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Leadership, Growing Your Org, and Stepping Down

AktillumAktillum PhilippinesMember Posts: 1,368 @@ - Legendary Achaean
Hey folks. I wanted to write this post to share some of my personal thoughts on leadership and preparing your org for the future. These aren't necessarily "Memoirs from a Former CIJ Leader", nobody would want to read that (and it would be pretty boring honestly). Instead I just want to focus on some reflections I've had that I hope any future leaders of any org can draw from. Most of this will probably be applicable only to Houses, as city leadership is an entirely different ballgame.

I think the most important thing a House leader can do is focus on your novices above all. Novices whether they're true newbies or alts are the life of your House (duh). But true newbies play an important role. They're not just the future of your House, but Achaea as a whole. We all know that Achaea doesn't get many true newbies, and so we need to provide an environment that truly compels them to return. So what you need to do is drill the idea of interacting with novices into your House, really emphasize that true newbies need friends that keep them coming back to Achaea. The gameplay of Achaea is only half the reason people love Achaea - most of us truly love Achaea because we've established groups of friends here.

Your novice aides need to establish friendship with novices early on. I created a "reward" program in the CIJ where mentors get a little credit prize when their novices advance in rank. A small prize, like a total of 5 credits when their protege went from HR1 to HR5, but it worked. People spent a lot more time with their novices and took them shopping, bashing, invited them to drinks at the tavern. I also vastly simplified the CIJ requirements so novices didn't need to do essays or lengthy boring history stuff. Herbs, skills, a certain level, and I made sure they knew how to use Achaea's auto-curing. This might not work for every House but it certainly worked for the CIJ. We went from a completely dead House with 3 active members to about 15 - 20 people online during peak hours. There's a thread on statistics where the OP said that the CIJ was the #2 most active House for novices. This is how we got there. We provided an environment that allowed the novices to quickly establish rapport with senior members and feel a part of the family, from the moment they walked through our door.

The second most important thing is avoiding promotions based on personal friendships. This is a plague in Achaea, we all know that. Elections are decided by OOC friendships and bloodline ties. But as a leader, its your job to ensure that the people in positions of authority (especially HoN, your most important position) are truly qualified for the job because they truly care about the job, not because they're your friend. I once read a quote that said "A boss should never make friends with people below his station". I don't agree with that.
You do need to be able to view your friends in your org the same way you would view any other applicant for a position though, and judge them on their merits.

I promoted the quietest guy in our House to HoN, not because I knew him personally. I promoted him because when everyone else, my friends included, were asking me for the HoN person, that quiet guy was diligently working in the background, always available for novice interviews, and never once asked for recognition or promotion. Those are the people you want in your important positions. Think of positions like toys - people want them, and when they have them, they play with them for a while and then get bored. Its the people who feel a sense of duty and commitment, without really caring about promotion, that will work the hardest.

Stepping down from leadership is something a lot of people struggle with. We've seen crazy long reigns in Achaea, people holding leadership for 2 - 5 RL years. You can't accuse all of them of clinging to power, some were begged not to step down by House members. I only led the CIJ for 20 IG years, but 20 years was enough for me. It wasn't simply because boredom settled in after a while, but because I didn't want my leadership to make the House feel stale, and there's no reason to cling to power when you've trained the people under you to be completely capable of handling your job.

Here's the thing - stepping down from leadership is much like accepting you're going to die someday. See, people who are afraid of dying tend to have thoughts like, "will my family go on without me?", "will my friends miss me?", "what happens after death?". People in leadership have the exact same thoughts when considering stepping down. "Will my House go to shit without my leadership?", "will anyone care about me after I've stepped down?", "will the next leader be as effective as I was?". These thoughts, I promise you, are so vastly unimportant in the grand scheme of the universe. These thoughts come from a sort of egoism, the idea that you are the glue holding together the pieces of your org. You are afraid, subconsciously or consciously, that nobody in your org is good enough to fill your shoes. This is having a huge lack of faith in your underlings. If you were a good leader, then whoever steps up after you will have learned a lot from your good leadership examples. Your House will not go to shit. The world will continue on, with or without you. Relax, and accept that you did a good job, and by passing on the torch, you are allowing fresh new life to be breathed into your org.

My final advice to any future leaders is: Read books or online essays on what makes effective leadership. Look for words of inspiration from successful company CEOs. Dabble in Buddhism and learn to appreciate that the only constant is change. Sit outside and watch leaves fall from tree branches and study and truly appreciate how each leaf falls in a beautiful unique way, for only a short time, before it suddenly stops. That perfectly summarizes our own life journey.

ExelethrilPraxidesAereidhnaKyriellaRaemMediSarathaiJukilianIllyoseMishgulAlyanaSkyeBlujixapugTarausShirszaeKeiHellenTrillianaQuisseChiamKyrraRhiteDochithaSethZukoMannimarBluefBoosteyaMorroKakotas

Comments

  • TharvisTharvis The Land of Beer and Chocolate!Member Posts: 3,107 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Silas main reason you'd see people clinging to a position for 3-4-5 RL years is because of the honours line you get from holding a position for 100 consecutive IG years
    Aurora says, "Tharvis, why are you always breaking things?!"
    Artemis says, "You are so high maintenance, Tharvis, gosh."
    Tecton says, "It's still your fault, Tharvis."

  • SarathaiSarathai Member Posts: 2,139 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Tharvis said:
    @Silas main reason you'd see people clinging to a position for 3-4-5 RL years is because of the honours line you get from holding a position for 100 consecutive IG years
    Could always just make it something that the patron/matron has to actually do manually if it is actually thought of as deserved. Just clinging to power until you get it shouldn't count.
    - (Eleusis): Ellodin says, "The Fissure of Echoes is Sarathai's happy place."
    - With sharp, crackling tones, Kyrra tells you, "The ladies must love you immensely."
    - (Eleusian Ranger Techs): Savira says, "Most of the hard stuff seem to have this built in code like: If adventurer_hitting_me = "Sarathai" then send("terminate and selfdestruct")."
    - Makarios says, "Serve well and perish."
    - Xaden says, "Xaden confirmed scrub 2017."



    Tharvis
  • TharvisTharvis The Land of Beer and Chocolate!Member Posts: 3,107 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Sarathai that'd be the best way of doing it, yes, in my opinion a hardcoded honours line like that shouldn't exist, it just creates situations like we saw in one of the former eleusis houses when a HL literally clang desperately to a position, despite not really doing anything in said position anymore, saying that people could contest her after the 100year mark honours line had been given.

    I am full aware this person had IRL issues that prevented her from actually being active, but that is a point you step down at. Not a point where you beg people to let you stay and have them wallow in stagnancy just so you can have your honours line - regardless of whatever IRL circumstances you may be going through, letting an entire organisation sit in stagnancy or nearing stagnancy because of it is never an excuse
    Aurora says, "Tharvis, why are you always breaking things?!"
    Artemis says, "You are so high maintenance, Tharvis, gosh."
    Tecton says, "It's still your fault, Tharvis."

    Skye
  • SilasSilas Member Posts: 2,542 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I think it is done manually.

    TharvisOceanaHalosVerrucht
  • JukilianJukilian Member Posts: 1,579 @ - Epic Achaean
    Yes. Done manually.
    TharvisVerrucht
  • FaurFaur Member Posts: 157 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Silas said:
    I don't see why anybody would need to stay on as a leader for more than 30 years at a time. More than a full rl year of one guy's ideas pushing an org forward doesn't seem like a good idea for the leader or the org.

    It's so nice to get a break from leadership so you can enjoy the game again without all those trifling e-responsibilities.
    I wish I could remember when I WASN'T the WarChieftain for the Dwarves...
  • DochithaDochitha Member Posts: 1,391 @ - Epic Achaean
    @Aktillum Good points, you shared much more than power and stepping down.

    I left Achaea for like 5-6 RL years before returning. In the mean time I setup my own business and have a brilliant team serving our customers. The entire time I face problems and challenges and solved them reading books and attending seminars, learning from do-ers.

    The moment I come back to Achaea just a few months ago, I was totally amazed and astonished by how culture, houses, traditions are kept despite the fact that most houses changed leaderships, some houses are gone, new ones get created, even Shallam is gone and Targossas is latin to me. Then I realized House Structure, City Structure, the HHELP, CHELP files, and HRs, these all play their role systematically, along with the people in the orgs, makes everything amazing.

    Since then I am mirroring good things in Achaea into my business.

    To embrace "change" better and prepare for longetivity of a bigger purpose!
    AereidhnaNymunanBoosteya
  • ZukoZuko Member Posts: 730 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Just found this topic. Super inspiring!

    I'll be sure to keep these points in mind moving forward with my House and City positions.
  • VayneVayne Rhode IslandMember Posts: 1,897 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    A lot of what you said, @Tael, resonates with my experience as a leader, especially as HL of the Serpentlords. Looking back, I can see myself taking too much of a workload because I was concerned if I delegated it to others that it would not get done or get done in a wrong manner. Towards the end of my tenure, I had the epiphany that this was not tenable and tried to rest on my officers' capabilities.

    This unfortunately was the beginning of the end because of some internal struggles, but things worked pretty well for a while. I got heat because my HoN was close to Vayne and was accused of favoritism despite e individual in question doing an excellent job. My combat head never did any combat, so I decided to remove them which ignited the powder keg of resentment.

    The regime changed hands and things went down from there, but I took a chance and it did not pay off. I suppose my point is, it is hard to find people you trust and are capable sometimes, and leaders should be sure to be in open and constant communication with their officers to be on the same page and relate expectations and concerns. Team building is vital to an organizations success on every level.

    Another thing is to keep things interactive, as said, checklists are abominably dull, and do not challenge members or tap into their creativity. Free form, with general oversight and guidance worked wonders in the Crown Insititute, which in many ways has become the prototype for the Krymenian Academy, and allows a lot off opportunity for character development in tandem with the house itself.

    Likewise, I am a strong supported of @Tecton's push to eliminate essays from all requirements, simply because of the sheer stigma of the concept. Even if you like writing, essentially most requirements boil down to it anyway, essays just have this schoolhouse flashback inducing quality to them. The SL's finishing blow was the ridiculous amount of essays the new HoN pushed on novices who wanted to join a house supposedly composed of thieves, assassins, and spies.

    I would also encourage leaders to ensure their members have the chance to "own" their org. Do not try to carry the org, guide it. Give ample opportunities for members to participate, to contribute, and especially to be recognized and rewarded. One thing I am big on is momentous rank up ceremonies. Your novice graduated to HR3? Conduct an awesome ceremonial rite to cement his place in the house.

    Overall, administration and leadership are skills that do not come naturally. This is a good thread for people to get perspective. 
    image
  • AodfionnAodfionn Seattle, WAMember Posts: 1,216 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited July 2015
    Agree with @Jarrod that it's the HoN's job to focus on novices. Also agree with @Aktillum that HoN is by far the most important position in house leadership.

    HL's job is to have a vision for the house's direction and to go about achieving that in a way that it creates an environment where people feel like they want to participate and can do so without getting shit on. An environment where it's okay for everyone to make a mistake here and there, because we can all trust that leadership isn't going to skewer us for being on the wrong end of a learning experience.

    I would be an absolutely shit HL, in all likelihood, if I hadn't had the chance to sink and/or swim on my own with the Diaspora. I'm certainly far from perfect and the Harbingers aren't quite where I envision us being yet, but I shudder to think of what the current situation would look like if I'd not had the chance to test all of my crazy ideas out with a quasi-house in the first place.

    Edit: Also, stepping down. Anyone who dealt with playing an Eleusian in the past decade can attest to how absolutely crippling this can be to an organization. If you're not having fun and find yourself not wanting to step down, just fucking resign. Someone who has enthusiasm and will to do the job for 5 IG years is going to be better than someone who is just trying to avoid getting fired for 15. 
    Aurora says, "Are you drunk, Aodfionn?" 

    (The Targossian Academy): Halos says, "Go on! I need to feel the wind in my hair!"


    TharvisSilasHalos
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,891 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I basically just agree with everything @Tael has ever said. My greatest Mhaldor-regret is not getting to play with him more. And Keresis dying. Damn it, IRE. 
    I'm a postgraduate machine learning/cognitive psychology nerd now and am open to neato Achaea-based statistics/programming projects. PM me if you have any ideas.

    I'm currently working on an implementation of a pathfinding algorithm for blind sailors trying to navigate chops and dock at ports.
    SilasAntidasBoosteya
  • TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
    There are a number of leaders who have definitely done well over very long reigns.

    Amunet basically held the occultists together by sheer force of will for literal years. Though admittedly I don't think the delegation was necessarily great - which was one part of why the house basically fell apart after she went inactive. But still, she did great things for that house and I don't think her holding onto the title so long was in any way a negative thing.

    There are definitely leaders who stay in the position just for the sake of having the title, but there are also some Guido von Rossum-style BDFLs and, despite my whining about delegation issues, a lot of them are clearly pretty good for their orgs.
  • AodfionnAodfionn Seattle, WAMember Posts: 1,216 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    For every amunet, there is at least one Ashadra. 

    Maybe its just me. But I am generally of a mind that its better to cycle through new blood fairly regularly, even if that sentiment winds up being the basis upon which I get shown the door as HL. 

    Then again, this could be simply a reaction to having cut my teeth under two leaders who served for 7 and 3 RL years, respectively.  

    Aurora says, "Are you drunk, Aodfionn?" 

    (The Targossian Academy): Halos says, "Go on! I need to feel the wind in my hair!"


    TvistorBoosteya
  • AhmetAhmet Wherever I wanna beMember Posts: 3,370 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    *cough*Bonko*cough*
    Huh. Neat.
  • GawiGawi WashingtonMember Posts: 76 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I've never been one to want to be a leader. Not that I want to be a follower either, which probably makes no sense, but I hate being told what to do... With the Merchants I've always stepped up to help when needed. I've filled numerous roles when needed, I even ran for house leader once because it was sadly needed, even though I have never ever, in a million years wanted that burden on my shoulders, luckily I didn't win and it went to much more capable hands. I've always viewed leadership as something that was needed, not desired. I have always disliked the people who were the obvious 'I'm here because I want to tell you what to do, and you will bow down' type of people.

    From my numerous characters over the years and my time in realms over... something like 12 years now, one of the strongest leaders I have met has been @Verrucht though I won't go into all the details of why, what makes that statement rather funny is how much crap talk I hear about him from his own citizens. They whine and cry and complain about him, but Cyrene is not a tyranny, they can vote him out if they wanted. Cyrene is one of the biggest and most prosperous cities and there will always be whiners and complainers, but Verrucht still hold leadership so they must be complacent enough. 

    I think it can be good to cycle through leadership, sometimes it can be hard to do. Sometimes it isn't always good to do. In some cases like say Hashan, where the population is low it might be difficult, but at the same time, it is something that I think they need. With the Merchants it has been really difficult. We don't get the novice numbers being outside of a city that we used to. I try to encourage anyone I think has promise, and we have had some really good promise lately @Delios and @Prysala not that they are novices. 

    Not really sure if I had a point to this... hmm, but those are my jumbled thoughts.

  • LelielLeliel Member Posts: 170 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    @Ahmet We DO NOT SPEAK OF HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED.
    Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh hurty, duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh fighty, hurty, fighty, hurty, fighty, slicey, slicey, facey, kickey -

    art stream / twitter / ko-fi
  • TharvisTharvis The Land of Beer and Chocolate!Member Posts: 3,107 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Gawi it may be difficult with our lower population, but cycling through leadership still happens in hashan, some people just need a little boost to their confidence to step up.
    But, for the Somatikos (not sure about the Academy), it'll be an Oligarchy with a set duration you can be an Oligarch and a set duration you can be an Ascendant (more houses need this little rule) I think we agreed on 20 achaean years Ascendant and 40 Oligarch. - which is still long, come to think of it. Might tweak those numbers later
    Aurora says, "Tharvis, why are you always breaking things?!"
    Artemis says, "You are so high maintenance, Tharvis, gosh."
    Tecton says, "It's still your fault, Tharvis."

  • GawiGawi WashingtonMember Posts: 76 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    @Tharvis heh you say that you cycle through leadership that's funny. Yet look at the leadership of your city, then look at the leadership of your houses. Exactly the same! So either you had no other leadership in your city that would step up to lead your houses, or you trusted no one else.

    PraxidesBoosteya
  • TharvisTharvis The Land of Beer and Chocolate!Member Posts: 3,107 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Gawi said:
    @Tharvis heh you say that you cycle through leadership that's funny. Yet look at the leadership of your city, then look at the leadership of your houses. Exactly the same! So either you had no other leadership in your city that would step up to lead your houses, or you trusted no one else.
    house designing talks were originally just seneschal + houseleaders, then it became regents + houseleaders. This evolved through to being founders to get everything set up in the first few weeks. I personally have no intention of keeping the position of houseleader after we're done, once someone comes along who's willing to take up the burden.
    Aurora says, "Tharvis, why are you always breaking things?!"
    Artemis says, "You are so high maintenance, Tharvis, gosh."
    Tecton says, "It's still your fault, Tharvis."

  • KakotasKakotas Member Posts: 264 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Silas said:
    I don't see why anybody would need to stay on as a leader for more than 30 years at a time. More than a full rl year of one guy's ideas pushing an org forward doesn't seem like a good idea for the leader or the org.

    It's so nice to get a break from leadership so you can enjoy the game again without all those trifling e-responsibilities.
    Some of us like those responsibilities. Not necessarily all the time but a rotational system of leadership wouldn't be a bad idea especially at the higher ranks. The only trouble is then you have to have more higher level leaders and there are very few that meet that requirement.
    (Blades of Valour): He just has that Synbios Swagger enough said.
    (Blades of Valour): Draekar says: "Synbios if sunbeams sparkle off that I'll kill you where you stand."

    (Party) Halos says, "Disbar?"
    (Party) Draekar says, "You know here we have disbar."
    (Party) Draekar says, "And over there we have datbar."
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