For those who are new to the blog, we are looking at theories of leadership, and how they apply to Eve Online. This is most applicable to people in Corp Leadership and Fleet Commanders, however if you are interested at looking behind the scenes of how organisations run in Eve then you may be interested in the article.
So over the last few posts we have looked at several methods of influence gaining a position of influence, and how to motivate people to follow your ideas once you are in a position of leadership. In this post we are looking at overarching leadership methodologies, and their pros and cons and some examples from Eve and Real Life.
Firstly we will look at 2 methods of influencing followers to further your own goals to their detriment.
Totalitarianism, is the use of direct control and force to quickly get results. The down side is that it builds resentment in your followers, and can turn your followers against you.
Next we look at Democracy and Freedom of Speech, and how they can easily be manipulated to control your followers. The advantage of this is that your followers do not resent you, as they feel that they are a part of the decision making process. This takes more work to establish the systems of control, but once established gives a far more powerful position of power to the leaders.
Thirdly we will look at the concept of mutually beneficial organisation. Developing a community in which everyone helps each other achieve their respective goals.
This is direct power. You use direct power and threat of punishment to enforce your ideas on your followers.
In real life, we are aware of many nations governments that are run as dictatorships.
In a government setting this often relies on use of police force, fines, prison, expulsion from a country, or even torture.
This is a simple form of government power. It gets very quick direct results, but it builds a divide between leaders and followers which is often followed by resentment and rebellion. Often in a totalitarian regime, the power of the leader must appear to be complete. Because of this the leader will tolerate no criticism, or discussion from the followers. The leader makes choices the followers follow.
This totalitarian power is exercised in our everyday lives in many other places. For example the military, most corporations, and many educational institutions.
The leaders make decisions, the followers follow. The followers are not given any role of participation in the decision making process. They just do what they are told. This creates a clear divide between the leaders and followers. As the followers are repeatedly not listened to, the followers feel that they are not valued by the leaders, this leads to a divide and to resentment.
When it comes to Eve there are many players who come from Real Life backgrounds, in the military, corporate leadership and from educational institutions. Many of these people end up in leadership roles in Eve. Often they bring with them a totalitarian leadership style.
There are also many Eve players who are not emotionally secure in themselves. Due to this they struggle to take criticism, or constructive feedback, and fall into a totalitarian leadership style. The problem with this is that by refusing to listen to others ideas and feedback, you are communicating to them that you do not value them. You are pushing people away, and building resentment.
When the people around you resent you, you have the choice to problem solve, build rapport, and rebuild the relationship, or you have the choice to manipulate the person.
People will still follow you, despite resenting you, as long as they feel that they are getting enough positive value from you despite, the abuse you give them.
You end up with a co dependent relationship not unlike a domestic violent relationship.
The dominant partner abuses the other, but the submissive partner stays in the relationship, because despite the abuse they still get some value from the relationship, be it money, or a house, or a sense of stability, or just a twisted need for attention.
You will often see these same abusive codependent relationships in totalitarian regimes, and many large Eve Alliances.
The leadership in the large alliance continually devalues and abuses the line members, but because the line members want the social status of being in a Elite PvP organisation they decide that it is worth it to put up with the abuse.
If you are trying to set up or run an abusive totalitarian organisation, then you can use the 5 Negative Motivators I wrote about in an earlier post.
These 5 Negative Motivators, are the carrot and stick that you will use to keep the line members interested enough to put up with your abuse.
Are you in an abusive relationship. Does your Significant Other (Alliance Leadership) listen to you, and value your ideas, feedback and contributions?
Democracy and Freedom as a tool for manipulation.
So perhaps you are sick of being devalued, and treated in an abusive manner by your leaders. Let’s go and escape our totalitarian nation and defect to a free democratic country. This way we will be free and will be listened to. Our ideas and opinions will be valued, and I can express them through freedom of speech and the right to vote.
If you give the appearance of democracy, but still have a select few maintaining control then you have all the power of a totalitarian government but without the resentment of the masses. It is harder to put this method of control into place, but once it is established it is relatively easy to maintain.
With this method of control the people that you are controlling and manipulating, actually support you and love you even.
This is far more effective than totalitarian control.
The key to it is to give the followers enough to keep them happy, but then to keep a lot more of the riches and power for your self.
You can give the people the right to vote. But make sure that all the candidates actually support your hidden agenda. To do this you create a system where you vet and control who can be elected, (Subtly). You have a system in place where the elected leaders fall strongly under your influence, this can be through any method of control.
For a real life example of this, we can look at recent national “democratic” elections in many western countries. To get elected you require huge amount of money to run an advertising campaign. To fund the campaign you need sponsorship by big business. Both parties that are running for election require this funding, and hence turn to big business for funding. So no matter which party wins, both parties are required to support the interests of big business.
Even if you dont want to go to the extremes of giving a democratic vote for leadership. There are many smaller ways in which you can give the impression of democracy. I have given examples in the earlier posts, about being open to criticism, allowing freedom of speech, and the freedom to criticise the government.
In Eve this can come down to many simple things.
If you have a set of rules of your corporation or for your fleet. Don’t just say these are the rules, follow them or be punished. If you state the rules then explain them and explain why they are beneficial, then you are engaging the people. You are valuing them as reasoning adults, and you are inviting them to the decision making process. If people have complaints, or criticism, listen to it, you do not necessarily need to do anything about it, but you do need to make the appearance of listening, and valuing their point of view.
If their criticism is challenging your power and hidden control, then you can use the technique of overabundance of information. Dont try and censor the offending criticism, instead draw attention away from it with distraction. Use a flood of irrelevant information to keep the attention of the people.
To do this effectively is the most important part of this method of control. In real life nations that do it most effectively have huge media sectors, that flood the nation with an overabundance of useless / irrelevant but interesting information. By controlling the flow of information, and by ensuring that there is a huge overabundance of it, it becomes very hard for the average person to sort the good stuff from the rubbish. People are overwhelmed, and are ready to reach out for help.
At this point you can establish experts who the people can trust to bring “good quality” news and information to the people, the experts sort through all the information and make sure that the people who follow them only get the good information, and that they are not bothered by the rubbish.
Once this system is established, it is very easy to maintain control.
For an example of the in Eve, lets have a quick look at The Mittani Dot Com. (Put on your tinfoil hats) This website gives the appearance of democracy, and freedom of speech. They run stories on opposing points of view of conflicts, and have an open comments section. This web site is an expert who filters through the masses of information about Eve in order to bring the important and “Good Quality” information to the discerning reader. There is also a huge amount of reviews and information about other games ect that are not related to Eve. An alliance having a website like this has a huge amount of power. The appearance of democratic choice and free speech only adds to this power.
Lets have a look at how a government using this Manipulative form of democracy can handle serious criticism.
If someone brings serious criticism upon your leadership bury it in a flood exciting other news. This news should be made up of several things.
1 Have a large amount of this news be pointless drivel.
2 A reasonable sized proportion be about how great your democracy is. Share stories, of people contributing ideas to the leadership. Share stories of how it is leadership by the people for the people. Give examples of times the government has taken of criticism and changed. Or even just stories of how you have succeeded in many areas.
3 Point out example of other groups doing what you are being accused of, and make sure that these other examples are worse.
4 What ever action you have taken that is being criticised, try and reframe it as a part of freedom and democracy. (Dont try this unless you do it well.)
i leave it up to the reader to decide whether sites like The Mittani Dot Com, are being used for this kind of narrative control, but any group that has a / multiple sites like this has an immense power to use democracy as a method of self serving control.
If you are a corp leader or even a fleet commander, you can also use these same methods to create a narrative of democracy and freedom. You can do this any communication platforms. Internal Forums, Reddit, Voice Comms. Share stories and use distraction to draw attention away from serious criticism. Respond to criticism openly when ever possible, but don’t be afraid to use information overload to drown out criticism that will affect your grip on power.
Or what ever you want to label this.
We have looked at how in a totalitarian government the use power and direct force for the benefit of the leaders. We also looked at how a “Free Democracy” is the most effective and powerful way to manipulate people for the gain of the leaders.
Lastly we will look at the concept of actually trying to do things for the good of the people. As in you me everybody. How can we do things so that everyone benefits.
It is very hard to police this. As we have seen above it is quite possible to give the appearance of democracy, while actually manipulating others for gain.
But as a concept it is possible. and in small groups it is very achievable. If every one tries to help everyone else achieve their goals, then every one benefits. If people are being selfish, try and talk to them about it, and role model how by helping others, others help you.
If you think that some people are becoming self centered or manipulative then feel free to pack up your things and go, perhaps a groups of you who are all like minded about helping each other could move on together and build a new organisation that has the culture that you want.
Be clear about what your goals are, both as individuals and as a group. If you can help each other achieve these goals then you are a good groups that matches, if you cannot help each other achieve these goals then some of you should find a group that can.
Help others as you wish to be helped your self, and you will be in a very powerful place.
Putting it into practice.
As a fleet commander, how do you interact with your fleet? Do you take on their feedback? Are you willing to admit when you made mistakes? Is fleet commanding about you or is it about your people? Are you trying to feel good about your self for being a mighty leader? Are you chasing reputation, and great kil board stats? Or are you trying to help your fleet mates? Are you providing them content? Are you providing them with educational experiences? Are you valuing them as a person, or are you treating them as a pawn in your game?
As a pilot, how do people in positions of influence treat you? Are they adding value to you as a person, as a player? Are they directly, abusing you are indirectly manipulating you for their benefit? What are you getting out of the relationship? is it worth it? can you get better treatment elsewhere? Have you communicated your concerns? Have you given the person of influence a chance to adjust the way they do things?
It is never too late or early to start building influence. Every action that you take that adds value to another person, builds your influence. Will you proactively build a positive or negative influence for your self? Once you have influence how will you use it?
Will you use it to add more value to people or will you use it for your own gain?
If the people currently in positions of influence are negative leaders, then why not start to build your own influence by adding value to the people around you, then once you are ready, get together a group who are better suited to helping each other out. You can find a group that is better suited to your goals, or why not start your own group that can work together and each help each other achieve your respective goals?