I Have Corp Leadership Trained to Zero!
Posted by Corelin
As an EvE CEO as well as a leader in real life I like to think I understand some leadership fundamentals. First I think managing a small corp is a totally different kettle of fish than running a major alliance like Goonswarm or Morsus Mihi where a wide ruthless streak is necessary. When I talk about this I mean balancing Authority with Responsibility, or Entitlements to Services Owed. A leader who balances these well has already won half the battle; however as Elliot Ness (as played by Kevin Costner) said in the Untouchables, “surprise is half the battle. Many things are half the battle, losing is half the battle. Let’s think about what’s the whole battle!”
Practically every corporation in EvE falls under the sociological definition of a Tribe. A tribe runs between 20-120 members, possesses a defined, if usually somewhat informal hierarchy, (chief, medicine man, elders) follows a natural division of labor, everybody knows everybody, groups under that size tend to fade, groups over that size tend to fragment without stronger leadership means. Basically an informal arrangement of power only works in a fairly narrow size range. At the low end in the 20s or so at the high end a little over 100. If your corp (or alliance) is bigger than this you probably will not get a lot from this blog.
So what draws people to a good corporation? Opportunities to do what one wants – if you can help people do more of what they want, whether its mining or killing titans, you will always find friends. A good atmosphere – you cannot have fighting and backstabbing on a regular basis and still have a healthy corporation. Variety plays a large role as well – no one wants to sit on a gatecamp for 3 months running no matter how great the kills are; mixing in a roam or a hotdrop or even something off the wall like running an incursion site or clearing out a wormhole might make for a change of pace. Good leadership is key – an FC that wins more than he loses, an alliance forum-warrior that keeps the membership insulated from the politics of the alliance, a shoulder to cry on, whatever is needed for the corporation. The final thing to consider is all the “little things” – covering all the bases as far as stuff people don’t think about, whether its moving ships around, knowing how to make money in a new area, understanding the mechanics of your area of operations, or even knowing who to call when there’s something strange in the neighborhood.
I’m not going to talk a lot about opportunities or variety. These are broad topics and you should already know what you want to do and recruit with that in mind. Your hisec wardec corp will not mix well with then 50 miners that just applied to join. Variety is mostly just knowing what to do, and sensing when people need to mix it up. So we’ll start with atmosphere.
Maintaining a healthy atmosphere is crucial to your success. If someone is causing problems regularly, it can have a polarizing affect on your group as a whole. People will support him, and others will oppose him. Drama like this in your “house” can destroy a corp and a leader needs to act quickly to identify the root problem that caused it, whether it was an act or a pattern of behavior by one person. If it was a simple mistake, offer redress to the wronged party, get people to talk it out and move on. If it’s a pattern of behavior often the simplest solution is to boot the offending member. Remember, the Drama Llama is an outdoor pet!
However, it’s not all about solving problems. Sometimes it’s about stimulating activity, always being present on voice comms, organising activities and getting people to try new things to stir the pot and keep EvE Ennui from setting in. Sometimes its about bribing people, setting up contests and rewards, or other motivations. The key is to break up the distinctions. A lot of corps run into problems where the “elite” chat with each other; often in completely separate chat rooms, and the nooblets have no one to talk to and lose interest fast.
This leads directly into leadership. A good leader has to be empathic. They have to understand the mood, be insightful enough to honestly assess the reason for it and be strong enough to take the required steps to solve problems. Setting goals and moving towards them is crucially important for a corporation in EvE. Without an objective it’s all to easy to drift in EvE and get bored. Once you have a goal you need to develop a plan, or make someone do it for you. In addition showing actual in-game leadership is important. A good FC always has friends, and offers for bigger and better things. Someone who can organize industrial efforts to facilitate miners smoothly providing materials to industrialists and find the best market for the final products is going to be a popular fellow himself. Finally a leader should protect his charges. Seeing an alliance on the verge of failcascading he should either quietly start the evacuation, or at least get his people leaning that way. When someone makes an accusation against his corp or a member of it he should defend them at the very least until he gets the complete story. Finally a CEO has to be a big enough man to shoot his own dog. Sometimes one of your people really fucks up. Whether its shooting a blue, stealing someone’s stuff, leaving someone hanging out to dry or whatever, some things cannot be allowed. Make sure your people know and understand your philosophy on this; and when it’s time, pull the trigger yourself.
Yes its Old Yeller.
Finally a corporation needs to do the little things right. Operating at the end of a long tether in a wormhole, lowsec or null? Have a plan to replace ships. Teaching new people how to play? Have ships with the proper fits available and people who can hand them out. Doing intricate operations requiring specialized ships? Make sure you have lots of people who can fly the core ships needed, and make sure new people understand what is expected of them so they can prepare accordingly. Not every eventuality can be foreseen, but a bit of planning ahead can make or break a corporation.
PLANNING: DO IT!