Originally posted on old forums by Hadoryu, I felt that it was something we could use on the new ones.
-=[ Hadoryu: ]=-
So I thought I'd post this and basically share some of my experience regarding successful leadership. The advice may not be universal, but I feel it may be helpful to people regardless.
Your goals (in priority):
o- Keeping it fun for other players
o- Maintaining a standard of behavior
o- Having fun yourself
That list should need no further elaboration. I think everyone can agree with this after they consider it for a while.
Q: I'll just restructure the administration, make new requirements, set new projects/clans/positions
A: - Sometimes you do need to make changes. Most of the time you don't. Most of the time you end up with a more elaborate, but ultimately more unwieldy system that requires constant upkeep from people. This runs counter to your first priority - updating projects, ghelps, clans and so on endlessly is not fun. Learning a whole new set of rules every time leadership changes is not fun. Your mileage may vary, I suppose, but in general it is just tedious. Avoid putting too much emphasis on administration, unless you're attempting to appeal to the hobbyist accountant demographic.
Q: I'll just ask everybody about their opinion before doing anything. Democracy is good!
A: - Sometimes it really isn't. A lot of the time really isn't. There are people with expertise you can and should be discussing things with, but running things through popular vote is a terrible idea. In the best case, you'll get nothing done. In the worst case, you'll dilute any message or purpose your guild might have had over the myriad interpretations of your members. In my experience, a heavily democratic rule ends in a GM that sits on their hands for the vast part of their reign, but manages to retain the position due to not making anyone too unhappy. This is in the general case a good way to kill activity in your organization and bore people to death.
Q: I'll make everything challenging, because that will mean my guild will be elite
A: - A lot of people somehow manage to succumb to this bad idea, despite the obvious issues with it. It goes without saying that it runs directly counter your very first priority. I suppose many think it's in service to priority number two, but that's another misconception. How do you make your guild actually elite? By having elite players in it. How do you make sure you have elite players in your guild? If your answer is 'by raising the bar to acceptance', you're wrong. You draw good players to your guild by creating a fun, accepting environment for them - by making them want to be in your guild. See, raising the bar can work in some real-life institutions and I suppose people are convinced that translates to here. But the truth is, the playerbase is horribly limited in comparison. You do not get a limited number of positions to fill, to justify screening people. Each and every guild in the game suffers from a lack of players. If you want to draw in good people, you have to lure them in, rather than 'keeping out the not so good.'
Q: This is not the same as having NO standards, of course. Disruptive people who degrade your guild's environment are fair game. But that has absolutely nothing to do with how many hoops they'll be willing to jump through. I'm taking care of handing out class and looking out for the newbs, that's all I'm supposed to be doing
A: - Wrong. That's what your HoN is supposed to be doing. What you're supposed to be doing is overseeing your HoN as just one of your activities. As a GM, you are the guild's most important representative, your guild's political voice and most importantly, your guild's attention focus. You run the parade. Handling newbies is a job, yes, but it's not at all the full extent of your responsibilities.
X - You're the big boss. Act like it.
- Invisible GMs are an acceptable compromise over terrible GMs. But a GM should first and foremost be aware of being the beating heart of their guild. You're the one person who can engage the people who are part of your organization. You're the one person who can tell them to get together and follow you while you lead them into something or other, the one person who can give a speech and the one person who can give orders. So many people have stated that the game is currently boring, unengaging etc. This will not change no matter how many class changes and historical events we see. Players have to interact with each other in order to be engaged in the game - and you as a GM are in a position to make that happen. I'd go so far as to say this is your biggest and most important job, because you're the only person with the authority to do it.
X - You might not have time. You might not have energy. But if you're a GM, you should at the very least be trying. Positive reinforcement beats negative reinforcement.
- Should you have punishments for unfavorable behavior? Yes. But if your role in the guild involves negative interaction more of then than it does positive, you are doing something terribly, terribly wrong. If you find yourself handing out punishments and berating as a major part of your function, you have a problem. Remember priority number one. If you want someone to do something, motivate them to do it via positive interaction and a promise of reward. Do not, absolutely do not, threaten guildmembers with punishment for failing to do a task that goes above their basic responsibilities. The idea here should be plainly obvious. Do you think you'll have more Novice Aides if all you do is punish NAs who don't live up to the job? Or do you figure you'll have more if you reward the ones who do well?
X - Treat your guildmates favorably.
- I've seen GMs forget that the people they're ordering around are their closest compatriots. I've seen GMs who are rougher on their own people than they are on enemies, for some misunderstood desire to appear 'respectable' to their foes. This is wrong. Treat your people with decency, defend them, support them. They're your people, your responsibility. You can think of them as family in a sense. You'll find them by far more willing to work with you if you display loyalty to them.
X - Be proactive.
- I really can't stress this enough. You're the guildmaster, what you say goes, if you can get the guildmembers to support you. A God saying something doesn't mean this is admin edict, it doesn't mean you have to drop the line of RP if it isn't in tune with their view. If the admin want you to not go in a direction, that will be made clear. Until you're being spoken to OOC, react IC, don't try to read hints into what Gods RP or what your history is. If you feel your guild needs to change to be more interesting, change it. It doesn't matter a whit that there is 'established RP' or that 'God X said it would be bad.'
X - Act decisively.
- A flip-flopping boss is the worst thing ever. If you're making a big change, have good reason for it and don't back out at the first sign of trouble. People will resent you if you're leading them in circles and you'll soon lose their trust and support. Additionally, nobody wants to readjust every month. When you do something, do it all the way and do it for good reason.
X - Have a sense for drama.
- The truth is, you need charisma to be a good leader. That's how it goes. You can follow every good bit of advice to its logical conclusion, but if you can't get people excited about it or if you make every change look bad for the sheer fact that you present it poorly, you'll still fail hard. Play to your audience and learn to sense the finer currents in your organization. Inspire, draw them in, make them feel like they're part of an important, exciting scene. If you can't break through the shell of apathy the general Aetolian has built up, you're not going to get anyone to do anything. Get people excited, even a little.