Clan Leaders Make Excellent IT Leaders

August 4, 2011 -

An interesting article in IT News, a site dedicated to IT professionals, explains why being a team leader in an MMORPG or online game such as World of Warcraft or Battlefield is a good training tool for anyone that wants a leadership role in the field. The article highlights the kind of player that is either familiar with a given mission or map, and what skills they might exhibit. For example, somebody familiar with a particular raid in World of Warcraft might exhibit such skills as leadership, collaborative problem solving, situational awareness, dynamic engagement and practical goal orientation.

The problem is that most CIO's will say that the "biggest single challenge they face is a skills gap in these areas and that IT is very bad at developing these skills." At the same time, the article posits, current IT cultures actively suppress these skills" - referring to their disdain for people who play online games. Here's an important excerpt from the article:

"In short, current IT cultures actively suppress these skills. The command and control structure is hierarchical and formally articulated. By contrast, games are meritocracies. While it may seem to those more accustomed to traditional management techniques that cultivating such an environment will lead to anarchy and chaos, the truth is that game environments are highly structured, typically have many more rules than traditional work environments and the players are encouraged to develop strategies to thrive within those rule sets.

CIOs cannot wave a magic wand over the IT department and change all the behavioral norms so that leaders can emerge dynamically and teams will become instantly productive."

The article goes on to explain how CIO's can "take advantage of the gaming phenomenon." Examples include sponsoring gaming events, sending invitations to gamers in the organizations of "strategic customers and business partners," creating a community of gamers within their own organization, and - perhaps the most important of all - CIO's should try gaming for themselves so they can better understand how virtual behavior and skills really can translate to a work environment.

You can read the entire article on IT News.


Comments

Re: Clan Leaders Make Excellent IT Leaders

That's the problem though, isn't it?

Whilst I wouldn't call myself a natural "leader", I've learnt some skills from managing guilds and leading raids in World of Warcraft, but that doesn't mean I'd go and stick that on my CV.

In theory, the idea that games can teach leadership skills is fairly sound; Guild leaders can experience just as many issues as any IT leader can, but in practice, nobody gives a shit.

Unless the people in IT also play online games, I've found that they simply consider video game players to be small fries in comparison to their pieces of papers that apparently prove they're better than you.

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