Introduction:

Emotional Intelligence Maze

Emotional Intelligence Maze is a twist on the adventure classic Path to Success (p. 321 of my book, Experiential Activities for Enhancing Emotional Intelligence) and Gridlock (from Teamwork and Teamplay, Cain & Joliff).  I've also heard it referred to as simply The Maze.  This variation takes the original activity one step further and directly connects it to emotional intelligence.

Props:

20 gym spots or other spot markers, a roll of masking tape and a marker, piece of paper to draw out your maze and path

Setup:

Prior to arranging your maze, write out the following message on a strip of masking tape: Emotional intelligence is being aware of your emotions, controlling your reactions and behaviors and having positive relationships with other people.  Divide this piece of tape into 8 to 11 parts (i.e. 1 piece may say Emotional Intelligence, another may say is being, and so on (see pictures)).  Places the strips of tape with the partial phrases on the steps, 1 strip per step.  There will still be more steps without the strips.  Arrange all spots in a grid (as shown above), with 4 columns and 5 rows.  Make sure to spread out the spots with the taped messages as these spots will create your pathway through the maze.  In the picture above, you can see the taped spots creating the path.  Once you have done this, make sure to draw a picture of your 5x4 square and the pathway through the maze.No one should see this solution but you! Make sure that the spots with the message are turned face down before the group arrives. The goal will be for the group to successfully figure out the correct path and get the entire group through the maze. When creating your maze, make sure to comply with the tules below in "The Action" section. 

Brief:

Emotional Intelligence is a measure of how well we can understand and handle emotions, both our own and those of others.  It also measures how well we control our behaviors and how well we establish and maintain relationships with other people.  Those who are high in emotional intelligence, probably do most of these things well.  Those who are lower in emotional intelligence likely struggle with one or more of these areas. Today, you are going to try to find the true path to higher emotional intelligence which in turn, will bring you more success in all areas of your life.

The Action

The rules of movement are as follows:

1. Only one player may be in the maze at any given time.

2. The group members must go in a predetermined order set by the group.  No one may re-enter the maze until all other participants have had their turn.

3. Movement can be forward, sideways or diagonal.  The path will never go backwards, never repeat a step and never skip a row or column.  Each successive step will be directly connected to the step before it.

4. You will let the person in the maze know if they have made a correct or incorrect step. If they have made a correct step, they can continue their turn. If they have made an incorrect step, they must immediately leave the maze.

5. (Optional) The activity must be completed in silence.

6. (Optional) The group will get 3 warnings for speaking.  After that, any further infractions will result in a penalty (I like to blindfold one participant).

Give your participants planning time before starting. The first person will begin with a randomly chosen step in the first row.

Once all participants have successfully gone through the maze, have them flip over and collect the spots that made up their path. These spots will all have part of the message on them. Their second task is to arrange the spots in the correct order so that they state the correct message.  I allow the group to talk during this phase.  Tell them that they have to have total consensus about the order.  Once they do, they can tell you they are done and you will check for accuracy.  Provide feedback about any spots placed incorrectly and continue the process until the group has the correct sentence spelled out. 

The Debrief:

*How did your group accomplish this challenge?

*What Emotional Intelligence skills were needed to successfully complete the task?

*Was it difficult not to speak? (If there were any penalties, discusss this as well!)

*How important was focusing?  Was it difficult?

*Even though you couldn't speak, you were able to communicate.  How? How did people (if they did) ask for help?

*How did you help your peers?

Variation:

You can use this activity to help participants learn about topics other than Emotional Intelligence by changing the message you put on the tape and the spots.

Team Building