I posted this here in the regular TF2 forum due to the relationship with TF2 generally speaking.
So, 8 months ago I was enrolled through my workplace in a "leadership development" course which I graduated this Tuesday. The goal of the course was to foster relationships within my region (11 counties) and to foster "leadership characteristics" and other fluff like that, along with a service project.
As the course progressed I came to realize very quickly that most of what the course was teaching me, I had already been forced to learn through my time as a team leader in Tf2. For the briefest history possible I was a maincaller/team leader ~2010-2013 or so, and then I started to hand that role gradually over to other players as the meta strongly shifted away form having medics call in that way. But most of the day-to-day operation of the team fell on me until I joined Dheroes, and then I would periodically take the mantle back up. I thought perhaps ya'll would be interested in a few basic things that were discussed heavily in the course which directly apply to being an effective leader when it comes to TF2, or really anything. I got a good laugh out of the course because a hat based video game had already taught me most of what the course had to offer for free.
Here are some highlights:
- Being "present" and avoiding auto-pilot when you talk to people. I can't underscore enough how important it was to really value the time you spend with your teammates when you play and practice (if the objective is to be really good). There were lots of situations where people felt stepped on or abused because I wasn't paying attention to them, especially early on.
- Realizing that you have a group of diverse people all of whom have a different core objective - even when that objective looks the same as yours. "Winning" is usually the objective of a team, but what winning actually looks like can differ drastically from player to player and if you allow yourself to ignore that you're a bad leader.
- Being an example. I got Kermit to scrim I think in part because all of us showed up diligently. He didn't even really scrim before LAN.
- Consistent temperament so that your subordinates can "read you". Everybody has had that. You show up for scrims and somebody is just randomly in a crappy mood. It messes everything up. I honestly sucked at this too lots of time.
- Fairness and impartiality with rules. My own teams were night and day from Dheroes where I had never clearly set out what sorts of behaviors could lead to a player being cut or even what we looked for in other players, whereas all of that was explicitly laid out on Dheroes, and the culture of that particular team was very clearly outlined. Later on we would have the team of death in IM where I cut players because the universe literally tried to kill them, but that was a firm rule nonetheless.
- To seek counsel when you deal with a person's expertise. This is the #1 biggest takeaway I learned in tf2 and unfortunately killed several teams I played on because I didn't learn the lesson until too late. If you tell your scout or Rikachu you think they should do x, and they protest, *you* don't know better than they do, and if you insist that you do it's going to take them out of the game.
- To strive to allow your subordinates to express their individuality so long as the final product isn't affected. Yeah, your idiot roamer wanting to go spy at random is annoying, but you have to let him do it every now and again because its part of fostering trust and goodwill. But if they do random stupid stuff that is too much the other 5 people on the team suffer.
- Conduct and performance expectations should be issued in advance. This is a huge one for TF2. Discussing as a team what the objective of the team is in advance and making sure all 6 people on the team know what it is that the "leader" expects. Serious team? Scrims? etc etc.
- Praise accomplishments. I honestly really sucked at this at first too. When you're constantly looking for ways to improve you can get stuck in looking *only* for what your team is doing incorrectly. I learned right away from our young roamer Iarerobot that if I praised his good plays he always came back and played far better after.
- Prove that you can do. As a medic I learned really quickly that I would be a lot more respected by my teammates if I showed that I was attempting to git gud at soldier, demo, or scout and MGE'd with them or did some other activity in the same vein so as to show that I wasn't just chillin' waiting to follow them with a heal beam.
So there you have it. 8 months of leadership courses and how the lessons they taught us were all taught to me earlier by TF2. Have you found similar things to be true for yourself in that this crazy hat game taught you valuable real world skills that people pay to learn?