several options as to how to leverage your new-found Super Powers.
Knowing each other Super Powers can allow you to:
- Leverage each other when someone’s Super Powers are needed.
- Help others strengthen their Super Powers by holding others accountable. Use your Super Powers when opportunities arise!
- Enable others to recognize their own Super Powers.
- Teach others how to develop their version of your Super Power.
Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Once you discover your Super Powers, use it for good, not evil.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article about intentional development!
About the author:
Calvin is the creator of BuildBetterTeams.org, a writer, and a Technology Leader in the FinTech industry. He is passionate about leadership and helping people build an unstoppable team so that their business and product can thrive. Transitioning from a software engineer to leading a development team is a tough task. Even harder, is growing a large-scale team where everyone knows their role, works collaboratively, executes at a high level, and has fun. If you are looking to accelerate your leadership development and if you want to build a team that you are proud of, follow Calvin and join us at BuildBetterTeams.org!