What a Feat! Exploring Leadership in Dungeons and Dragons, and Reality

The Angel Binding Satan, Philip James de Loutherbourg, 1797, Source

There are many ways to employ leadership and teamwork skills in D&D and reality. Let’s start thinking about leadership by defining feats. Why? Because beside some D&D classes that automatically gain leadership abilities (e.g. paladins), there is a leadership feat any class can take (if allowed by their DM).

Generally, what is a feat?

A deed notable especially for courage. An act or product of skill, endurance, or ingenuity.

In addition, a feat in D&D?

A feat represents a talent or an area of expertise that gives a character a special capability. It embodies training, experience, and abilities beyond what a class provides.

Keeping leadership in mind, I would agree with these definitions. Leadership culture is cultivated; leaders are forged, not born.  Some individuals may have a natural tenancy towards leadership behaviors that can be further refined (like our paladin friends).  Nevertheless, anyone with the drive to be a life-long learner can be a leader. Anyone should be allowed to pick up the Leadership feat in the real world. Keep in mind, the organization and teams suffers when individuals are disallowed to be leaders so be sure to encourage a culture based in leadership grow and flourish.

There is a Leadership feat in D&D. The older version reads:

You are the sort of person others want to follow, and you have done some work attempting to recruit cohorts and followers. You can attract loyal companions and devoted followers, subordinates who assist you (also called cohorts and followers).

The newest version, Inspiring Leader, reads:

You can spend 10 minutes inspiring your companions, shoring up their will to fight. When you do so, choose up to six friendly creatures (which can include yourself) within 30 feet of you who can see or hear you and can understand you.

Now, let us break down leadership for the real world. Key leadership characteristics included honesty, integrity, self-awareness, vision, courage, communications skills, and team building abilities. These can be summed up with the three C’s of leadership: character, competence, and communication. I personally also try to keep in mind compassion and tough love (i.e. holding people to standards but treating them properly and kindly). I hope to explore each of these concepts in future posts.

In sum, if you treat your players and your people right, they will be there for you and your organization when they are needed to fight. Let me know your thoughts! Please comment below!

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