Figured this would be a good topic – share your thoughts and tricks on leading orgs! Note, this refers to MUDs, and cities, but WoW guilds can snag a lot of the same ideas. Here are my tips:
– The “Oh?”: I use this all the time. People often want to talk. Invite them to elaborate, simply asking “Oh?” when they bring up a topic. Let them have their own, unbiased window to chat about an issue.
– On winning elections: Nobody ever follows my advice with this, but this WILL win you an election….and bring you into office with a powerhouse of ideas to work with: don’t ask for votes. Don’t rely on a post. Go to people, one by one, and ask them what they want and what they think. You’ll get some REALLY COOL ideas, and people will remember that you were the candidate that directly listened to them.
– Take feedback. Often. I actually turned this into an active scheme for my city, with credit/promotion rewards – feedback is super crucial to running an org well. You’d be surprised the type of things you’re overlooking, as well as the ideas you can snag.
– FUN > all. Don’t bankrupt your org, but don’t be afraid to splash out to ensure people have fun. Money or credits spent to make things fun are merely an investment in the game and individual characters…there IS a return on that investment, eventually.
– Focus on the positive. Don’t punish for not doing – reward for doing.
– Create a culture. Orgs thrive on an identity. Encourage memes and in-jokes, repeat motifs until they become canon. Treat NPCs like they are real and build up storylines for them. Really reinforce what your org is – a strong identity makes it easy and fun to participate.
– Encourage people. If someone wants to do something, find a way to make it happen. We’ve got a ton of tools at our disposal, and it’s pretty impressive what we can accomplish with a bit of crafting, RP and gumption. If someone wants to try something out, your first answer should be “Sure, lemme figure out how to make that work.” The more people you get engaged, the better your org will be.
– Exploit your rank. Being an org leader kinda puts you on a pedestal, and that’s a really useful thing to use as leverage. Taking a spin at the dunk tank, or giving a recruit an interview – that’s potent and leaves an impact. It carries a lot more weight than anyone else doing that, and you can and should play up that privilege.
– Wade in there. It’s super easy to get caught up in paperwork and delegation – make sure to make an appearance every now and then. Aetolian leadership is often heavily about the cult of personality – and if you fade away from an active presence, your org is going to dwindle in response.
– Ask people for favors. This is a weird psychology thing, but people tend to feel more loyal and aligned with you if you ask them to do you a favor. It shows that you trust them, and that they are part of the pack, etc etc psychology stuff. Let’s be honest – as a leader, you’re probably swamped with work as-is. This is a complete win-win: you get help and the person helping out feels great for being able to chip in.
– Don’t be afraid to be the butt of the joke. Some of my biggest successful events as a leader have ridden on me being a complete goof or taking a fall. People LOVE seeing their leader humanized and relateable – a spin in the dunk tank, reciting a silly poem, paid to not talk or change your title, these kind of things are great ways to get people excited and engaged. It doesn’t mean your org hates you – on the contrary, it means they love you. If they didn’t like you, they wouldn’t care about messing with you!
– Public praise, private condemnation. Obviously there are times when you need to step in and say tsk tsk, but for the most part try to keep punishment between you and the person being punished. There’s already a harsh sting to being punished – publicizing it makes it 10x as dramatic and painful. On the flip side, make praise super public! This tells people what’s good to do to earn rewards, it makes the praised person feel good (if they are privately praised, they are left wondering why they aren’t good enough to be recognized publicly), and it uplifts morale.
– Credits/gold are for spending. Don’t hoard. Share the wealth with your orgs. Earning gold/credits motivate people to login more. Stockpiling gold isn’t a priority – we don’t have a war system and there isn’t a need to buy a ton of troops at a moment’s notice. Spend that gold on citizens, or buildings, or whatever inspires RP and activity.
– Foster RP. This is probably my proudest achievement as a CL. Be a RP facilitator – toss out an open-ended activity/RP prompt. Create events that encourage people to interact in fun ways. RP is super engaging, and finding ways to inspire it is the crux of good event building. It’s not about the show – it’s about the interactions the show prompts.