Download the Mars Surface Rover Leadership Theory Background.


  • The importance of facilitative leadership
  • The six types of leadership roles
  • The science and psychology behind it 
  • An overview of the activity

leadership skills

Leadership in Action

Two versions of the game are available. In the leadership version, participants work in teams to construct a rover, led by a team member who (unknown to the rest of the team) adopts one of three contrasting leadership styles: traditional (command-and-control), passive, and collaborative. Each of the three styles engenders very different feelings and emotions among team members. And together, they provide a very real demonstration of the effects different styles can have on morale, motivation, and performance.

Enhance Collaboration

Both Teamwork and Leadership versions demonstrate, in a very practical and gratifying manner, the power of collaboration to enable participants to cultivate the mindset and behaviors integral to effective implementation. While each game has been designed to function independently, using them in tandem presents a more thorough, holistic picture of collaboration and the positive effects it has on employee engagement and productivity.

leadership skills


 Understand three prevalent leadership styles at play in the workplace and how they affect team performance

• Explore why Collaborative leadership is the best approach for long-term success.

• Create an individual plan to lead more collaboratively.

leadership skills


• Practice functioning in silos and contrast this experience with working collaboratively.

• Understand why silos weaken team performance and undermine the overall organization.

• Explore why collaborative teamwork is the best approach for long-term success.

• Create an individual plan to minimize silos and increase collaboration


Director of Student Leadership Development and Greek Affairds

Muhlenberg College

"I used the Mars Surface Rover activity with new professionals and upper-class students who supervise student residential advisors in the college's residence halls. Where so often these supervisors see team problems as the fault of the individual team members, the Mars Surface Rover activity opened them up to the possibility that their style of leadership might also be limiting team effectiveness. The activity provides easy-to-understand terminology about leadership styles as well as an opportunity for participants to reflect on their own styles in a non-threatening way.”


People Enablement Director


"Our session with Mars Surface Rover
was very successful! Mars demonstrates the
problems that arise when people work independently and, since we are trying to build teams, it provided excellent learning opportunities and practical takeaways. I will
definitely keep HRDQ in mind when we need these kinds of activities in the future."
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