Contemplating Leadership

I never thought I would write about such a topic, but here I am.  For the first time in my life I’m entering management.  I’m co-team lead of a team of roughly thirty people and our job is to make sure that those people have enough work to do, have the resources they need to do that work, and also get rewarded when they do well.  If they do poorly, then they need the support to get back on track.

Always before I have worked under someone else, having no one but myself to be responsible for.  However, I have thought about leadershp a lot and have always wondered what kind of a leader I would be.

So I’m doing some things to improve my chances at doing a good job.

-I’m listening to the wiser heads around me and trying to absorb what advice they have to share.

-I’m trying to believe them when they say ‘you’ll do great, you can handle this.’

-I am going to keep a record of everyone’s name and something about them so I can create connections.

-I’m going to be present, saying hello to everyone in the morning, and saying goodbye in the afternoon, walking the rows so that I’m seen.

-I will use all my resources so I can be organized and get everything done that I need to, so that I have more time to be a resource for my people.

-I will learn who is good at what, so I can continue to tailor tasks to individual skills.

-I will delegate some of the things I currently do so I have more time for my team.

-And finally, I’m going to learn everything I can about what they do so I can understand their challenges and help anticipate any problems that might come up.

Message in a Bottle

If you could write a message in a bottle to your former self, what would it be?

For the longest time, I didn’t have a clue.

Now, I know what I’d write to myself when I was in high school or early college.

I’d tell myself to find some career mentoring.  I’d also remind myself to take very good care of my teeth – those things are incredibly expensive to fix!  And I’d tell myself very gently that all this time I was spending in artistic pursuits wouldn’t mean anything if I didn’t push myself to actually improve.  I’d tell myself to get into weight lifting and a high protein diet when I went to college, and spend more time in STEM classes even if it meant getting a tutor.  Last of all, I’d remind myself that clearcut goals would let me go very far, instead of paddling around in low wage jobs for years after I got out.

I’d have quite a few things to say if I could throw a message to my former self.  Maybe she’d even read them and listen.  Who knows?

Now, here’s the more interesting question.  If you could write a message in a bottle to your future self, what would it be?  Put another way, imagine your future self.  What things would they have wanted you to know now?

Everything we do right now is a message to our future self.  How much care we take of ourself, how much money we save, how much we learn every day, what we do in our spare time, everything.

It can be useful and even fun to think about the future self we are creating at this very moment.

How Gaming Translated Into Personal Success

I’ll be perfectly honest here. I didn’t learn much about perseverance while in school. I also didn’t learn much about successfully finishing projects. I learned those things later, when I got into online gaming, particularly breeding sims like Aywas, LioDen, Horse Isle, and yes, that granddaddy of all games, the one that started it all for me, Howrse.  It sounds silly to me, but it’s really true.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that consistent effort is more important than  a large amount of effort that is sporadic. I have achieved great things in online games by just doing something a little every day and setting good goals. Whether that’s earning game currency, building experience, or collecting items, it doesn’t take long before that effort adds up.  That has translated into novels, complex pieces of art, a better job, a paid off car and a much nicer apartment that I had to save up for.

I’ve learned patience as well. Usually, in online games, there are tedious tasks that you must do over and over in order to get some kind of reward. In games, as in life, patience usually yields good results.

I’ve learned to be a bit more comfortable with measuring myself against other people. I’ve also learned about leadership as I’ve come up with ideas other members of my gaming sites have enjoyed, and set up small events such as forum threads.  That has taught me much about taking the initiative.  I’ve also learned about communication and negotiation.

I’ve also learned a surprising amount about economics from games. I’ve learned about finding what people want, offering it at an attractive price, researching the competition, and keeping up with the trends. I’ve learned that the way to make money is to stay abreast of trends, recognize opportunities, and jump on them when they come. Then know how much things usually are going to cost, price just under that but not far below. This is especially important for freelancers. You want to be attractive to your clients, but not ruin the market by pricing so low that you devalue the service you provide. We see this in art – I could have a book cover created for $5, a task that used to cost hundreds.

Finally, I’ve learned about ways to make my offerings more attractive to other people.  I’ve learned about wording, ad copy, creating interesting and eye-catching graphics.

These lessons have caused me to put effort into my various projects, such as writing books or blogging, a little every day. I’m far better able to work at it without expecting immediate success or payoff. Consequently, my work is higher quality than before and I produce a lot more of it.  I credit much of that to learning patience and persistence from online games.

(Sometime I’ll write another article about how useful tabletop role playing has been!)

Horse Herd.PNG
Screenshot from Horse Isle II

via Daily Prompt: Translate