Now I bet you just read the title of this article thinking “Who in the blue hell chooses the word inspire? Are you trying to sound smarter than you are George? I think the word you’re looking for is ‘motivate’ my misguided chum.”
Wrong turd monkey! Inspiration is the key word here chum. Well…the part about sounding smart seems correct….but the word motivate is pathetic and has no place in my superior vernacular! Let’s look at the definition between the two shall we?
Motivate: provide someone with a motive for doing something.
Translation: give someone a reason to act.
Example: Robert put a gun to Richard’s head to motivate him to open the safe.
Wow cherished reader! Motivate has so many positive connotations to it. So much variety when it comes to encouraging an individual. But wait, let’s take a look at my word!
Inspiration: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Translation: give someone an amazing reason to do something awesome.
Example: Richard found inspiration in opening the safe after Robert told him he would go on to live a long fulfilling life by doing so…..while holding a gun to his head.
See the difference pineapple sunshine? In short anyone can be motivated but that only leads to short term success. Inspiration is the highly caffeinated awesomesauce your team drinks to build the marvellous game for the long term. Now if you haven’t left this page (probably because you’re pissed off that I called you a turd monkey) get ready to be inspired in inspiring your team!
Give Compliments to Your Team Members
Think of your team as Skynet, you know, from Terminator for those who haven’t seen that movie (all four of you on the planet). If you need a refresher, it’s an A.I. system that becomes self-aware and goes batshit crazy thinking humans are yucky people and should be annihilated. Now was it being intelligent or was it getting all emotional? I bet if the humans acknowledged cyber Hitler’s feelings it wouldn’t have acted like the two prom dates you stood up all those years ago (how were you supposed to know they were sisters?!)
Your team members aren’t a bunch of animals you give commands to. They’re human beings and as such should be treated as so. If you think your team members are rewarded by just a paycheck, then don’t expect to keep them around for long. Always compliment a team member when they solve a difficult problem or put in a lot of effort on a grind situation. Hell, if they dress well compliment that…but be careful with the opposite sex though. I hear sexual harassment is a ‘thing’ now.
In short, compliments make your team feel super positive and reinforce the fact that they are making an impact on the project. It also shows that you respect and value them elevating their desire in developing a great game.
Look for Why People Are Behaving Badly
Is there someone on the team that acts like a certified asshole? Like they went to Dickhead U and graduated with a major in unconstructive fuckology with a minor in creative shit disturbing? These people can instantaneously suck positivity from your team like the oxygen from your lungs because you were curious what would happen if you opened that air lock in space (which dipshit from NASA hired you?!!!).
When it comes to these Negative Nancy’s your first reaction may be to go all Zeus on their ass and release the Kraken! For the love of Jean-Claude Van Damme don’t do that. This person probably has personal issues with family, money, or health. Yes, I agree it’s not appropriate for these people to bring their bullshit to work but people are complex with thoughts and feelings. Your goal is to inspire not punish. Be patient and set time aside to talk to them. Helping your peeps air out their problems will change their attitude because they will realize that they’re not alone.
Leaders are respected for understanding and feared for punishing. You don’t want to be doing the latter because fear spreads like herpes. And unlike herpes there’s no cream you can slather all over your employees to make fear go away….and that would be fucking weird. An understanding leader is always noticed by their colleagues creating a more comfortable work environment.
It Shouldn’t Be Like Auschwitz
You ever hear of that place where you wake up, work, break for lunch, work, take a break, work, eat dinner, and go home to bed? The first thing that comes to mind is your life but what it really is, is prison. The only difference is in prison you’re anally raped by Star Dawwg and the Galactic Boneyard Train.
You don’t want your gamedev project to be as exciting as the fucking box factory. When your team achieves an awesome milestone or solves a difficult problem celebrate! Go out for beers, play office games, or take them to those room escape places…you know the ones like the Saw movies but without the murder. It will let your team know their work matters and create comradery between members. If your team members just show up and work everything will seem like a drag to them. Those who play hard work hard. And yes, these events will cost you money. Don’t be a Scrooge McFuck!
Put a Positive Spin on Things
Hey which sentence sounds more motivating to you?
Programming that event loader took you that long? It’s so simple a monkey could do it! We can’t afford to take this long we have to release this soon! At this rate we will never finish the game!
That event loader did take some time to program but it’s good that it was done right the first time. What can we do in the future to avoid these delays?
I hope you picked the second one. If you didn’t god help you, for you are an impatient asshole. The problem with the first scenario is three fuck factors. One, President Puke posed his first question as if the task was easy and required no effort. Second, Jerry Jackass put the fault all over the programmer as if he’s single handedly delaying the project. Third, Pessimistic Pete paints an anti-Bob Ross portrait of the future…and I’m betting he doesn’t have a super awesome afro to back that shit up.
In order to keep your team inspired show them possibilities not dead ends. Also always seek out solutions as your team will eventually adopt your behaviour in their own work. However, don’t overdo your optimism, you still have to be realistic. Oh, and grow an afro. I hear people with afros are highly approachable and lower stress levels when looked upon. This is completely based off of the proven science of speculation.
Set Realistic Goals
Unrealistic goal setting is no different than your front teeth being curbed stomped by your landlady. Old Agnus has a nasty haymaker when you drop the rent…and your guard. Your team members will feel their jaws shatter as well when you aim too high. And the mountain they are climbing just got a lot higher while their oxygen tanks start bottoming out. Here are some examples of unrealistic goals:
The Impossible Goal: Get all game artwork done in two weeks
The Insanely Stupid Goal: Generate only award winning game music
The What the Fuck Were You Thinking Goal: Produce a 40 hour JRPG in 6 months
Here’s a tip. Take big goals and break them down into smaller ones while setting reasonable deadlines. If you miss a goal don’t go all Mike Tyson on everyone (people like their ears attached to their heads), just revaluate the situation and adjust. Achieving goals makes team members feel great that their efforts are paying off. It also gives reason to continue because they see an end game…..pun intended!
Hold Your Ass Accountable Too
Hey, you fuck up too. Don’t deny it, you’re human. The only person on this planet that doesn’t make any mistakes is me. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof. Recognize!
When you make a mistake, and believe me you will, own it. We live in a forgiving society as much as most of us don’t believe it. When we screw up we paint scary pictures in our mind of angry mobs lynching us, people calling us nasty names, or dad locking us in the car until we learn how to play that song on guitar….that happened to you too….right?
The worst thing that can happen to you when you screw shit up is getting yelled at for like five minutes. Big fucking deal. When you make a mistake admit it and people will forgive very quickly because you’ve removed the drama from the situation. People respect you when they can relate to you, not when you’re trying to put yourself on a pedestal.
In the End It’s All About You
The biggest inspiration to your team is you being yourself. If you’re really passionate about your project and work towards it, people will naturally gravitate toward you. All the tips I just listed above paint you as a human being, nothing more. The most inspiring figures in history after all were just ordinary people trying to do extraordinary things. What’s more inspiring than that?
Now if you’re a selfish fucky fuck and think this game your building will get you fame/riches/an Oscar/a date with Olivia Munn/<insert stupid fucking bullshit fantasy here> you’re selfish and won’t give a damn about your team…..and why the fuck are you making a game in the first place you deadbeat dad!!!
In the end proper leadership can be awesomely rewarding when done right. Be a leader not a boss. Be a mentor not a dictator. Be a Yoda not a Palpetine (he’s one eeeevil motherfucker). In short, be the person who inspired you at one point in your life. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you see the familiar looks on your team members’ faces. The same optimistic smile you wore once when you decided you were going to make an awesome game.