Your Team First, Your Ambitions Second

A recent conflict with a friend reminded me of a vital lesson that I think all gamemasters should keep in mind. I will not go into details, but I and a friend had a significant disagreement on how a project should proceed. We were not going to resolve our differences and I stepped down from the project. My friend offered to do the same, but the truth is the disagreement soured the work for me so I would not have been interested in proceeding solo. Better to walk away than to continue fighting.

The thing is that the dispute was about how to operate as a team. My friend made it clear that he thought the project was a one person job. Fair enough. Maybe the project is. I do not think so, but I could be wrong.

So instead of pushing for my ambition to create a well functioning team I decided to leave the team. Seems ironic, right?

The reason why I left though is because to win the argument would have endangered the friendship, plus it would have spilled over into the larger group that we are both a part of. Better to ditch my desires and let the other guy win than to endanger the whole. When you are part of a team every act that you take had better be for the good of the team.

You want to do something your way because it is how you like to work? Fine, but is it what is best for the team? Your ambitions, desires, aspirations, and anything else that you want on a personal level had better be second to what is best for the team. Unfortunately, some times what is best for the team is for you to lose. When that happens lose gracefully and move on.

If you are a GM this is one of the most important lessons that you need to learn. Never endanger your group’s stability in order to achieve your own private objective. You are the gamemaster, not the “game owner”. Your job is to keep that group of players hungry for more so that they come back to your game every week. Do not let what you want as an individual threaten that group.

The moment you put your personal agenda before your team’s you have decided to become a solo act. There is no room in the band for a solo act. The is no room in a gaming group for a “game owner” either.