These days I’ve been wearing a lot of hats when it comes to my small publishing business. When I decided to be more than an author it meant taking on a huge amount of responsibility in making everything work. I’ve become an editor, strategist, and a marketer. I’m still learning in all of those areas but for The Guild Leader’s Companion 2nd Edition I wanted to try something new: giving away a lot of the book for free. Over the next couple of months I’ll be releasing the book here on Epic Slant and on the product page for the book on Epic Slant Press. My goal is to show everyone that the book isn’t just about guilds and the guild leader. It really offers a lot of insight for leaders, officers, and curious members. It also provides me the opportunity to receive some direct feedback. I hope you enjoy it!
1.1 – The Organization Leader (Part one of three)
The first question I ask anyone who tells me they want to be a leader or officer is, “Why?” Furthermore, why would you want to take on this particular role? What could you possibly gain from it? That might sound like a simple set of questions, but in all honesty the “Whys” are everything. Before you take another step toward the title, you should be asking yourself why. What motivates you to become a leader?
In many cases, players develop a romanticized view of what it is like to be a leader. They see themselves as great dictators handing out commands and being followed. Their eyes light up with the notion of titles and authority over other players. By making the assumption that to be in charge is the grandest of things, players are almost always in for a rude awakening.
Being a leader is not a glorious profession. It is usually a thankless job that will frequently go unnoticed when you are doing well, while being horribly punishing when something goes wrong. The leader is a servant to the organization and is often treated as such. To succeed, you’ll have to make sacrifices in your gaming life and quite possibly in your real one as well. So if you’re looking to have an easy time, enjoy some luxuries, and lord a position over other players, you can stop reading right now. However, if you’re ready to take on the task and do what is necessary, then I’m going to help you do it.
Many times the role of organization leader is forced upon a person. Organizations are social groups that recognize the best, brightest, and most charismatic. It is only natural that players gravitate toward individuals like that and eventually see those individuals into power. The various means by which an individual becomes a leader are numerous, but the most common reason is that the current administration isn’t meeting the team’s needs. Either the current leader has lost interest and is unavailable or he was a person interested in the position without understanding the cost. If you think about it, every change in leadership boils down to those two things. It might look a little different, but those are always the core issues.
When I joined Iniquity, it was never my intent to be anything more than a member. In the past I had served as a class officer in Silent Redemption and filled other leadership roles in a few different guilds. I had had my fill—or so I thought. One of the Iniquity officers recognized potential in me (and also noted the lack of certain positive attributes in the founding leaders). I was asked to become an officer and I accepted. Eventually, the other three officers and I were running everything, but we still had to follow the whims of our often-absent and non-max-level leader. It was frustrating to us because he did far more harm than good. We had to decide if we wanted to take off and form our own guild or to organize some sort of coup. We did the latter and I was installed as the new guild leader. It was never my intention to seek leadership, but circumstances thrust it upon me and, if you’re reading this, it has probably been placed on you as well.
The key to being a leader is simpler than most might let on. What you have to remember is that there will be a whole lot of things coming at you at once. However, if you stick to five guiding virtues, you can take on everything. To make them easier to remember, I created the STAFF acronym. STAFF stands for Serenity, Transparency, Availability, Flexibility, and Fairness. I will explain each part to you and then give an example of how to apply it to virtually every situation.
Serenity is the most important part of being a leader. It is easy to become overly stressed about what happened in game and let it ruin your whole day. If you become flustered or annoyed, you’ll make worse decisions and do more harm than good. The key is to just let every situation happen and accept it with a steady hand. If two members leave the organization and say you’re a terrible leader, just politely wave goodbye and find two new members. If you fail at a raid for the twentieth time, try not to let it get to you, refocus, and try again. This isn’t easy to do! I also lose my cool sometimes, but, more often than not, I actively work to keep my head. Often the act of trying is enough. As the leader, you are always setting an example, so just trying is still going to be viewed positively. (c) 2012 Epic Slant Press
I hope you enjoyed this preview, the next part will be released in a few days. If you would like to participate in The Guild Leader’s Companion 2nd Edition Kickstarter campaign you can earn some unique rewards and have your organization or character immortalized in its pages.