Leadership – Through A TV Show?

Growing up, I was always keenly aware that I loved science.  I would ask my parents to buy every book on the shelf, if it had anything to do with science.  And I read them all.  Multiple times.  When I was told to go outside, I was often just looking at local wildlife, or playing with the dogs.  As I grew up, I tested well in the science field, particularly Biology, so I decided to go into that as my future profession.

One of the big things about science is you are trained to always ask questions – Why – To what extent – How will that effect the data – Etc…  Then, of course, observe and see what happens.  This of course extends to many aspects of life, including psychology.  I must admit, I am a people watcher.  Observing people is a lot like observing any other animal in the wild, you just have an infinitely larger variable, the human mind.

Which is one of the biggest problems with Guild Leadership.

You have to round up, and wrangle 25 (or 10) people to be on the same page long enough to take down that boss.  And for social guilds, you have to plan enough activities to keep 50+ people interested and logging on.  It certainly is not an easy task.

If you are seriously considering becoming a guild leader for the first time, there are two things that I recommend:  First is to get a copy of Lord of the Flies, and you know, actually read it.  Its a smallish book (if I remember rightly, it is only 230ish pages), but it speaks volumes, and is one of the great books of the last century.  It is about a group of boys who are marooned, and have to form a society.  I won’t spoil the entire story for you – it is a good, and very powerful read.

The second, and possibly more entertaining, is to watch the television show “Battlestar Galactica.”  Not the original (which I adore as well), but rather the remake.

I know, I know, you all are cynics and skeptics, but hear me out.

BSG isn’t really just a Sci-Fi series.  It really is more of a drama that happens to be set in space (a bit like star trek).  So, if you don’t really like the whole sci-fi genre, you might still just get hooked on this show.

Basically, the plot is similar to Lord of the Flies – the human civilization has been destroyed, and a small group of people (under 50,000) are left to build a civilization.  And of course, you can’t have drama without the drama, so they throw in “moles” that look just like humans, but are really the bad guys.  And here is the kicker – the humans know of the moles, but now who they are.  Boy doesn’t that set up a few plot kickers.

Right from the series start (which is actually 4 1-hour long shows – it was a Mini Series first), the heavy themes start in – Desperation, hope, fear, military/government oppression, civil unrest, religion.  Just about every critic that rates television shows said it was the best show that people were not watching (which is why it got canned).

I am currently 3/4 of the way through the 4th (and final) season.  I have watched the government structure that they have built melt down at least 3 times.  And that is why I am recommending you watch this.  There were clear signs each time, if you watch the subtleties that the writers are careful to weave into the story.  2/3 times it was because the government wasnt catering to the need of the many.  Once was because too much power was placed in one man’s hand.

I’m certainly not recommending that you model your guild leadership after a television show – lord oh lord how could that be a good idea?  No, i’m suggesting this show for you to observe and ask questions of your own guild leadership.

Is your guild leader often quiet, making snap decisions without consulting the officers (even if it is just a courtesy “hey, I’m going to try this”)?

Are your officers exerting a little too much power of the path of the guild?

Are the members not interacting?

Are there “Cliques” forming?

Are you getting a little too big for current leadership?

Is current leadership a little too big for your smaller guild?

And, most importantly – Are there any warning signs that I am missing?

I was fortunate enough to roll on Muradin, a mostly casual server, and have many friends in many guilds.  Unfortunately, I have talked to a few who said that their guild went from raiding in progressing (in whatever was current content) to disbanded in under 4 hours.

Society is a strange thing, if you think about it.  There are a ton of people who are working, if not together, then at least alongside one another for common goals – usually money or power.  There are a set of Social Contracts and rules that govern how we operate, so as to not seriously harm one another, and it works most of the time.

This is very much reflected in WoW, if on a smaller scale.  You don’t get better gear without raiding (or currently, running 5 man heroics).  You of course can’t do that without other people.  Even if you don’t have a guild, you can still progress only so far without cooperating in group situation.  This is a double edged sword, of course.  On one hand, you have 4, 9, or 24 other people to lean and depend upon.  But on the flip-side, you have 4, 9, or 24 other people who can totally flip out and ruin the game (or night, at the very least) for you.

2 Responses to “Leadership – Through A TV Show?”
  1. Lorgrath says:

    First of all, BSG is my favorite show of all time. Period. And I’m typically not into Star Trek type shows. Wait till you get to the last episode. So sad. Caprica is next up on my Netflix queue (it’s the prequel movie to BSG, soon to be another series on SyFy).

    /end nerd rant

    Secondly, and perhaps more relevant to your actual post, I remember going through the great schism of our guild and watching all my friends leave one by one, within the course of a week or so. I’m not sure if I could have done anything to stop it, since the trigger didn’t involve me or guild policies and was more based around incompatible personalities (and looking back, possibly loosely related to recruiting). All I can think of is what would have happened if you hadn’t stuck with us! Probably would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. So yes, indirectly, you saved the guild. Good job 🙂

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