So you’ve found yourself in charge of a band of ruffians. You have a stack of character sheets with skills and backgrounds that fit nicely into the story you have in mind. You’ve already run away some ideas you can’t wait to see played out and then experience reminds you that without detailed discussions with the group, you are likely to have a story fall flat, aggravate your players, and find very little growth at the end – even if the encounter is completed as designed. Instead, a holistic approach is needed to get you beyond the numbers.
Every RPG has a set of rules for character generation to ensure a balance in even the most fantastical of worlds. It forces players to make trade-offs to create characters with natural flaws that better mirror the real world. Personally, my dump stat is dexterity.
Unfortunately, we can’t pick and choose our talents or our back stories but there’s a perspective to be gained in understanding we all grow asynchronously. Someone who has has high levels of competency in multiple areas spent time and practice to get there. The higher levels of proficiency take more time and effort to achieve.
Taking the same perspective with your project team will enable you to have compassion with those who are still learning and need a safe place to make mistakes and grow.
Understanding your players
Once you’ve taken time to take inventory of their skills, sit down with each team member to discuss how they view their strengths, opportunities for growth and where they’re looking to develop.
With this insight, you can better plot where and how you utilize their talents. You earn buy in and end up with a much higher level of engagement. It also allows you to look for and provide opportunities along the way that are of interest to your team. At the end of the adventure, you have not only accomplished the mission but you’ve growth the bench strength of your players.
Real world character sheets
There are several approaches to coaching and evaluation. The most effective among them are not dissimilar from a character sheet. A concrete list of skills and attributes along with grading methods for each job role makes clear to both the manager and team member what is expected and where they need to grow in order to progress in their career. In some instances, gives them an idea if they want to stay on the track they’re on.
Circling back to this type of inventory makes for a common language between you and sets a foundation for expectations. When a team member isn’t meeting the baseline, it’s much easier to begin a critical conversation when you have already put into place a regular cadence and have anchored conversations on this notion.