|Political Tips for the Aspiring Monarch
As a one term King, I am certainly not the final voice of experience in what is the best way to run a Kingdom, however I do believe that what I learned during my reign should be passed on. The reason for this is simple; future Monarchs should learn from those who have already held the position in order to build upon the positive aspects of past reigns and to avoid making the same mistakes which damage the land. Hopefully the points I touch upon can help an inexperienced Monarch flourish and become a great King.
Kingdom first: Regardless of the accolades and awards that await a successful Monarch, you must put away any selfish desire you may have and simply work towards the betterment of your land. The moment you become King, people start stroking your ego, singing your praises and showering you with gifts all in an effort to get your attention focused on their special interests. Don’t allow the sudden surge in popularity and attention to cloud your judgment. Everything you do as Monarch must be done in the best interests of the Kingdom and not because of how popular or how well rewarded you will be at the end of your reign. Your successes in the office will far outlive any knighting or title you received by catering to the “powers that be.”
Never be afraid to say no: As Monarch, you will constantly receive requests from people you’ve never heard of claiming that they’ve worked hard for years and have been denied the fruits of their labor. While there is often some measure of truth in this, there is, sadly, more often not. Dishonest people take every opportunity to promote their selfish goals by approaching a new Monarch with their stories of great deeds and selfless acts in order to claim a well-deserved knighthood or master hood. Do not be afraid to ask about these people who come to you requesting awards. Ask around on the internet, examine the bulletin boards, check into their land and ask those who have been in office before you if they have any knowledge of these people. Most members truly deserving of master hoods and knighthoods are well known throughout the Kingdom and beyond. If an award is deserved, then be sure to give it but don’t ever be afraid to tell someone no if what they claim is blatantly false or cannot be verified. You’re not Monarch to be popular, you’re there to do what is right.
Reward the deserving: Always reward those members of your land who work to better Amtgard. There is nothing worse that a Monarch can do than to ignore the hard work of those who help make this club the great organization it is. If an award if truly deserved, be sure to give it out with all the grandeur it warrants. Those who dedicate themselves to the game should be given the rewards of such dedication regardless of the field it’s in, the arts, service to the club, or on the field. Promote an atmosphere of success and your land will prosper.
Communicate with past Monarchs: The best source of information on how to run a Kingdom can be had by simply approaching those who have served the land before. Always ask when you are unsure of what is required of you. As Monarch, you have the right to ignore whatever advice you’re given should it not seem appropriate to the situation but always seek the advice before making any decision. Previous Monarchs have the benefit of having been in the situations you now face. They know who approaches the monarchy every reign begging for un-deserved awards and the history of past events that you may be drawn into. They know the specifics of court and dealing with other Monarchs and lands. They’ve experienced the conflicts and have seen the political shifts and players that work to undermine your Kingdom’s name and reputation. Open communication with past Monarchs can make your reign far more successful than muddling through it on your own. Think of them as a library. You have all the resources available to you to have a prosperous reign just by checking into the info. It’s how you use that info that decides whether or not you are seen as a great King.
Honesty, directness and promptness: While the truth may sometimes hurt, it is far better to be honest than to attempt to deceive people. Don’t worry about telling someone you don’t know the answer to the question they’re asking. Tell them you’ll find out the answer and get back to them rather than give an answer you’re unsure of. No one expects you to know everything but they do expect you to put the effort into getting them the proper answers to their questions. Always be honest regardless of how unhappy you may make people. There is no point in padding reality to make someone’s life easier when the truth will eventually rear its head and damage not only your credibility but the trust of others in the game.
Always be direct in your dealings with people. When approached, always tell the person the answer to their question succinctly. Don’t drag out a few words response into a litany of past experience and useless information. The clearer you are, the more likely you are to have dealt with the issue rather than just confused it and made it worse. Directness allows you to move onto other issues rather than have to come back to it over and over to clarify what you meant.
Promptness is a huge part of being a successful Monarch. Dealing with situations as they occur is the best way to avoid the drama that tends to follow slow responses. The less time other people have to dwell on the consequences of a situation, the easier it will be to handle. Swift, decisive and informed responses can turn an Amtgard-wide political debacle into a minor footnote. The quicker issues are dealt with, the quicker you can get back to the enjoyment of the game.
Political correctness: By far, this is the one area that can make or break your reign in the eyes of the Amtgard world. While I believe this category to be less important than most of the others I’ve listed, it still plays a major role in the governing of a Kingdom. Anyone can say what they feel and get a point across but not anyone can say it in a way that directly expresses their thoughts while phrasing it in a way that promotes a positive response. While conflict as a Monarch is unavoidable, there is no reason for outright hostility. Every statement or response from the monarchy should be clearly stated and in a manner that does not openly antagonize its audience. Never attack your opponents personally. Respond to the issues they bring up and point by point argue them. You do nothing but waste time by getting into a personal argument on the merits of your detractors. Focus on the issue at hand and do not respond to anything that is not a legitimate concern. There are plenty of people willing to sling mud at each other. Leave that to them and concentrate on the real issues facing your land and not other people’s opinions. A positive, direct approach will gain you far more success than a heavy-handed, antagonistic one.
Be aware of your limitations: As a new Monarch, you will feel compelled to be the best there has ever been. Get over it and set more realistic goals for yourself. Natural ability in a field will never be able to match a solid foundation of experience. Accept the fact that not everything will go perfectly as planned and that no matter how good you are, you will still make mistakes. The mark of a good King is that they learn from their mistakes and do not repeat them. Admit you made an error and move to correct it immediately. No one expects you to be perfect but everyone expects you to do a good job. Put 100% effort into everything you do and try not to take on more than you can realistically handle. Having hundreds of projects in mind for your reign makes for a enthusiastic King but it doesn’t make much sense. Focus on the basic day to day business of the land and only begin a project if you can commit yourself to it completely. Multi-term goals rarely see fruition as intended and should be avoided if possible. You can never guarantee that something you started will be worked upon properly once it goes beyond your reign. Realize that you only have a six month time frame in which to complete your projects so don’t plan beyond that.
Humility: Always remember that your time as Monarch is short-lived. While the position of King seats you firmly in the spotlight of the Amt-world, don’t allow the false praise and back-patting to distract you from your true goal, the productive running of your Kingdom. Its easy to become arrogant amidst the backdrop of the crown but it serves no purpose. No matter who you are, there is always someone who can do a better job or who has better ideas. Do the best you can and always remember where you came from because when the spotlight fades, you’re going back there.
While my reign was seen as an overall success, I feel, like any other Monarch who aspires to be a good King, that I could have done things better. I am driven by my failures to become a better Monarch and I believe that anyone who wishes to enter the office should look into the successes and failures of past reigns and make every effort to take advantage of the knowledge that is available. Build upon the experience of those gone before and aspire to become the King of Kings.
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