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Terra

Leadership

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Although AOL previously touched on some pointers for standing out, I wanted to write something more explicit on what determines an effective leader based on my experience. I've had the opportunity to witness many different kinds of leaders, and been the leader of many different kinds of Clans/Guilds/Divisions/Legions etc. And I've taken from those observations the qualities that best determine a good leader. Some people may have different opinions on what makes a good leader than what I outline here, that's fine, I'm simply stating what I've seen works.

Now when I talk about leadership, I mean being "A leader", not "The leader". Anyone can stick a title to themselves and call themselves the leader in a literal sense. But the figurative version of leadership, being "A leader", is perceived by the people who choose to follow them. It is the people who determine who a true leader is, not the individual themselves.

There is a difference between a boss and a leader. A boss is someone who makes people work for them. A leader is someone who makes people want to work for them. There are many bosses out there, both online and in real life, who seemingly lack all sense of leadership qualities whatsoever. People work better, and harder, for those they respect and want to work for, this creates a more productive community, again both online and in real life, although this is especially important online because everyone who works for our Clan is doing so voluntarily, and they are not going to work for anyone they can't respect.

I'm going to provide a small list of traits that I've seen all the most successful leaders have had.

 

1. Confidence

2. Decisiveness

3. Fair and Impartial

4. Altruistic

 

Confidence

People are naturally drawn towards security, they want to follow someone that they believe can protect them and their interests from all that drama, problems, and the evil danger of malicious pking players preying on the vulnerable. If a leader doubts themselves and their own choices, then other people will doubt them and their choices as well. On the reverse side, if a leader is visibly confident about their choices (even if they may not necessarily be 100% certain privately) then most people around them will have confidence in those choices as well. It is easier to be confident in your decisions if you assess each situation thoroughly and consider the effects/consequences of any potential decision you make.

There is a difference between confidence and arrogance. A confident person will believe in their choices and actions, but still consider the thoughts and opinions of others and be willing to change their course of action based on those if necessary. An arrogant person will believe in their choices and actions, and disregard the thoughts and opinions of others, believing most mistakenly that their own choices are always the best ones. Don't mix up the two.

 

Decisiveness

Decisiveness is an important leadership trait, and one that the vast majority of semi-leaders online actually lack. A decisive person is someone who identifies a problem and efficiently puts together a plan for dealing with it. This is different from recklessness though, being decisive doesn't necessarily mean that you deal with a problem immediately, before considering other options and opinions. It does mean that you have an idea, or ideas, on how a problem *can* be dealt with, so that when you meet with your Officers, co-leader, or trusted friends that you already have something on the table to offer them, and begin working on, rather than waiting for other people to come up with the solutions. A leader who can be decisive and pro-active will be able to deal with the problems of their Division more deftly, and with a lot less stress for everyone involved. This also means making the hard choices, and doing the things you know need to be done for the good of the community.

 

Fair and Impartial

A simple word but an exceedingly difficult concept. The truth is perfect equality is an ideal, much like perfection, in which it can never truly be achieved. However it doesn't mean we shouldn't do our best to strive for it anyway. When I mention "Fair and Impartial" I'm referring less to an end result and more about the process. No matter what you do you'll always come across a situation where someone feels you were being unfair, but as long as you follow a good process you can at least ensure that everyone has a fair opportunity. For starters, understand that there are always multiple sides to a situation. Hear and listen to every side. Give every accused a chance to explain themselves. Consider what people say, but base your decisions on facts and information, don't take any single person's word as proof, even if they are someone you implicitly trust. Even our smartest and most trusted friends can be mistaken from time to time. You don't necessarily need hard evidence or proof to talk to someone and say "Hey, this may or may not have happened but someone thinks it did, so just try to be careful", but you should never make a decision that carries permanent effects, such as a demotion, without solid evidence backing it up.

As long as you take the time to investigate and gather all available information before making a decision, things will usually turn out well. You may not be able to make that perfect decision, but you can make the best decision under the circumstances.

 

Altruistic

It has been said that those who don't covet the position of leadership are the ones who make the best leaders. I find this to be a half-truth. Some of the best leaders are those who prioritize the needs of the people and community under their care over their own desires and ambitions, which just so happens to generally be the people who don't actively seek out the role of leader. But this can also apply to people who do voluntarily take on the role as well. The important point is that a good leader understands that the thoughts and feelings of those that follow them *do* matter, and that a happy community is a healthy community. Every Division Leader in Overdosed is responsible for the members of their own Division (or Squad), and if any of those members are unhappy with something then it's the Division Leader's role to do what they can to try and accommodate them. Even if you don't like that member, or strongly disagree with how they do things. If a member has to be disciplined or removed from a Division, it should only be under circumstances where it is necessary for the good of the community (i.e. if they are rude, disrespectful, harassing other members). A Division Leader should be prepared to compromise their own ideas or agenda for the Division if those ideas are unappealing or upsetting to the members, there is almost always a way to change an idea in a way that makes people more comfortable while still largely achieving the result you are aiming for.

People who over-obsess with power, authority, or entitlement, often make unappealing leaders. Although people can still be attracted to their confidence, and such people can still end up as leaders in some form, they almost never make the most successful or memorable leaders.

 

To end off with, let me just say that the precedence of any Division is set by the manner in which a Division Leader conducts themselves. Everything begins and ends with the leader. If a leader is lax, lazy, and indifferent, then the general atmosphere of the Division will be lax, lazy, and indifferent, and most of the officers and co-leaders will follow suit. If the Division Leader is strict, this policy will eventually be adopted by those working under them. Same with how much effort a leader is willing to put into supporting the members of their Division, if they put in a lot of time and effort then gradually more members of their Division will follow suit (not always right away, but in time).

 

As a rule of thumb, do not ask anyone to do anything you would not be willing to do yourself. Do not hold anyone to expectations that you do not hold yourself to. Understanding those key points, and these leadership qualities, will help you become a better Division Leader. And with OD as a practice field, the leadership skills you develop here will carry on to apply towards everything else you do in life from now until the day you die.

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I really enjoyed the distinction of the boss and a leader in this post. I feel it is an accurate differentiator. I often times feel that in clans and other clubs/communities, a leader can get overshadowed by some of the work horses who produce numbers, when that work horses' inspiration and motivation was the leader who inspired them. I believe that clans and all organizations require those "work horse" kind of bosses and inspirational leaders who help to bring out the best in them. If a leader can help a person realize their potential and really excel, that is a great opportunity for that organization or Overdosed. Excellent points.

1. Confidence: A leader needs to be confident and sure in himself, but as Terra said, not cocky and extremely arrogant. This is a turn off for many folks. It is important that a leader stands by his or her principles, but can admit when they are right or wrong. Confidence does not mean always being right, but having the guts to admit when you are wrong from time to time as well.

2. Fair and Impartial: I definitely agree that a leader should maintain these qualities. Any leader who does not display these kinds of qualities faces opposition and will potentially have a lot of drama or "behind their back" talk about how they manage things. This is toxic in the clan, so potential leaders should be mindful of the principles of fairness and being impartial.

3. Altruistic: A leader always needs to look out for Overdosed and its best interests, even if he or she may have personal issues or objections to certain situations. As OD is a very large community with many different divisions, the overall health and stability of the whole clan should be what our leaders focus on. I feel our current leaders do an exemplary job of this from what I have seen.

Great post, great points. :)

Edited by AOL(OD)

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These are great points Terra that can help people in the clan and also in even the work places for management positions! Kudos! I know that definitely took you time to put together!

Thanks for the pointers!

Edited by Volcomroxy(OD)

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Thank you sirs.

If I had words to give you for your activity, helpfulness, and the amount you try to give to the world you'd of heard it months ago. Here I am, still speechless.

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If everyone is thinking alike, then someone is not thinking. --Patton  Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.  -- Patton (yes, he with Sun Tsu are some of my favorite philosophers).

 

It is difficult to lead, when one tries to see all sides and please everyone, one pleases no one. I like that our division leaders (D2 division is all I can comment on) keep a light touch. I have had troubles and boons in the past, and that consideration is given to the whole package, not to the immediate whim. 

 

All I have to add at the above points (all good, nothing I vehemently disagree with) is not to act hastily, always allow  some time to pass before a decision is made. Some things require immediate decision <and they are rare but require immediate decision>, but allow time to pass on some. Don't tell people how to solve a problem, say what needs to be done and they will often surprise you with their ingenuity and fairness.  

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True words. Speaking personally I do my best to refrain from interfering in the issues and management of any of our Divisions unless directly approached by someone, or in the very rare case that the integrity of the Clan as a whole is at risk. Sometimes a few people take it as a sign of indifference, an impression that we don't care about what happens, but I really feel it is for the best. To become better leaders people need to think and make their own decisions, and they need to see the consequences of those decisions, both good and bad. If all you do is tell people what to do and how to do it, then they'll never have an opportunity to learn to better think and judge for themselves.

 

We are all students of life. From the newest Enlisted, to the greater Division Leaders, to the highest Commanders, we all continue to grow and learn. And I appreciate that OD has become an environment that gives everyone of all ranks the room they need to do just that.

 

On an unrelated note, I think I'll clean up the post for this topic a bit, now that you brought my attention to it. A major forum update we did a year ago had the inconvenient side-effect of removing all spacing between paragraphs in posts, crunching them all together. Which unfortunately just looks awful and makes it harder to read.

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