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23 Sep 2014

Being Positively Positive Can Lead to a Successful Indie Studio

For some people, staying positive all day isn’t difficult. It seems as if these people are positive by default, and the only way to deflate their positive energy is to…well, you can’t. I’m envious of these types of people. For the rest of us that need a little mood boost once in a while to have a strong, positive attitude, keeping an optimistic attitude doesn’t come so easy. Nevertheless, it’s essential.

It’s essential for your indie studio as well. A positive attitude is essential if you want to have a thriving indie studio, and Heinz Schuller points this out in his post that explains the trick behind successful indie studios. The trick isn’t surprising (and you’ve probably caught onto what it is by now): positive attitudes.

But there’s more to it than just smiling and being nice to people. In addition, Schuller points out that you must

Provide support to your team

There’s value in giving, “thattaboys,” to your team members – especially when they deserve it. There’s nothing worse (as Schuller points out) than working your buttocks off over a certain aspect of a game, showing it off to your team members, and getting no response to your hard work. Sure, everyone is busy with their own tasks, but guess what? If hard work isn’t rewarded, don’t expect hard work in the future.

Your worst job was probably a job in which you were rewarded the least. Thinking back to some of my worst jobs, the only time you would hear from one of your bosses is when they had something to gripe about. Their silence was your reward, and your punishment was a tongue lashing if you screwed up. As you can probably guess, employees at these types of jobs didn’t work hard and did the bare minimum. A toxic work environment to be sure.

And you don’t want this type of environment for your indie studio, either. When you notice your team members have worked hard on something and deserve praise, tell them about it. In fact, go above just telling them about it; tell your entire team about it. Share your excitement and approval with them, and let them know this is the type of work you want to see. This type of positivity is contagious, and you will more often than not spot your team members working a bit harder – and with a great attitude!

Stay away from the negativity

And stop it before it gets out of hand. As you probably know, there is always a certain group of people at almost any job that is negative and ultimately toxic to the work environment. You don’t want these types of people to work for you! Understandably, your team members may make comments that are negative from time-to-time without thinking about it. Schuller states that this may involve team members talking smack about other games without actually knowing what it took to develop said game, and as he puts it: you should never get caught into the loop of negativity with these types of people.

As the head of your indie studio, do your part to turn these occasional negative attributes into positives.

Be the positive leader your employees want you to be

Schuller mentions using humor into all of your interactions – even if the situation is completely serious. It reminds me of an episode of This American Life that centered around an auto dealership trying to make its monthly goal in order to get a bonus from the auto manufacturer. Take a listen to it below (about 0:48 into the episode), to be introduced to the boss and hear how he speaks to his employees:

Notice how he laughs after every sentence? This accomplishes two things:

  1. It showcases your positive energy in the workplace.
  2. It shows that in the face of adversity, you will be the leader your team members can look up to.

Number two is especially important, as it ensures there is a positive morale in the workplace while you are showcasing positive energy. It’s two things that will make you the best leader you can be at your indie studio, and will keep your indie studio…positive.

Have any comments or tips about keeping a positive attitude in your indie studio? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Gamasutra

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