Through the Looking Glass
Leadership and Management
Of all the things that players mentioned, one came up over and over again. Of the 400 responses, and this includes players who said "no, didn't learn anything", about 44 specifically described how they had become better leaders or team managers from their MMO experiences. Many of these players also specifically mentioned how this has helped them tangibly in their work lives, in terms of promotions or better pay-scales.
The following responses are insightful because several players articulate the specific skills that they have become better at from their MMO experiences. Another important thing to note is that these responses aren't only coming from teenagers who have few leadership and management experiences from real life. Players from all over the age range noted this change. And finally, I want to point out that no examples were given in the original phrasing of the question. In other words, this isn't a case of respondents flocking to examples in the question stem.
Leading Raids in EQ gave me the courage to take up project manager duties in the real world. I would attack each project as if I needed a raid of people to take it down, and would put together good teams of people to get the job done. EverQuest is directly responsible for me getting promoted and a MUCH better pay scale. [EQ2, F, 44]
I've honestly learned to be a far better manager by helping run a WoW guild. I lead game development teams in real life. I stopped running my WoW guild because I realized I would come home from work, try to play, and end up doing the same thing I do all day. It was stressful. WoW has helped me get better at resolving disputes, improving individual team members' performance, dealing quickly and fairly with problem children and prima donnas, managing results / rewards expectations, and communicating more clearly and effectively. [WoW, F, 41]
The game environments helped me realize that the only thing preventing me from being a leader in real life was a lack of self-confidence. I didn't believe I was old enough, or good enough, or capable enough. MMOs got me over that stumbling block. These days I'm comfortable leading teams of any size, whether it's ten people or one hundred. I've taken small tech teams (just a few engineers) into contract jobs and produced excellent results; I've been a department chair (with dozens of staff) for a non-profit convention with over twenty thousand attendees. Doesn't matter what size the task is, doesn't matter what size the team - if I can lead, I'll do well, and that makes me very happy. I have MMOs to thank. I might not have developed this way otherwise. [EO, M, 27]
I had never really thought of myself as a leader, or someone who naturally takes charge. After pouring myself into being a WoW guild leader for almost 2 years, I find myself taking on the role of arbiter, overseer for projects, personal counselor, and friend to a lot of people whom I've never actually met. This has translated into my personal life a great deal, as I've gained the confidence to begin acting upon leadership impulses in my workplace which have recently led to a promotion to upper management. [Anon]
I learned that I can be a leader. When I started playing World of Warcraft I never expected to gain any sort of prestige in a guild. When I finished with the game I was a class leader in a top end raiding guild. Since being a class leader I have received two promotions at work, one to crew trainer and another to shift manager. This is significant for me because people had always told me I was too shy to be a leader and not a very good teacher. MMOs have taught me how to manage people and resolve conflicts as well as how to pass my own skills on to others. [EQ2, F, 20]
In addition to high-level leadership and management, a related skill that several players brought up was learning how to work with and understand other people in team scenarios.
Before my MMO experience I preferred to work alone, but the tasks I ended up doing in the game taught me that I can work in a team just as well and even take the lead when needed or asked for. One Guild Leader promoting me to Class Leader because of my knowledge about that class and the resulting duties during raids (telling people of my class what to do) showed me more of my abilities that no amount of group assignments in school had ever managed to do. [WoW, F, 32]
Things like running guilds, or being leadership in one, these things really clue me in to the dynamics of group interaction. I've frequently found myself drawing on my online experiences to get along better with people at work. [WoW, M, 27]
Tags: boundary play (17) , leadership (14) , learning social skills (5) , online identity (3) , personal growth (3) , transfer offline (9)
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