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Lords & Life: Honesty and Leadership

Opinion piece aka T waxes philosophically.

I believe in brutal honestly. I often say that I will not talk behind your back; I'll just say the uncomfortable stuff to your front. But it's a fine line. Many use honesty as a tool to hurt people yet still feel morally superior because they're "just telling the truth". Not cool, bro.

Additionally, this approach inspires some and defeats others. Trust your intuition as to who you can be savagly honest with and who needs kid gloves. If you've never done it before with someone, test the waters. Not everyone finds the harsh truth helpful. But for those who do, continue reading for an example of T's Tough Love.

Something to keep in mind is that text is a very dangerous form of communication. It can sometimes be the most effective because you have time to carefully compose exactly what you want to say, but the drawback is that you have zero body language for clues. You have zero inflection in your voice to indicate the true intention of your message.

Disclaimer: Do not attempt at home without a genuine desire to help someone as opposed to just kicking them when they're down. 

If your brutal honestly is intended to assist someone in seeing their actions in a different light in order to grow as a human being, proceed with caution. If you are looking to bring someone down a peg for the sake of making them look bad or making you look better, FO.

The Background
We have an R3 who is awesome. Extremely valuable member of the guild. Good fighter, good at events, good hunter, joins rallies, clicks help - pretty much everything you could hope for in a member's performance.

But... (you knew a but was coming) he can come across as an arrogant know-it-all jerk who oversteps his authority. Tricky to determine if he's just coming across this way because of the text conversion or if he legitimately is that jerk.

I had tested the waters with him previously and he seemed a good candidate for this approach.

The Opening Volly
Alright, [redacted]. As promised. I will not talk behind your back; I'll just say the uncomfortable stuff to your front. You said you wanted that, so here it is. Buckle up.

You're annoying the crap out of everyone. Leadership and members alike. There's not been a day this week that I haven't heard from someone in some way, "wtf is up with [redacted]?"

So I ask you: What. The. F. Is. Going. On?

I don't know if you've always been this way, but you're overstepping your authority. Here's the thing: you don't have any. Yes, you help out with basically everything. That's GREAT! I don't know if I've actually said it, but thank you for that. It's helpful and awesome. But it doesn't make you an authority figure in the guild. Sorry. It just doesn't.

You're active and knowlegable and a valuable member of the team, but you're not a leader. Do you know why you're not a leader? You didn't ask me why? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. You're not a leader because you act like it's owed to you.

Issue: Your guild mails are sarcastic and condescending.
My opinion: Successful leaders are not sarcastic or condescending to those they lead. There's a time and a place for everything.
- Humor can be a valuable communication tool. Sarcasm? Not so much. To much room for interpretation.
- No one likes to be talked down to. Yes. Admittedly, I can be condescending at times. It's usually toward the end of a situation after trying to be reasonable doesn't work. Or I'm hangry. It's something I'm working on. No one is perfect and there's always room for everyone to grow.

Issue: You demand respect.
My opinion: Successful leaders earn respect, get it when it's deserved, and keep a cool head if they're not getting it.
- If someone doesn't respect you, telling them they have to respect you will make them respect you less. Human nature. SHOW them why they should instead of telling them they have to.

Issue: You issue commands.
My opinion: Successful leaders set guidelines, make suggestions, and lead by example.
- Phrases like "Could you please..." and "Here's how I do it because [actual reason]" go a heck of a lot further than "You have to..." and "Do it this way because I said so."
- Never expect anyone to do something you're not willing or able to do yourself. You want someone to kill 5 level 1s a day? Kill 10. You want someone to get 1100 points in Guild Fest? Get 2100.
- But at the same time, don't brag about it. If they don't notice, oh well. If they do, simply state it as a fact *if they bring it up*. No need to boast.
- Doing the thing you're looking for other people to do AND not boasting about it will go a long way with the respect thing too.

Issue: You're trying too hard with the wrong people.
My opinion: Help those who want to improve.
- If someone doesn't want to learn, you cannot force them to. Genuinely do everything in your power to provide everyone with the tools for success and then they need to do the rest. If you provided them with the tools to succeed and they choose not to succeed, that's on them. In my world when you choose to fail, you get kicked out of the guild. In the real world...? Not so much. I have found that honest people with good intentions don't always prosper. Liars and cheats too often get ahead. Life just isn't fair. But I'm of the opinion that one should always try to make a positive impact if you're able.

Issue: You act like you're a leader. You're not a leader.
My opinion: This is different from taking on leadership responsibilities and proving you can do the job. This is about expecting the clout and respect that comes with leadership without having earned it.
- You definitely have skills and knowledge to help the guild. I don't think anyone would argue that point. But your attitude and trying to force people to notice you is not going to put you into a position to actually help. If this were an election and we polled the constituents, I'd wager the majority would say that, yes, you could do the job. But no, they would never vote for you. Do your best, earn trust and respect, and you'll get promoted.

Issue: You're never wrong.
My opinion: Successful leaders are okay with being wrong. They can admit they were wrong and they can admit when they don't know something.
- You don't need to lie or manipulate people to be more impressive. When you become a leader, you're the leader for a reason. As long as it's been earned in the first place, you don't need to put on false airs.
- But at the same time, a successful leader will never be wrong about the same thing twice. They will find out about the thing they don't know ASAP and never not know the second time it's asked. Learn from your mistakes and do your homework.
- Working your way to the top doesn't mean you know everything and it doesn't mean you're done growing. If those who look up to you and work under you are still growing (and they should be if everyone is going to continue to succeed), you need to grow too or one of two things will happen: they will outgrow you and overthrow you or they will outgrow you and leave. Either way, you lose. It's in your best interest to never sit on your laurels or take the people you lead for granted.

Whether it's intentional or just something that you need to be more aware of, these things need to change if your goal is to be a leader. If your goal isn't to be a leader, then you need to sit down and STFU because you're trying everyone's patience. Either way, I would encourage you to make some kind of change because the current situation is not working for anyone - not even you.

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

The Initial Reception
Not good.

Specifically when he responded that no one else felt this way and I told him that it wasn't just coming from me, but from many collectively.

But Then...
It was abundantly clear to me that my message was not coming across as intended. I switched tactics.

I sent a voice message. I basically said all of the same things I'd said initially, but with inflection my point seemed to come across much more clearly.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. If the right candidate and right situation presented itself, I absolutely would.

Would I change anything? I might go straight for the voice message. As I said earlier, text is amazingly difficult to portray your true emotions appropriately. Especially for something this potentially volatile. Being able to express yourself with more than words is definitely helpful.

Using honesty as a tool to help your friends and guildmates is an opportunity for everyone to grow. After all, you can't work on something that you don't know about. So be open to hearing the harsh truth when it's coming from a genuine place.

© Tormund ᵃᵏᵃ Ꭲ


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