So, you want your own empire? Part III

Star Wars Matte Painting –
Harrison Ellenshaw
via The Art of VFX

 

Researched, Written, Edited and Presented by

Tim

Come on now, you didn’t seriously think you were going to get through this without at least one Star Wars pic did you?

Good evening ladies, gentlemen and budding group leaders, I do hope your plans and schemes are progressing well?

So, after “So, you want your own empire?” and “So, you want your own empire? Part 2” we arrive at the concluding considerations. You have your core, you have your plan, you have your structure and the operational nature of your group pinned down – congratulations, we really need to look, now, at the single most important aspect of the entire process… YOU

What sort of leader are you going to be?

In any “team”, “task group”, “social club”, online or off-line group there needs to be leadership – without proper leadership you have a puddle of “jakshit”. Many groups will, ultimately, falter, if not fail in aim and purpose for a) lack of leadership, or b) improper application of leadership.

In making your group you have obviously made the statement, “I believe that I have what it takes to be a leader.” Now, it’s time to live up to that.

Leadership styles vary greatly dependent upon circumstances, purpose, goal and personal likes/dislikes. For example, if you are asked to head up a “task group” at work to establish the operating procedures for a new corporate requirement that you do not agree with you have two choices, 1) Be professional, give it everything you’ve got in order to get ‘corporate’ exactly what they want, or, 2) Give it only so much effort as is necessary to establish the fact that Corporate wants this but lead no change in methodology to reinforce and support that requirement… Where do you stand on such things?

Leading your own “group” is an entirely different animal. You have time, creativity, best intentions and passion invested… you don’t want it to fail because if it does that will be seen as a personal reflection on you… or does it? This is one of the unrealistic, subliminal pressures that “leaders” place on themselves if they haven’t fully considered the position.

Realise several things,

  • You are NOT infallible, you are a human being (yes, I know, Vampirism etc. notwithstanding)
  • You are NOT superhuman, much as you may like to consider yourself. You will get tired, angry, emo, hungry, thirsty, sleepy, overworked, downright frustrated and all other such things that occupy everyday life… don’t fight it, let it roll over you. The harder you try and tighten your grip the more grains of sand will run through your fingers.
  • You have, hopefully, installed A STAFF, be it big or small, to share your vision and passion and to help in the administration of the “group” when you are on “downtime”.
  • Take time out for YOU… you absolutely cannot be the best for anyone else unless you are the best you can be for yourself first.

    (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

    So, with the “think about number one” under consideration, how are you going to conduct your leadership role?

    In this there are a number of choices.
    “Democratic rule (meaning “rule of the people”) Oligarchy (meaning “rule of the few”) and Autocracy (a system of government in which supreme power,both social and political, is concentrated in the hands of one person.)”

    These are the three prime states of government, your task is to choose which one you intend to apply to your particular group.

    If, for example, you were to choose “Democracy” then you would necessarily have to decide what type of democracy you are going to employ. Will it be “‘Direct Democracy’ in which the people represent themselves and vote directly for new laws and public policy? Will it be “Representative Democracy” wherein the people or citizens of a country elect representatives to create and implement public policy? Will it be a “Totalitarian Democracy” which refers to a system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government?

…annnnnnnd so on and so forth…

“Nineteen Eighty-Four”
Umbrella-Rosenblum Films Production & Virgin Benelux in association with
Virgin Schallplatten and Virgin, 1984.

You may choose to simply say, “Screw y’all, I’m in charge and what I say goes…!!! End of discussion.” Hmmmm… think about that for a minute, how long do you think that will last if your members are independent, free-thinking and intelligent individuals?

You may choose to establish a “Council” of “Elders” to govern, wisely and democratically and represent, fairly and equally, all your members. In that you have to remember you can please some of the people some of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. That, unfortunately, is not possible.

The other determining factor in the make-up of a Council is, how many members do you have? Do you have 10, 20, 30? Up to Twenty persons and I would suggest you do not have need of a Council, it’s simply going to annoy people who don’t get put on “The Council”

Let’s say you have 50 or 100 members, now you’re starting to get into the realm of “Council” country. Managing a group of this size, and keeping it relevant and up-to-date can’t be done by one or two people, not effectively and if that happens you will see stagnation and boredom setting in, then people start drifting away.

Running a group is a juggling act, it’s kinda like being a parent, a confidante, a besty and a priest all rolled into one. Be advised, it is NOT easy, never will be. You WILL end up doing most of the work, along with a trusted 2 or 3 admins and you will find that, unless you can create a vibrant, stimulating and creative atmosphere, that there may be 100 on your membership list but only 15 or 20 will regularly be active at any given time.

This is the position where you need to re-examine the role, meaning, goals and aims of the group.

Img. source: Eastham Vacation Guide/ Robin Lehr

You can’t just make a sandcastle on a beach and hope it’s just gonna stay there by itself – social groups are the same.

Your decision of leadership style and practices will, ultimately, be the “make or break” of your group and so it becomes, as I said, the single most important consideration in forming a new group. From your “tiny acorn” we are all hoping “mighty oaks” will grow but don’t bet your house on it… so to speak.

The decision you make will also determine what sort of people your group is going to attract as members.

If you have a basic anarcho-thrash fest group governed by a sarcastic “upper echelon” then you will attract rat-bags, walking-attitude machines and mouths without brains.

If you have a quiet, well regulated, comfortable group then you will attract the relaxed, intelligent and respectable people… yes, you’ll get hordes of rat-bags, coat-tail riders and trolls coming along but with proper membership methodology you’ll be able to deal with the riff-raff easily.


Simply put, “as ye sow, so shall ye reap”.

As “Leader” of the group, house, enclave, order or whatever your organisation is it will be up to you to not only represent your “group” in the public arena but you will need to ensure that your co-leaders can do the same. If you want to run into the crowded space yelling, “I’m King/Queen Shinybritches Pre-eminent Scallywag the 3rd of the Munificent Royal Principality of Narcissism”wellummm…no one’s gonna actually stop ya.

I can pretty much guarantee that almost everyone’s going to sit at their monitors and do one of several things;

Breathe out a profane name directed at you and go someplace else.

Laugh hysterically and call their spouse/S.O. to the monitor and say, “OMFG… Look at this dick/shit/crap (insert preferred profanity)…!!!”

Groan loudly, outwardly, and write you off as an insane and completely unreasonable member of the race of Homo-Sapiens-Sapiens-Vampyrus.

Mutter (with or without eye-rolling) “Fuck me sideways, not again…!!!”, and leave for the refrigerator/television/book/s.o or other, more stimulating, endeavours.

TRUTH.

Your approach to your new found leadership role is going to require tact, diplomacy, discretion and intelligence or you will find that you and your entire group will be, by and large, ignored except for those folks YOU think are nuts.

In this it is absolutely no different to finding “street cred” – you prove yourself to be a sane and reasonable person and leader, you engage, sensibly, with the greater culture and you exercise respect and remember you are NOT the almighty’s greatest gift to Vampire kind (btw, a great many of us don’t even attribute the almighty… be careful there too eh?)

Reputation is built up over time, if you want a good one, or, alternatively, pretty much overnight if you want a bad one. FIRST IMPRESSIONS are vital here.

In conclusion:

If someone were to ask me what are the five most important thing a leader needs to do I would draw on over 20 years of experience in management roles and I would say to them,

1)   Be fair but be firm. Apply the rules equally across the board.

2)   Don’t start fights that you have no hope of winning, in fact, just don’t start fights.

3)   Don’t pretend to be something you’re not, people will see through you straightaway.

4)   Trust yourself, stick to your guns but if you’re found in the wrong ADMIT it.

5)   Give RESPECT to get RESPECT, it’s not an automatic right.

Outside of that your group, any group will, hopefully be a fluid, dynamic and ever changing entity, go with it, roll with it, be flexible and adapt your plan to accommodate the changing needs of your members and your co-leaders. That will give you the vibrant and pro-active base on which you will build your glittering Empire.

Img. source: SSQQ.com

Good fortune…!

Copyright RVL, 2018

Refs:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_forms_of_government

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