Difference between revisions of "Leadership"

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(Created page with "THE GM I submit that "leadership" and "authority" are not the same things. Leadership is a sort of elected or consensually-recognized social status, involving looking to a give...")
 
 
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THE GM
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What sorts of leadership is needed in play? Here's a quick rattling-off of what I've observed.
I submit that "leadership" and "authority" are not the same things.  
 
  
Leadership is a sort of elected or consensually-recognized social status, involving looking to a given person's judgment about stuff. The key point about being a leader is that one can't grab and hold leadership; it is only granted, and it's always subject to revision by the led, at the very least through suggestions and even through non-painful transference of the role. That's important.
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'''social organizer'''
  
Authority is a division-of-labor issue. A lot of things need to get done in this particular endeavor, and you do this, and I do that, he does that other thing, and when X comes along, he and I will take care of that as well. This is best understood, I think, as a way for a person to know he or she does not have to do a certain thing, yet can rely upon it being done. One of the implications of looking at it this way is that challenging authority is not really done, not if everyone's doing his or her job, and suggestions are emphatically only suggestions.
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'''host'''
  
Start with centralizing leadership and centralizing authority, neither of which is a terrible thing as long as you don’t think of it as a default.
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'''rules-owner and introducer'''
  
Creative leader: Color and Reward
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'''creative leader'''
Procedure leader: Techniques
 
Primary authority holder, if any – application of a given Technique
 
  
If any of these functions are to be centralized in any formal way, then the order I've put them in (top-down) should indicate which supercedes which, looking at any two of them. And that going the other way is rife with potential social/structural flaws.
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'''social/procedural leader'''
  
I suggest that nesting the concepts from bottom-up causes problems for extremely basic social reasons, not specific to role-playing at all. Here's an example.
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'''player with specific authority'''
  
Let's say Bill is a good procedural leader, but happens not to be the person who holds situational authority in a particular game, who is James. James is thus nominally "the GM," and part of his job (in this game and group) is to set scenes and play NPCs. So, James goes ahead and sets a scene or has an NPC do something, but in a fashion that doesn't fit with what's been done or understood to be done so far. Bill steps in and says, wait a minute, that's not following the procedure, let's back up a minute. Wham. Power-struggle.
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Many of these can be disconnected from one another, i.e., they don't have to be done by the same person. Also, within any one of them, the role/function can shift from person to person among the group without causing terrible traumas.  
  
Why? Because, I suggest, everyone inherently knows that a thing is only fun insofar as someone doesn't violate the procedure everyone else thought was the way to do it. James' authority over doing it is inherently not the same, and not as powerful, as whoever-has-authority over how to do it.
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Once you figure that out, then you can stop dumping them all onto one person in a big intertwined mess of obligations.
  
However, in this case (gaming), everyone shares the same verbal illusion or delusion is that it does ("situational authority over the fiction emcompasses procedural leadership in general"). So James gets mad and everyone gets nervous, because (a) they want James to do his job, but (b) they do trust Bill in his understanding of the procedures of how Bill should do it. So now it's cognitive dissidence - by supporting Bill, they mistakenly think they'll undermine James in his function, but by supporting James, they correctly know that procedures will now be up for grabs, and they don't want that either. The whole concept of "the GM" then blankets this mess and turns it into an indigestible, stinking hummock.
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== In detail ==
  
If I'm right about that, then the worst-case scenario would be ...
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Role-playing does need a social organizer, who typically establishes the venue, makes sure people know about it, follows up on attendance, and perhaps even provides food and beverages.
  
a) Calling a person "the GM" because he or she holds the bulk of the four types of authority.
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Role-playing does need a creative leader as a kind of overseer, either at the start or ongoing or both. I don’t mean a controlling dictator or over-narrator. What I'm talking about is someone who, formally or informally, is looked to by the others as a reliable judge of what to do, or how it's going when under way, in aesthetic terms. It wholly depends on the others (i.e. it's informally "elected").
b) Then assuming that the same person, because he or she is "GM," automatically is the social/procedural leader; and continuing up, the creative leader (i.e. we smush the three creative subtypes together)
 
c) OK, now we look up to the social level and automatically smush all three social subtypes there together too (social organizer, host, rules-owner and suggester).
 
d) And finally, since this "GM" exists as a total helmsman over the smushed-together creative level, it is now presumed that he or she is also the main person involved in the smushed-together social level.
 
  
Gee, that's funny, the worst-case scenario seems to be what a whole lot of people do. So either I'm entirely wrong and all those people are happy as clams, or I'm pointing out some very negative embedded traditions in our hobby that should be reconsidered as soon as possible.
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Role-playing does need a social/procedural leader during play itself. The rules might say, "Now the person to the left takes the next turn," but in practice, someone real is actually monitoring whether this happens and reminding others, or correcting them.  
  
== External links ==
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How [[Authority]] is distributed, however, is entirely a [[Techniques]] matter and should be understand as subordinated to Leadership just as everything in that level is subordinated to everything in the [[Social Contract]] level.
2006 [http://indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=22268.0 You've Landed on Gaming Group "Park Place", Pay $15 Rent]
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== A problem ==
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Squishing them together
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Not dreadful or wrong necessarily, but it’s a lot more than people realize.
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== A bigger problem ==
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Confounding Leadership with Authority, which is a Techniques issue. See [[The GM]].

Latest revision as of 16:35, 17 July 2012

What sorts of leadership is needed in play? Here's a quick rattling-off of what I've observed.

social organizer

host

rules-owner and introducer

creative leader

social/procedural leader

player with specific authority

Many of these can be disconnected from one another, i.e., they don't have to be done by the same person. Also, within any one of them, the role/function can shift from person to person among the group without causing terrible traumas.

Once you figure that out, then you can stop dumping them all onto one person in a big intertwined mess of obligations.

In detail

Role-playing does need a social organizer, who typically establishes the venue, makes sure people know about it, follows up on attendance, and perhaps even provides food and beverages.

Role-playing does need a creative leader as a kind of overseer, either at the start or ongoing or both. I don’t mean a controlling dictator or over-narrator. What I'm talking about is someone who, formally or informally, is looked to by the others as a reliable judge of what to do, or how it's going when under way, in aesthetic terms. It wholly depends on the others (i.e. it's informally "elected").

Role-playing does need a social/procedural leader during play itself. The rules might say, "Now the person to the left takes the next turn," but in practice, someone real is actually monitoring whether this happens and reminding others, or correcting them.

How Authority is distributed, however, is entirely a Techniques matter and should be understand as subordinated to Leadership just as everything in that level is subordinated to everything in the Social Contract level.

A problem

Squishing them together

Not dreadful or wrong necessarily, but it’s a lot more than people realize.

A bigger problem

Confounding Leadership with Authority, which is a Techniques issue. See The GM.