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Author Monica Wofford says board games teach us a lot about others

Playing board games can teach players leadership lessons, expert says.
by Paula Burkes Modified: March 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm •  Published: March 4, 2014
/articleid/3939855/1/pictures/2365871">Photo - 
Monica Wofford

Monica Wofford

Vive la difference

Jane Sutter, chief executive of the Boys and Girls Club of Oklahoma County, said her staff plays board games with kids because they know many don’t get the opportunity at home. “Board games,” Sutter said, “teach children the importance of patience, taking turns, being a good loser and strategy.”

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from playing board games, Wofford says, is that your competitors, much like your coworkers, aren’t so much difficult as different from you. People need to learn to spot and manage their colleagues’ various behaviors and be fascinated, rather than frustrated, with them, she said.

I’ve experienced this myself. By playing Scrabble with my identical twin, I’ve learned patience. The deadline-driven journalist in me wants my sister to just make a decision already. But the analytical, process-driven, retired science teacher wants to take her sweet time to come up with a word that uses as many tiles, and gains as many points, as possible.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned not to discount other players. Literally proving there are many different ways to look at things, my daughter Jessica —from age 6 on—could spot words I didn’t see in Boggle, in which players attempt to find words in sequences of adjacent letters on a plastic grid.

Like in the game of Clue, people, Wofford said, give us clues all the time about their behaviors, including who they are, how they operate and what type of personality they have. “Pay attention, participate in the game and learn how to manage their behaviors,” she said.

As in the game of Life, workers make choices, such as accepting promotions that will influence their paths, Wofford said.

“Real life is about choosing. It’s not random,” she said, “and more than a roll of the dice.”

by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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Solitaire teaches you how a decision to play this card over that card right now might mean the difference between getting stuck, or being able to play all the cards and complete the game.”

Tim Hast,
Principal of Encore Life Skills LLC in Edmond


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