It is inevitable that, as you start to get more involved within communities, you will be promoted to a position of authority. This can be a large step up, and will require a new perspective to effectively maintain.In this guide, I will outline and explain some pieces of advice that you should follow if you are to be successful when taking on a new position of responsibility.
This comes even before you have accepted the position. In online communities, a lot of the work you do will be voluntary; you will not get any monetary exchange, only power within the online space. The best piece of advice anyone has ever given me is to ‘learn to say no’ if you can’t handle it. Your time and energy is valuable, so do you want to spend it on this?
If you believe this new duty you are being offered will overload you, or interfere with your real-life procedures, decline the offer; you will thank yourself in the long run.
This piece of advice is also applicable to when you are in an established role. If you feel the work is getting too much for you, leave; do not full under, and be pushed back by, the pressure to say in your position. You have autonomy, and it is your life that is effected, not anyone else’s.
Around 70% of the time when someone in an online community gains a position of responsibility, they change as a person. That is not the aim, as they elected you based on… YOU. Stay the way you are; keep talking to the same people, keep feeling the compassion for others you felt before. If you change, you are just submitting to a false image and hiding uncomfortably under a shield you now have. Don’t leave behind those people who were with you the whole way before your promotion, even if they may not be the most influential or well-connected.
However, do not mistake this advice for saying you should not to make new friends. That is something you should certainly look at doing, as it will make your objective much easier and mean that you can get tasks done quicker and with less friction.
As stated before, you shouldn’t change. However, I was specifically talking about the people you talk to, and your private connections.
It is extremely common for those who gain a position of power to become extremely arrogant and mean. This is not how you should operate, as you will become an unpopular figure and lose the popular vote.
You may be tempted to abuse your powers due to the ‘I am invincible’ mentality. This is not the case, and you should remind yourself that it is not only unethical, but plane stupid to abuse any powers your superior has trusted you with. You are indeed mortal, and could find yourself being booted from the position. This could potentially give you eternal and sustained regrets.
As bad is it is to hear, in many cases, you are expendable; keep this in mind. Don’t do it.
Make a good First Impression
If you think of yourself as a quiet and unconnected community figure, you will be amazed as to how much attention you will get after a promotion. As not many people in the community know you, it is vital you set a good first impression to new players, as the tone of all future interactions with that person will be determined by it.
You can read about how to effectively do that in this guide.
If your new role involves a managerial portion, make sure you are well-prepared and organised for the first days of operation, as this is when it will be most hectic. New tasks will be delegated your way, and you will have to get used to dealing with those types of requests and willingly submit to the pacing that accompanies them.
I would recommend to either have a physical checklist, or an online Trello page, to help you keep track of your tasks; if you fail to hand something in, you will be anchored in your superior’s mind as ‘unreliable’, which depletes any chance of further promotion.
Consider the Benefits
All I have talked out in this guide so far are the negative aspects of taking on a position of responsibility. Even though it is true that in many cases the negatives outweigh the positives, you may find inspiration and comfort in the benefits.
Firstly, it will motivate you to do more with your life. If you are currently sitting around and doing nothing at home, you will be amazed to see how productive you can be if you are given a task you enjoy. If this is case, seek for something similar in an industry and environment where you will be paid for your work.
On top of this, being in a positon of power is a real confidence booster. As you can finally call the shots by yourself, you can learn to make better decisions and consequently morph into a better individual over time. This will only happen if you retain your position for long enough.