The Guild Master's Handbook: Top 3 Basic Leadership Styles for Guild Masters in MMORPGs
TOP 3 Leadership Styles for Guild Masters
The Many Skills of a Good Leader
Introduction to Leadership Styles
There are many leadership styles, ways to lead and organize many people and all of them have pros and cons. Leadership is an important and essential aspect of our world and due to this there is a lot of literature one can read outside of the MMO world that is extremely useful for Guild Masters. The following is a look at 3 basic styles of leadership and how to use each of them advantageously. The best Leaders use parts of all 3 styles. The three major types are:
1 The Authoritarian Leader
Basically this style of leader is controlling. It is my way or the highway. It is one thing if this type of leader who adopts authoritarianism actually knows how to do everything very well in an MMORPG. But this is rare. Moreover, a completely authoritarian leadership style does not work well in casual styled guilds, guilds that are not competitive and also ones that do not wish to make an impact on their server or control the economy.
Even if the style of the guild is elite, hardcore and competative - most people do not react well to these dictatorships. Contorlling everything also adds stress and far more work to the Guild Master. This type of Guild Leader will not change anything even if it is for the betterment of all concerned. It can work though but that is a complicated model and not for this article.
Suggestions and voting on issues does not happen, There is not democratic process here.
2 The Delegate Leader
Delegating simply means that the leader will give responsibilities to others. This is common. It makes for a better community as people feel needed and when given jobs and tasks to do and things to run and control on their own - they feel that they are a part of something other than being directed to do something without question. Typical roles that a leader delegates are to officers, crafters, treasurers, raid leaders, website managers, scouts, and even an assistant Guild Master.
Suggestions are listened to and at times voted on. When a member knows more about something than the leader - the leader acknowledges this and should promote the person to officer if that member is willing to help.
3 The Laissez Faire Leader
Here the leadership simply lets its members take care of themselves and does not get involved in much. It is important not to get involved in everything. Trying to control or manage all aspects of a guild is too consuming and personal issues with players and real life situations are not the leader's business. A certain distance is required from a leader from the membership in very large guilds.
Good Leadership Requires Team Support
Using Aspects of All 3 Styles Works Best
There are times when you need to be direct, command your members and have them follow you without question. This is especially important in massive PvP raids against large numbers of opponents. There is no room for questions and everyone should know what their role is and simply remain silent on voice chat and do as you say. If you have an Officer leading raids, the same applies. There is no time for open discussions simply because you are in massive combat in real time and must think quickly to adjust to the ever changing battle.
However, guild meetings, officer meetings and discussions with members is very important. Listening to them and acknowledging that they exist and can potentially make your team a better one and help you to achieve more is what needs to be done. Delegating work, officership and jobs is in fact a necessity. You need recruiters, scouts, crafters, communications officers and supporting officers. You do not have to accept all the ideas, some of them will not be good or wise but listening is important. They will care more about the guild and respect you more. You can't give everyone what they want though. And you must remain strict about what your guild is and represents.
There are times to walk away from things. Drama is especially something that you can ignore so long as it is not serious. If members fight, inform them to do so alone and not publicly. If they have great difficulty with another, send them to a communications officer who is good at resolving disputes. The only times you must intervene are when the member is in danger.
You will meet many people and most of them are well. But there are adults who suffer from alcoholism and mental illness. If the addiction or illness is upsetting everyone in the guild and the member is in trouble - you need to listen to them and advise them to remain sober while playing or to leave if their drinking is a problem for everyone else.
Also, if you have a player who is suicidal - you need to give them a help line number. And you need to try to get them to get help. It happens. However, if a player is so unwell and they are destroying your morale, and you have done everything possible - you can contact a game master and ask what to do. The game masters are online in game. They can help you. I have met many many types of people in MMORPGs and some were young soldiers back from war suffering from PTSD, they were sad and troubled. Our community was all they had. Remember that these people may be using the game as their only way to socialise.
Use all 3 leadership styles - they can all serve you in good ways for specific situations.
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Please remember that I did not know how to run a legion when I started off in 2004, I learned some of what I know from playing in other guilds. And some it from the very best types of guilds. It was only after many years that I was able to make a name for myself online and I did not do this alone. I had many friends, officers, assistants and just great people who helped me.
And without all of these people and my own personal experiences of what I like about certain guilds and what I absolutely hated about others - I would never have come up with something I am happy about.
Thanks for reading!
©Randall Jonas 2014
Definition of MMORPG for those new to this subject.
MMORPG: An MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) is an online video game where many people play together in real time as fantasy characters such as elves, dwarves, humans and others. The characters pick a class or profession like a warrior or wizard and beginning at level 1, progress to the highest level by doing quests alone or with others. Players can group up and also join guilds which are like teams or armies. These guilds form the social fabric of the game. Guilds go to war against an opposing faction ordinarily. You must choose a faction at the start when you create your character. It is like living in a fantasy world with a real economy and more.
The 3 basic forms of leadership were first outlined by Lewin in the following:
Lewin, K., Lippit, R. and White, R.K. (1939). Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created social climates. Journal of Social Psychology
© 2014 Randall Jonas