5 key things you can learn from DotA & immediately apply at work.
Video games are a transformative medium in a myriad of ways. They can be educational, they can be stimulating and they can be motivational. But the best of these video games combine all three element, all they demand in return, is an investment of time and the tenacity to not give up.
DotA or Defense of the ancients is a hugely popular MoBa with about 12k active users every month. Part of DotA’s popularity is the huge learning curve associated with it as it has more than 100 playable heroes and countless ways to play. No match is ever the same and every match is a reward in its own.
If you have played Dota before then you must be familiar with the fact that you encounter defeats more times than victories. Part of the reason is the fact that DotA is 5-member game and that means communicating with your team, constantly and effectively.
But its harder than it sounds.
The reason being that unless you decide to form a party and play together, you will always be matched with random people from around the world. People with different cultures, values, mindsets and attitudes. Its because of this reason that DotA is also labelled to have one of the most toxic communities with constant sexism, racism and Noob shaming. It’s a breeding ground for bullies and those being bullied are left to resort with an ineffective tool of reporting bullies to find solace during games. (LoL has a better system in place)
How can we leverage the most popular MobA in the video game universe as a leadership tool rather than just a game?
It starts with the “I”. One of the core things that I have learned from my transformative experience at Hyper Island, Stockholm is that, change comes from within. Change manifests itself through a perpetual cycle of feedback of reiteration.
The Golden Spiral
The Learning Spiral is all about getting feedback, learning from it, reflecting on your actions and repeating it all over again.
I will give you a scenario where I applied my my learnings in one of the recent matches against a tough team.
Like everybody else, we had incredible fighting spirit and we were quite confident about winning. But if there is one thing a DotA veteran can tell you is that even the smallest action(dota 2 million dollar dreamcoil) in the game can change the tide of battle. Literally.
Supports are a team’s backbone and blood, without them the Carries cannot carry the weight of the team. Supports help them achieve victory with their strategic contributions such as healing, providing vision and helping carries get gold/experience faster than normally possible.
In our case, the support, Omniknight(hero dota 2 guide), wasn’t particularly adept at using the hero.
The lack of experience and skill along with our poor judgement of the enemy’s position, led to multiple battles being lost and frustration started to plague our team. Frustration is understandable in a tense real-time game such as DotA and not everybody knows yet how to channel it effectively.
I had to do something and in my rage, which by the way is my choice not my compulsion; I CAPS LOCKED him on what he was doing, what things he was doing the wrong way and just as I was about to CALL him a Noob, something inside of me took over and made me type-
ADD ME AS A FRIEND AND I WILL HELP YOU.
The change in my stance and approach had an immediate effect on my team. Suddenly we weren’t as disorganised as we were before and although the game was lost we did manage to play better than we thought.
So, here are the few things that I learned from DotA?
Key Takeaway 1
Know your role- It’s easy to fall into the trap of overseeing everything and micro-managing everything, whether it’s in-game or in your startup. Don’t.
Unless your role demands you for it, focus on your responsibilities, get better at them. Delegate tasks to others if need be. Remember the T-Model. The people you hire/work with should have three core skills. They should be flexible in adapting to different situations within those roles. This applies to you as well.
In DotA, I cannot play as a carry(carry dota 2 guide), I lack the necessary mindset, but I am good as a Support, Disabler and a Lane Pusher.
Key Takeaway 2
Know your objective- This ties into what role you play at work and in DotA. Never ever lose sight of your objective. What does the team need from you, what do you bring to the game. If need be, get the Gem of True Sight or its real-life counterpart, have a reflection session with your colleagues, reflect on your actions at work and ask for feedback and improve upon it.
This would not only give you clarity but also give you a boost of self-confidence. Follow this popular adage with all your heart.
Make mistakes, make them early and improve on them.
Key takeaway 3
Support, even if its not your role- Whether you a product manager or a Hard Carry in DotA. your role may define you but it should never restrict you in achieving your goal. If your supports don’t purchase detection tools when there are Invisible heroes in the enemy team, they get them yourself. Why? Because ultimately your farm contributes to the game. You need gold/experience so get it if you have too. It might cost your a few hundred gold but you will gain sight of the invisible and be able to run farm up more than the gold you spent on detection.
The same learning goes for your job at work.
You might have a lot to do, your week is filled with project deadlines, but you are not a robot, you are empathic individual. Offer help, no matter how insignificant. Your ability to help and eagerness to contribute will play a major role in your professional and personal development.
Key Takeaway 4
Be a team, not just a team player- Your job at work and in DotA is not to just be a complacent “nice” team player. Your job is to inspire your team mates. This is where a person playing a Carry really should shine. If you cannot inspire your team to support you, how else can you expect to carry your team to victory?
Key Takeaway 5
Be a coach and be coached- Playing DotA and working professionally have a lot of hurdles, you have the high difficulty curve called Life and obstacles such as people and lack of skills.
What’s the best way to overcome these hurdles?
Ask for help. Whether its something you always wanted to learn but couldn’t do or wanted to try out a hero like Invoker but were too afraid to even play a Bot match with it.
“Your worst enemy is your own image.”
If there is one thing I have learned at Hyper Island, its that in order to bring out the best in yourself, you need to first surround yourself with people who are better than you. Once you let go of your ego, you will realise your potential growth.
Practice- Whether you are at work or in a match of DotA. practice your stuff, that’s what you need to count on. Not your “talent” or luck. Your hard-earned learnings.
I currently play as Invoker, pretty new to with 3 victories of 5 games played. If you have time to coach me, add me on steam, maybe? — holyreclaimer
If you enjoyed the article or have anything to ask or say, I am on twitter, here- Anmol.Sarita.Bahl