How to Tell If You Are Destined to Be the House Boss or If You Are Just Being Bossy

moon goddess

I have a confession to make. My character’s house had the worst leader ever. The person was obnoxious, self-centered, and cared about one thing – making himself look better no matter who he stepped on as he climbed the ladder to success. I am ashamed to admit that the character was one of my own, and the time he served as house leader ranks as one of my all-time lows in all the time I’ve ever spent gaming.


The worst part was that I could not even see that he was being so overbearing and driving people away. It was not until most of the house membership left and that I woke up and saw the negative results of my actions, but by then it was too late. Adding insult to injury was the fact that the house secretaries were not even willing to take over when I decided to quit.


4 Musts for People in Leadership


If this sounds familiar, then perhaps you also had a leadership experience that proved you were better at being bossy than being the boss. Whether you are in a leadership position right now or planning a future in roleplay politics, here are some tips to help avoid you suffering through the same misfortune that I experienced.


Try to Be Patient – Leaders are patient people. Even if you are watching someone designated as your aide fumble through something you could do in half the time with twice the efficiency, if you do not give them the opportunity to do it for themselves then they will lose interest. If the end result is not what you had planned, it is not the end of the world and the person doing the work might surprise you – it could be a better end result!


Stop Trying to Be Perfect – The main reason why people are bossy is because they want things done right. When you are leading a group, mistakes within the group reflect poorly on the leadership – and that person is you! Your way is not always the perfect way, and it is certainly not always the best way. Sometimes it is better to suck up your pride and your desire to have everything done your way, the perfect way, and let someone else have a turn at leading.


Spend Time with People – People support those who they like and trust. But if you spend all your time holed up in your office, they can’t get to know you. And if people don’t know you, then it will be difficult for them to like and trust you. In return, spending time with people helps you get a better idea of who you can trust. This is important when building the next generation of leadership within your house or other organization.


Communicate with Membership – Whether you are having a full house meeting or just making a news post to the members of your house, honing your communication skills will go a long way in making people feel like valued members of the house. When disciplining members for misdeeds, then be sure and treat them with respect even if you are on the verge of ousting them. Even if they are unhappy now, you will leave them with a better lasting impression for it.


Ask for Feedback – Meet with your council of house secretaries or other leadership positions within the organization and discuss the state of affairs. Discuss future goals, and what you would like to see membership accomplish. Meetings are also a good time to discuss things that need attention, like an unruly house member or a change to house requirements. But also talk with new members to the house. When a member of leadership descends from their pedestal to talk to the younger members of the house, it makes that person feel important and keeps them coming back.


A Final Tip

So you think you are ready for leadership? Ask people whether or not they feel you would make a good leader. If they say no, ask them how you could improve. Even the harshest criticisms should be taken as constructively as possible to avoid flying off the handle, or worse a full-blown confrontation. When people see you are serious about wanting to serve your house, then they will be more likely to vote you into a leadership position.



About the Author

 Seth Grayson’s older brother introduced him to his first MUD game when they were teenagers and he has been playing ever since. His characters boast a great deal of leadership experience, some of which he once used on his personal resume in real life. When he isn’t playing his favorite Iron Realms Games or studying for his next college exam, you can find Seth whipping up lattes behind the counter at the local coffee shop.


I don't know if I would ever have the chops to be the leader of a guild but who knows what a little hard work can bring out of you.

so true

...funny how it seems...

We had a leader like this :(


that really has to suck

Maybe you still do.

Who would want to lead a guild anyway.


for the "powah!"

comes great responsibility. *sagenod*

The leaders of the houses have a lot of responsiblility. I'm not sure I would want to shoulder that much. I just like to have fun.

But not for me. I play games to avoid responsibility, not take more on.

and yet you are in a leader position, Darklyre. huh

So much for being stealthy.

Didn't have the option to decline with grace!


Was just messing with ya. You aren't the boss, which this article is talking about, just one of many leaders!


People that see the need and don't run away from it tend to be the best leaders


I always find I have no choice in the matter, regardless of the realm or character I always end up in some leadership capacity :< Try to avoid it so hard too...

being so awesome that you always end up in leadership? that just sucks! </sarcasm>

Though, at times it better to know when to run away..

That is exactly my thought.

I dunno if I've got it in me. All that responsibility. I'd like to help out a bit, though.

I don't know that the responsibility would be all that fun but like you said I would like to help out a bit if I could.


..Not sure if Bronislav would ever want that sort of weight on his shoulders.. :x

The responsibility!

good for ya, Bro!



I'm usually never fond of leaders since they tend to seem fairly distant. I have to agree with the "spend time with others" part due to that.

Who else is tempted to toss out the names of bad leaders and ask if one of them is Seth's?



there is a rant hidden in here, I suspect


leadership is hard to get down irl too, really. Heck, a lot of this could apply to a lot more situations


I agree!



meh, depends, really.

Well said!

I'm too inactive to ever lead, really

Me too - I try to play a couple of hours most days but when the same people are there every time you log on, you feel you are not puting the time ion to give a position the effort it deserves.

I'm in the same boat, I'm lucky to get 5 hours in per week




yay, new article. I really like how good they've been as of late

I agree! The quality of the articles has been really great recently.

Here's hoping it keeps up.


quality writers means quality articles!

True. Makes me wonder how they recruit.


lots of admin work.  where do i sign up?

it can be a fun position, just have to set up a functional org and delegate accordingly.

It's true, nicely set up orgs are much more reasonable to run. Organisation beforehand saves dull donkeywork later.







Good advice! I'd like to see more eaders follow along these tips. I've no aims to play politics, but I'd be far more likely to participate if more did.


Did the Guildmaster thing back in the day. I wasn't very mature then, so I'm sure it could've gone better!

Even if you were, I think recognizing that now is a good sign that you'd to better if you suddenly became a guildmaster today.


I don't aspire to that anymore, at least not like I used to! I'm content to be one of the masses.


i like the title

depending on the org, leadership can be a lot like babysitting

Leadership can kill the fun in any game.

It can.


And often does


It takes a certain type, I think. Some people find those sort of tasks more fun than other things.

I really agree with the "Spend Time with People" point. A guild likes to know that its leadership is active, and the best way to do that is to talk with people in it and make your presence known. If you have a big project in the works but never talk to anyone, they may just assume you're inactive, which can lead to problems during election time. Your secretaries aren't enough.. the broader your impact, the higher your chances of staying in office.

spend time with the people, should add and helping new players

Solid leadership advice, not just for organisations in MUDs, but also in RL

Definitely boss.


Be responsible when you are in a leadership position. If you know you are going dormant or cannot handle the work anymore, don't just disappear and let the others in doubt whether you are coming back or not, with work accumulating in the mean time. Step down or ask to be replaced.

This is a great article. Maybe one day Eilona will be the Lady of Nature leading the Druids! She's got a long way to go yet, though.

And whatever you do be sure to keep having fun. Isn't his why we play? If house leaders are having fun more and stressing out less then the doorway to the position would look less like a revolving door and more like a stationary door with rusty hinges.

That's 5 musts.  What the hell.

Actually, six, if you count the final tip!

If you count "Just the Tip"



I like it.

My point still stands, though.

very good advice

shameless credit post, but at least I'll be honest about it

good article

I think we all know people who could benifit from this advice

,,,we certainly do.

Credit comment.



leadership is one of those thankless, grindy jobs that are needed for things to run smoothly, are constantly complained about, but no one really wants to do. Like a referee in sports.

It doesn't have to be. There less interesting parts of most jobs but the other parts can make up for it. 

I don't think I have it in me to eve be an important leader, but who knows.

Give it a try

experience and you'll get it down in no time.

mostly you have to be willing to give up time and listen.

Good read





pls no



i enjoy reading about MUD games

the picture is good on this

how so?

how not?

Being a leader made me feel like I was working instead of having fun.

I sure would like to help out my House, but I doubt I'd be ready or experienced enough to do it.

respect and diligence




I had a problem with needing everything done right, and was reluctant to give up jobs sometimes, but in most cases, my biggest struggle was with people trying to push their way past rules and regulations, feeling they should be the exception to the laws. Sometimes, people will attack you just because you ARE the person in charge.

While that's true, try to remember that they are still worthwhile to the organization, and keep as objective a mindset about them as possible. Sometimes it's difficult, but that's part of what roleplay is for!

Excellent advices. Not just for a game, but for RL too...

Great article, and great comments as well. Filled with handy advice to keep in thought.

Still boss!

Ourania is so pretty



Too much of responsibility being the boss imho..

yep, takes alot of time

good points





what they said

I do my best, I always check in on those I'm leading, and I always ask those who are more experienced in leading and giving me tips in how to lay this path, and I make use of a skill that I am familiar enough with to employ far more easily if I'm not sure about something, and if it's a more appropriate path to delegate, I will take it, but I only take it IF it's a better choice than trying to keep a full hands-on approach to it, which I avoid doing in the first place's not  like I'm building a family clan with my project, I'm building what I hope will be a very big deal sometime in the my views are the only ones taken into account, then it won't be an ideal future for my project, it will me a future built for me exclusively..and that simply will NOT be tolerated, by myself or anyone else.

anyways...yeah..I am not afraid of having the input of those I lead, and with this input, I tend to temper my decisions with this input in mind, heh.

good content nonetheless!!


good content

are you one of the only people active in your house/guild?  Probably make a good enough leader then



also, just saying?  Love quest XP competition <3

Good read thanks





which house was that...

Good tips! I'd like to lead... well, something someday, so I'll keep these in mind

that article was so intense man

Some groups are seriously an-l retentive

Just bossy

I am in no way qualified to lead anything, thank you very much.

me neither, maybe one day


hate it when HLs and politicians act all high and mighty when they just recently got the job to begin with. And they always have to be so dead-set in their ways. No offence meant, but it still irks me.


Is there a stepping stone role in guilds that guild leaders tend to come from - like to Head of Newcomers tend to go on to lead guilds (not of course because they have the patience of a saint and are used to answering the most obvious questions)?


you can just not get interested in politics...

Comment rawr



i wouldn't be good as a leader

Leadership can be exhausting.

so intenste



I'll always look to help out, but I'm not really interested in -actively- gunning for anyone's position. If it happens, cool. If not... cool (maybe).


same applies to city... I'd like to be Tyrannus some day but yeah that's pretty far away heh

I don't know if I'd ever want to be Tyrannus


Send guild aides off on seemingly random quests in the dangerous parts of the middle of nowhere.

Approach novices with self contrived RP about them being the next messiah.

Make frivolous smack talk to other House leaders.

Mail house mates random gifts demanding they keep this crap out of my hidden secretary lounge/batcave/lair.

Public executions and the sacrificial offering of live cattle to our House diety will be mandatory with accompanied naked song and dance.

Interrupt house meetings for emergency fire drills.

Try to convince everyone my drunken stuppor is divine communication of a higher level of learning.

Engage in live combat with novices while they tutor skills from me exclaiming lets wrestle or hey are you following respect yo elders damnit! *thwap*

Call out on house chat asking how do I get into the house? who changed the locks on the house halls!?

Informative article and comments!