(inspired by the cadence "I wanna be an Airborne Ranger")

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Failures in Leadership

At work just the other day I came across a friend who was working in a new area.  I joked about whether he’d been given any instruction on what needed to be done in this part of the store.  He responded, “Nope!  Once I saw where I was working I went up to Manager X and asked him what I needed to know.  He said just to ask the driver.  I get over here and the driver’s working here for the first time as well!  Dontcha love this place?!”

I chuckled because what my friend described is, sadly, typical at where I work.

“But Illy, what does this have to do with gaming?!”

Well, strange-voice-from-the-nether, let me keep going.

The other night in World of Tanks (WoT for short) we were in a battle in Clan Wars.  We were playing Highway and our ‘caller’* told our heavies to move into the city to engage the enemy.  Most of our E-100s moved into the same area and tried to engage.  The fight didn’t go well and our caller started yelling at us in TeamSpeak (TS for short). 

“Umm… Illy, again, where are you going with this?”

Seriously, strange-voice-from-the-nether, you’re starting to grind my gears.  The point in both is to highlight failures in leadership I’ve seen recently.

“Well, in the battle in WoT did you all fail to do what you were told?”

That’s the key… and like the example at work above, we were never really told what to do to begin with.  Our caller told the heavies to move in.  They did.  Then he started yelling at them because they weren’t going exactly where he wanted them to.  Had they ever practiced this, though?  No.  Did the caller cover this just in chat before the battle started?  No. 

We had never covered this in any way, shape, or form and yet it was our fault for failing to carry it out exactly as the caller wanted.

This is a sensitive issue for me because of my time in the Army.  While I was only in for a few years I was an NCO for over two and to be blunt the Army knows how to train small-unit leaders (the big ones, at the very top of the food chain, well… that’s another discussion for a later time and a different blog).

Leadership isn’t simply saying ‘do Y’ and expecting it to happen magically.  Think about that for a second.  No, really.  What magical trait do some people believe they possess that they think they can simply say something very brief and expect it to work?  It’s absurd, yet it’s so common.

On top of that when things don’t work it still boggles my mind that folks think yelling at folks will magically fix a problem.  As an NCO I never once had to raise my voice and I dealt with a lot of soldiers who were, well, not the brightest bunch.

The key with leadership is that it’s work, and too often IRL and especially in gaming over the last ten years I’ve come across far too many in leadership positions who don’t know how to or are unwilling to.  Instead they expect the slightest breath from their magical lips to make things miraculously come together and when they don’t (which is often the case) it’s the peons they’re forced to deal with who failed.

It’s just… pathetic, amateurish, sad, and so many other things.  I’ll write in a later post on what they should be doing  (as well as express my comments on ‘callers’).


* I put that in quotations because the role this plays in WoT just… bugs me.  It’s worthy of a post of its own but that’s for another time.

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