Leadership Skills

11 Replies
Lady Nerium KT-S2
20 February, 2016, 5:34 AM UTC

Communication

The dictionary definition of the word says that it is the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs. It is activity by one organism that changes or has the potential to change the behavior of other organisms.


Both definitions are key to your success as a League Marshall.  It doesn’t matter what skill you have with game mechanics, the number of players in your league, or the size of your league's offense and defense – if you can’t communicate your instructions clearly, and listen to what your players tell you, your battle for ranking is probably lost before you even start.  


As a Marshall, you will need to be able to ask for information from your officers and players so you can make good decisions and plans, discuss any problems, find solutions, and give understandable instructions back to them.


There are some things to keep in mind though - your players may live in many different time zones, may not have the skills yet to understand or do what you are asking them to do, and some may have problems with English. You will have to find out what the issues are, and come up with ways to work around them. Explain in clear terms what you want your players to do. Your language needs to be simple, especially if you have non-English speakers in the league, so keep in mind that short words are easier to translate. 


When you issue instructions it is also good to include why it is to their benefit to do what you ask – the “what’s in it for me” effect. People respond better when they know you care what happens to them and are trying to help them do better. Positive words are better than negative words, and remember that a little recognition can go a long way.


A major consideration when you’re writing to the league as a whole, or to allies and even enemies, is courtesy. By courtesy I mean treating them with respect and concern for their viewpoints. Respect leads to friendly relations between people, and even an enemy will respond better when approached respectfully. This is a game, and it’s supposed to be a fun competition not a street brawl. Remember that you are representing your League, you are the “face” that other leagues will see, and reputation means a lot in Stormfall.


Leading a league can be difficult when tempers are high and the league has problems. You won’t have the nonverbal cues we normally have when speaking with people face to face. Being able to listen to what they say is key. You may “hear” what they are telling you, but not putting yourself in their shoes can cause problems. You may want to jump in and start to offer solutions before you fully understand what the real concerns of the speaker are and make the problem worse. We type one thing, the other person reads something else, and misunderstanding are sure to happen. It’s common for players to get frustrated and discouraged when things aren’t going right, so understanding their viewpoint and simply acknowledging their concerns can help calm things down. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t understand it.


Listening includes being open-minded to the ideas and opinions of others. This does not mean you have to agree, but you should listen and attempt to understand. We all have opinions and values that we believe in and it can be difficult to listen to the views of others when they contradict our's. The whole idea is that your league should be a team, and that means people of many different viewpoints will need to work together and use their individual skills for the good of the league. Just because somebody doesn’t think the same way you do, it doesn’t mean they are wrong. Accept that not everyone will agree with you, and agree to disagree for the good of the league.


It is important to be able to do the league management parts of your job as a Marshall well, but you also need to be able to tell others your thoughts on how the league can be improved, and then persuade your members to accomplish these goals. Presenting your ideas the right way by writing clearly, listening to feedback, and then convincing others to follow your plans can mean the difference between a smoothly working team, and a broken league that will soon self-destruct.


I think, therefore I game.
UTC +5:00
Mehnslayer
20 February, 2016, 5:52 AM UTC
Again, great post :) The community is lucky to have you helping out, I will pin this post.
E 'n la sua volontade è nostra pace
UTC +10:00
Lady Nerium KT-S2
29 February, 2016, 11:27 PM UTC

Leadership Styles

Leadership is less about your needs, and more about the needs of your players and the League you are leading. Your leadership style should be adapted to the particular demands of the situation, the people involved, and the particular challenges facing the League. A top Beacon holding league with experienced players may require a different type of leader than would a league that has less experienced players, and does not play as competitively.


There are two main leadership styles, the "autocratic" and the "permissive", but it is possible to combine the two styles according to the circumstances. Both styles should have their place in a leader's portfolio. The most effective leaders are flexible and can use the style that best meets the needs of the moment.




Autocratic Marshall's typically are in total control of the decision-making process and the idea's flow downwards.  Input from the lower ranks is very limited, and may not be taken into account in the planning process. The autocratic Marshall closely supervises those under him, and Captains and Commanders are generally expected to do as directed.


  • Commanding/Authoritarian -- This is a “military” or “top-down” style leadership – frequently used, but rarely effective in the long term. Because it uses the “stick” more often than the “carrot”, it can be very damaging to league morale. When the criticism exceeds the praise, people will find another league where they can enjoy the game instead of dreading their login. It can be highly effective in a crisis, but as a day to day leadership style, it can lead to a high player turnover and low general satisfaction in the league due to leadership’s “do as I say or you’re out” attitude. Players may feel that there is little or no room for discussion and complaining is not worth the effort. The lack of communication common to this dictatorial leadership style can kill a league. 

  • Paternalistic/Coaching -- This is a very “hands on” approach to leading, where the Marshall acts as a parental figure, and usually works closely with a select group of players, while generally ignoring others. This may work with players who show initiative and want to learn the advanced tactics, but not as well with players who are less motivated or experienced. Players are expected to become totally committed to what the leader believes and are not encouraged to take independent action. A majority of communication is downward, with the Marshall setting both the goals and the method to reach them. This can be perceived by some as “micromanaging”, and can undermine a player’s self-confidence, especially if the Marshall has strong opinions about the best methods to succeed. It can also give the appearance of playing favorites if the Marshall includes the players who are more likely to follow his directions and excludes those who object to the high level of control, or have other opinions.  

  • Goal Setter/Achiever -- In this style, the Marshall sets the league a high goal and is constantly pushing the players to meet it. They believe that players should "do as they do" and are obsessive about doing things better, faster, and harder. While he/she asks the same of everyone, it can put a lot of pressure on players who feel that they can’t meet the required standard. This style should be used carefully, because some players don’t respond well to this type of pressure; it can damage morale, and can lead to players quitting the game altogether, because they feel that they are failures because they can’t meet the Marshall’s standards. 





Permissive Marshall's allow for more flexibility in decision making and a looser control over the lower ranks. This type of Marshall is likely to invite the lower ranking players to give suggestions and opinions about league issues. Captains and Commanders will have a higher level of independence, and will be allowed to manage their duties without constant supervision. The permissive leader may provide general direction but allow players to define the details of how specific goals and operations are accomplished.  

  • Democratic -- Leaders will find solutions to problems by including all parties in the decision-making process. This style draws on each player’s knowledge and skills, and creates a group commitment to the resulting goals. This style can create more effective fighters and defenders because players feel that their contributions are accepted and appreciated, leading to an increase in group morale and higher daily participation. Democratic leadership can lead to better ideas and more creative solutions to problems. The democratic style of leadership still requires the Marshall to hold the final decision making power or it becomes “Leadership by Committee”. This can be disastrous in times of crisis, when a quick decision is needed. 

  • Laissez-faire/Absentee -- The Marshall will normally allow subordinates to find their own solutions, and while he/she provides assistance to accomplish their goals when asked, does not directly participate in decision making unless they request it. The Marshall will otherwise invest most of their attention to their own game-play. This style only works when the players are experienced, self-motivated, and trustworthy. It can be disastrous if the players are not experienced and independent players, and the Marshall can’t, or won’t, communicate with them on a regular basis. League chat tends to be sparse in a league of this type and players can feel abandoned and will leave for a more supportive league with a more visible leader. 

  • Visionary/Transformative --  A Marshall who follows this style of leading challenges and inspires their players with a sense of purpose and excitement. They work to create a vision of what they want the league to be, and communicate this idea to the group, motivating players towards a shared goal through personal charisma. This style is most appropriate when a league needs a new direction to succeed due to previous leadership problems or recent player or league issues. Visionary leaders tell players where the group is going, but not how it will get there – setting people free to innovate, experiment, and contribute their ideas towards the success of the league. The downside of this style is sometimes the very personality traits that make up a good Visionary leader can also be narcissistic tendencies, and make them over-sensitive to criticism, over-competitive, ethic's challenged, and isolated by their own success.  

  • Affiliative/ Transactional -- This style emphasizes the importance of team work, and requires the Marshall to intervene only when players do not meet their expected performance levels. This helps reduce the workload of a Marshall because they are only called on when players fail to meet the agreed upon standard or deviate from group expectations and the officers can't handle it. The Marshall gives rewards and praise for effort and achievement, in exchange for a certain level of performance. This can allow poor performance to go uncorrected though, because some players may feel that giving less than their full efforts is tolerated due to the seeming lack of accountability. This approach is particularly good when trying to improve team play, increase morale, improve communication or repair broken trust in leadership. It can encourage participation and innovation, but works better with a team of supporting officers who are able to behave in an impartial manner when enforcing policy, and are able to focus on a given situation without letting their emotions affect their decisions.  This can devolve into a "good cop/bad cop" situation if not handled carefully.


I think, therefore I game.
UTC +5:00
Nefer Nefergod
1 March, 2016, 5:43 AM UTC
I APPROVE !!!
ヴァーチャルだって 突き放さないで
UTC -7:00
Lady Nerium KT-S2
2 March, 2016, 9:20 AM UTC

Should I Start My Own League?


Some people think that being a league Marshall is a glamorous job, but the best description I can use for a leader's normal day is “it’s like herding cats.” Forget the glamour, and get out the lint roller if you're going to take on the job.


The first thing you need to decide is what the focus of your league might be. Do you want to pursue Beacons and fight to be in the top 10, leave all the wars to the big leagues and train new players, or something in between? Decide what you want to do, because some of your later decisions depend on this choice. Do you know game tactics and tricks well enough to pursue your goal of #1 rank? Do you have the patience to train new players? You need to take this into consideration before you start accepting players.


It is possible to improve your game skills, but if you really don’t have the personality for leading, then it’s best to know it now, before other people are depending on you. Be honest with yourself; do you have the skills needed to follow through with what you want the league to be? Have you been a leader before, and do you know how to manage a full sized league and lead them to victory, or are you better suited to leading a small group of less experienced players? Know your limitations; your available time, money, and skills can determine what you can really handle. Good leadership requires a lot of all three.


What type of leader are you? Has your leadership style worked in the past, and if not, have you worked to understand your weaknesses and correct them? Can you be flexible enough to change your approach to a problem if the first option isn’t working, or will you fall back on old habits? Know who you are as a leader before you start a league. Read the previous post about leadership styles and the plus's and minus's of each style. 


If you don’t have enough game experience right now, do you have a plan to gain it? There are several ways – reading everything you can find about the game mechanics, talking to experienced players, or possibly getting a mentor to help you through the learning process. This will take time though – meanwhile, your players will be depending on you to make decisions that affect their success. Not understanding the game can be a disaster as a leader, so maybe you should wait and see if you can learn from a more experienced Leader.


You will need to recognize potential conflicts in your league before they happen, and learn how to prevent them. You will have to focus on your players. That means talking to them on a regular basis and getting to understand them, what they want, what they can do, what gets them excited, what makes them angry, and what you will need to do to keep them working towards your goal. Learn their strengths and weaknesses, and what motivates them, and keep all that in mind when you’re making your decisions. You'll need to be able to set policy that everyone can agree on, and be willing to enforce it for the good of the league, even if it affects friends. In the end, you’ll be accountable for the happiness of your players and the success of your league - so make sure you can handle the challenge. 


Can you build a team that you can work with? Find people to bring into officer positions who have the skills and specific experience you don’t so the whole league benefits. A Marshall is like the top of an iceberg - visible, but not the entire thing. The more minds put to a problem, the more possible solutions you’ll find, but you’ll need to find people able to work together and keep them all moving the same direction. You have to be willing to listen to your officers and follow through on their suggestions. Doing so improves the team relationship and the league benefits. The strongest leagues are run by leadership teams, and it’s the teamwork that builds their success. If you’re not willing to share responsibility, then you’ll fail as a leader.


Communication is key so be sure you can explain your goals, the way you intend to reach them, and are able to help people understand their place in the plan. You need to be accessible to your players and accept feedback from them on how you could improve, then put their ideas into effect. Make sure you can take time to help your players improve by giving them your feedback as well. You can’t wait until problems happen to let your players know how they’re doing. Honesty, respect, and open lines of communication will go a long way.


People like recognition, and they need respect if they’re to trust you as a leader, so you will have to be sure to give them both. You should always celebrate a win, and acknowledge the people who helped make it possible. No war is won by a single player, so you will need to let your players understand why the plan worked, and how they helped – the biggest successes are usually team efforts. No one ever left a league because they were praised too much for their accomplishments.


Leaders are only as successful as their teams, and great leaders know that with good teamwork everyone wins in the end. If you understood all the points I made, and can say "Yes, I can do that" then you may be ready for your own league. Good Luck!


I think, therefore I game.
UTC +5:00
JimR
3 March, 2016, 4:51 PM UTC

Lady Nerium KT-S2 said:


Communication

The dictionary definition of the word says that it is the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs. It is activity by one organism that changes or has the potential to change the behavior of other organisms.


Both definitions are key to your success as a League Marshall.  It doesn’t matter what skill you have with game mechanics, the number of players in your league, or the size of your league's offense and defense – if you can’t communicate your instructions clearly, and listen to what your players tell you, your battle for ranking is probably lost before you even start.  


As a Marshall, you will need to be able to ask for information from your officers and players so you can make good decisions and plans, discuss any problems, find solutions, and give understandable instructions back to them.


There are some things to keep in mind though - your players may live in many different time zones, may not have the skills yet to understand or do what you are asking them to do, and some may have problems with English. You will have to find out what the issues are, and come up with ways to work around them. Explain in clear terms what you want your players to do. Your language needs to be simple, especially if you have non-English speakers in the league, so keep in mind that short words are easier to translate. 


When you issue instructions it is also good to include why it is to their benefit to do what you ask – the “what’s in it for me” effect. People respond better when they know you care what happens to them and are trying to help them do better. Positive words are better than negative words, and remember that a little recognition can go a long way.


A major consideration when you’re writing to the league as a whole, or to allies and even enemies, is courtesy. By courtesy I mean treating them with respect and concern for their viewpoints. Respect leads to friendly relations between people, and even an enemy will respond better when approached respectfully. This is a game, and it’s supposed to be a fun competition not a street brawl. Remember that you are representing your League, you are the “face” that other leagues will see, and reputation means a lot in Stormfall.


Leading a league can be difficult when tempers are high and the league has problems. You won’t have the nonverbal cues we normally have when speaking with people face to face. Being able to listen to what they say is key. You may “hear” what they are telling you, but not putting yourself in their shoes can cause problems. You may want to jump in and start to offer solutions before you fully understand what the real concerns of the speaker are and make the problem worse. We type one thing, the other person reads something else, and misunderstanding are sure to happen. It’s common for players to get frustrated and discouraged when things aren’t going right, so understanding their viewpoint and simply acknowledging their concerns can help calm things down. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t understand it.


Listening includes being open-minded to the ideas and opinions of others. This does not mean you have to agree, but you should listen and attempt to understand. We all have opinions and values that we believe in and it can be difficult to listen to the views of others when they contradict our's. The whole idea is that your league should be a team, and that means people of many different viewpoints will need to work together and use their individual skills for the good of the league. Just because somebody doesn’t think the same way you do, it doesn’t mean they are wrong. Accept that not everyone will agree with you, and agree to disagree for the good of the league.


It is important to be able to do the league management parts of your job as a Marshall well, but you also need to be able to tell others your thoughts on how the league can be improved, and then persuade your members to accomplish these goals. Presenting your ideas the right way by writing clearly, listening to feedback, and then convincing others to follow your plans can mean the difference between a smoothly working team, and a broken league that will soon self-destruct.


Love the emphasis on team work.

This assumes communication and common goals.

Something that not only the leadership need but have to be handed down to the whole membership. In a chain as in the league - its strength depends on the weakest link.

Jim Roberts
UTC +2:00
Alyona Kolomiitseva
Community Manager
7 March, 2016, 2:08 PM UTC

Thank you for this outstanding guide. 

Being a leader is a hard task and some people just don'r know how to successfully manage the growing League and gain the authority. 

Some may have this in blood, but some may find your guide priceless.
Plarium Community Manager. Please note that I will be unable to respond to your private messages, review your tickets, or check your account information. All technical issues should be directed to our Support Team at plrm.me/Support_Plarium
UTC +2:00
Lady Nerium KT-S2
7 March, 2016, 6:07 PM UTC
I've seen too many leagues fall apart because the Marshall's don't understand what it takes to be a good leader. This is one time when sheer enthusiasm for the game isn't enough, you need the skills to back it up. Hopefully these posts will help someone improve, and help their league succeed. 
I think, therefore I game.
UTC +5:00
Alyona Kolomiitseva
Community Manager
9 March, 2016, 10:06 AM UTC
Lady Nerium KT-S2 said:

I've seen too many leagues fall apart because the Marshall's don't understand what it takes to be a good leader. This is one time when sheer enthusiasm for the game isn't enough, you need the skills to back it up. Hopefully these posts will help someone improve, and help their league succeed. 
Maybe you have a story to share about how it helped your League? I'm sure everybody would like to know.
Plarium Community Manager. Please note that I will be unable to respond to your private messages, review your tickets, or check your account information. All technical issues should be directed to our Support Team at plrm.me/Support_Plarium
UTC +2:00
havokerous
9 March, 2016, 10:46 PM UTC
Thanks for the intel...
UTC +2:00
Lady Nerium KT-S2
9 March, 2016, 11:09 PM UTC

Alyona Kolomiitseva said:


Lady Nerium KT-S2 said:


I've seen too many leagues fall apart because the Marshall's don't understand what it takes to be a good leader. This is one time when sheer enthusiasm for the game isn't enough, you need the skills to back it up. Hopefully these posts will help someone improve, and help their league succeed. 
Maybe you have a story to share about how it helped your League? I'm sure everybody would like to know.

The leaders I've seen making mistakes here are better left anonymous since some are still friends and I'm hoping they will improve in time. I've played this type of game for many years, usually as a leader or captain-equivalent , and I think I've played with leaders of all the styles at one point or another. I'm pleased to say that the current Marshall of  Knights Templar S2 is one of the best leaders I've had the privilege to work with over the years. He is able to combine multiple leadership styles as needed, and makes it look easy.  (He's probably blushing now, LoL)

Personally, the leaders I disliked most, and sometimes had to clean up after to save leagues (guilds,alliances, tribes etc.) were the Absentee, or the Narcissistic/Ego types (Visionary/Transformative). The first left their players abandoned when it got to be too much trouble to actually lead, and the second were only in it for the power rush, and players were used and dropped when they weren't any more benefit to the leader. Once the glory was gone, they moved on, or were run out of town once they made too many mistakes for their players to accept anymore.

I'm a team player at heart, and I believe that whatever helps the weakest player advance, helps the league as a whole grow stronger. If that means sending them resources to recruit, helping get scrolls so they can research higher Scroll Arts for better troops, or helping them learn the Battleground tactics - whatever is needed, it isn't a waste of time when it means they can fight harder and smarter.

I think, therefore I game.
UTC +5:00
Sergey Kryvorotchenko
Community Manager
10 March, 2016, 10:37 AM UTC

The leaders I've seen making mistakes here are better left anonymous since some are still friends and I'm hoping they will improve in time. I've played this type of game for many years, usually as a leader or captain-equivalent , and I think I've played with leaders of all the styles at one point or another. I'm pleased to say that the current Marshall of  Knights Templar S2 is one of the best leaders I've had the privilege to work with over the years. He is able to combine multiple leadership styles as needed, and makes it look easy.  (He's probably blushing now, LoL)

Personally, the leaders I disliked most, and sometimes had to clean up after to save leagues (guilds,alliances, tribes etc.) were the Absentee, or the Narcissistic/Ego types (Visionary/Transformative). The first left their players abandoned when it got to be too much trouble to actually lead, and the second were only in it for the power rush, and players were used and dropped when they weren't any more benefit to the leader. Once the glory was gone, they moved on, or were run out of town once they made too many mistakes for their players to accept anymore.

I'm a team player at heart, and I believe that whatever helps the weakest player advance, helps the league as a whole grow stronger. If that means sending them resources to recruit, helping get scrolls so they can research higher Scroll Arts for better troops, or helping them learn the Battleground tactics - whatever is needed, it isn't a waste of time when it means they can fight harder and smarter.

Every awesome guide is based on real experience :) 
Plarium Community Manager Please note that I will be unable to respond to your private messages, review your tickets, or check your account information. All technical issues should be directed to our Support Team at plrm.me/Plarium_Support
UTC +2:00
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