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Leadership Styles Your Team Needs


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Slides used at the lecture titled Leadership Styles Your Team Needs, as presented at the IGDA Leadership Forum in November 2010, by Joshua Howard.

Contact Joshua Howard at, and visit his blog on Leadership and Management at

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Leadership Styles Your Team Needs

  1. 1. { Leadership Styles Your Team Needs Joshua Howard IGDA Leadership Forum Nov 2010
  2. 2. Acting Interacting Players World Bartle’s MMO Player Model • The games industry is used to using models to help us build better games • Models help us understand the landscape of a given problem space
  3. 3. Player experience Hard Fun People Fun Easy Fun Serious Fun amuse fiero curiosity relax goal life open ended game The 4 Fun Keys © XEO Design • Another model that games industry is familiar with • This model is one of several that lets us understand the different kinds of fun • Different models for the same thing can shed different insights onto the same topic
  4. 4. • Understanding what your team needs and what your team wants is key to knowing what leadership style you should using • Develop a Leadership Strategy based on a Model of Needs & a Model of Wants • Not selling you these particular models • About the power of using models • Not training on a specific leadership strategy • About showing you how to come up with your own leadership strategy Premise We think a lot about the user experience in games, but don’t think enough about the employee experience
  5. 5. Developing your Leadership Strategy
  6. 6. Action Deliverable Result The ADR Equation All work can be broken into a Result, which is achieved (or not) by a Deliverable, which is the consequence of an Action.
  7. 7. Raise Money Product Built Make Money Use 3d Modeler 3d Model Created Model ready for Dev Applies at Any Scale Any task can be broken into many smaller ADR Equations
  8. 8. ADR is fractal Action Deliverable Result Action Deliverable Result Action Delive rable Result Action Delive rable Result Action Delive rable Result Action Delive rable Result Action Deliverable Result Action Delive rable Result Action Delive rable Result Action Delive rable Result Action Delive rable Result Action Deliverable Result Management’s job is to scale the ADR Equation appropriately for each given project and team/team member
  9. 9. • Before you could do a book report you had to learn to read • Your Teacher taught you to read • Your Teacher was your first manager Needs Parents are not Managers, because Parents offer unconditional love. What Managers offer – pay, rewards, etc. – is conditional, based on performance.
  10. 10. • Before we start anything we have to learn the basics • Then we develop those skills a little more • Then transition to the skill of using those skills • We need different kinds of help along the way Progression of Needs
  11. 11. TEACHER • Skill Acquisition •Learning how to do something you have never done before COACH • Skill Application •Applying the essential skills in diverse and less controlled situations MENTOR • Wisdom/Experience •Council of someone who has a deep understanding gained through iteration PEER • Perspective •Council of someone enough uninvolved to see things that otherwise would be missed Progression of Needs Model See Situational Leadership as more advanced take on this core idea
  12. 12. • Step 1: Diagnosis • Which role does your team need (for the task at hand)? • Step 2: Filling the Need • Provide the role, either personally, or through the application of other resources • Perhaps from within the team itself • Step 3: Validating the Diagnosis • If the team is still not making sufficient progress (on the task at hand) then consider an alternate diagnosis • Step 4: Re-evaluation • Before the next step make a new diagnosis • Don’t assume the team is in the same place, nor that they have moved further along Applying the Needs Model TEACHER COACH MENTOR PEER
  13. 13. • Not a value statement about how ‘good’ or ‘smart’ the team is • Is highly dependent upon the task at hand • Teams are often good at some things but not yet at others • Teams often contain their own Teachers, Coaches, and Mentors • Don’t assume they must be externally sourced • Find your natural default role, and be careful not to slide into it too often Needs Model Notes TEACHER COACH MENTOR PEER
  14. 14. What do they Want?
  15. 15. • Bartle’s Model applies to MMO players • Could it also apply to the work place? • Finding a useful model for you is the point • While useful for MMOs, perhaps Bartle’s model is not the best way to think about the workplace… Model of Motivations Acting Interacting Players World Bartle’s MMO Player Model “likes getting stuff done” “likes working with others” “likes doing new things” “likes winning most of all” Bartle’s Employee Model?
  16. 16. Secret to Success Hold yourself accountable with everyone Say what you are going to do Do It When asked what it takes to be successful and get promoted, this is the advice I have offered over and over again.
  17. 17. ‘Flip Success Over’ to see Wants Hold yourself accountable with everyone Say what you are going to do Do It Decide for yourself Pride in a job well done Knowing what you do matters Autonomy Mastery Purpose *See D. Pink’s “Drive” for more about these primary motivators * **
  18. 18. • Autonomy • Having the right to make decisions about your own work • Mastery • Feeling good about being good, and getting better at what you do • Purpose • Making a difference • At work and/or in the world Primary Motivators Autonomy Mastery Purpose
  19. 19. • In general, everyone wants these • Assumes certain conditions have already been met • Pay is sufficient that money is not a primary motivator • Essential needs already meet (safety, etc.) • Doesn’t distinguish between different individual motivators, but is a good broad tool Notes on Wants Autonomy Mastery Purpose
  20. 20. Putting it All Together Action Deliverable Result Results should have Purpose Deliverables provide opportunity for Mastery The Team deciding how to get a Result provides opportunity for Autonomy Teachers tend to operate on this end of the equation Coaches move closer to the Result Mentors provide feedback, not dictates Frame Results such that the Action and Deliverable are Self-discoverable Self-discoverable being dependent on where the team is on the Needs model Combining Needs & Wants leads to a ‘playbook’ – a Leadership Strategy
  21. 21. • ADR Equation gives us components to consider • Progression of Needs illustrates how needs are situation and team dependent • Secret to Success ‘flipped over’ is Model of Wants • Using models helps us create our own Leadership Strategy • Use these models, find or create your own, and commit to being a better leader Conclusion
  22. 22. Questions?
  23. 23. { {Resources • Situational Leadership • • “Drive” by Daniel H. Pink • • Bartle’s MMO Player Model • .htm • The 4 Fun Keys by XEO Design • Recommended Reading for growing Leaders • “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni • ysfunctions/ • “Freakonomics” by Levitt and Dubner • • “It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy” by Michael Abrashoff References {Contact • More from Joshua Howard • • Email • All material © 2010 Joshua Howard or their respective owners