This is part 3 of 4 in our Homebrew Leadership series.
First, a toast to our Forever DMs! We see you, we admire you, and we are in your debt.
Our Forever DMs are some of the greatest leaders among us. While they may not be the heroes inside our campaigns, they serve an important and collaborative role that we can all learn from in our leadership.
Leadership doesn’t require a title like “Dungeon Master” or “Game Master”, yet those titles reflect an often overlooked role in our work and our communities: to enable the vision of others and hold them accountable for it. These leaders may put their own vision on hold or proactively adapt their methods if that means greater success for the collective. They are able to walk into a situation or engage a team and anticipate their needs accordingly - often meeting those needs before they are even known to others.
In real life, many folks might describe this as a form of “servant leadership,” a popular reference for those who place service to others as their top priority when they are in a position of power or influence. However, the focus on humility and service can create a risk of exploitation and burnout if they are not in a collaborative environment that values what they bring.
To be effective in this leadership capacity, you must be in an environment that supports collaboration and partnership - much like a healthy roleplaying game table. Co-creation and collaboration are at the heart of this style.
Yet, it isn’t all fun and games. Our leaders from behind the screen understand that supporting others also requires honesty and challenge. It is not the enablement of every whim and desire of others, but the overall success and growth that matters most. And in game and in real life, some challenges are hard to overcome and a great DM will help you learn which you are ready to face and which are better to revisit once you’ve had a chance to level up.
As you craft your own definition of Homebrew Leadership, consider how the mindset of a DM might influence your approach. Where do you see projects or situations where you can enable others? When is it appropriate to follow others and help them achieve their vision? What do you need to do to inspire others to continue the adventure in the long run?
And if you’re struggling to answer these questions, try asking your own DM. They might know a thing or two about bringing a vision of the world to life, inviting others in, and letting them take the adventure from there.
See you behind the screen!
Autumn & Jerod