The online fantasy game, World of Warcraft, which now has over 11 million players around the globe, could provide invaluable lessons to modern business leaders.
So says the international leadership development institute, Mannaz, which this month launches a series of training programmes for senior HR and line managers called ‘Are you an Orc?’ According to Mannaz, which works with major businesses such as Alcatel Lucent, Canon and Deloitte, some of the lessons that the game teaches could be “the key to modern business leadership”. The programmes will be the first of their kind anywhere in the world.
“The tools and techniques of leadership in business are changing fast,” says Jacob Theilgaard, the business psychologist at Mannaz behind the project. “Managing and directing international teams increasingly means that the traditional ‘face-to-face’ model of leadership is no longer possible and, for younger employees in particular, not even relevant. In this sort of context leaders need to be collaborative, consensual and inclusive. And, ironically, given its name, that’s exactly what a role-playing game like World of Warcraft teaches.”
The idea of the ‘Are you an Orc?’ programme which begins this month is to give senior HR and line managers a fast introduction to the game and show how some of its lessons can be applied in the workplace.
“For example, leaders in the game have to earn the support and commitment of their followers,” says Theilgaard. “And the leadership role can pass from person to person depending on the problem the team is facing at any particular time. These are exactly the sort of issues that managers in today’s flatter, less hierarchical businesses face from day to day.”