League of Legends is a game that is all about teamwork, which makes the game relatable to managing technical people because management is also all about teamwork. Unfortunately, it’s rare to get the perfect team. Sometimes you get team members that are rude, unhelpful, and even hindering; this type of behavior is referred to as “toxic.”
League of Legends is a Multi-player Online Battle Arena (MOBA). It has a couple of different game option the one that the majority of people play is 5 vs 5 on Summoners’ Rift. Each team has 5 members and each member has a specific role. Those roles are: Top Lane, Middle Lane, Jungle, Attack Damage Carry, and Support. Basically, the main goal of the game is to destroy the other team’s base before they destroy yours. Generally, there’s only one person covering each role, so you have to rely on your teammates.
Our text, The Geek Leader’s Handbook lists two essential concepts for beginning to deal with toxic teammates.
The first is understanding how teams become toxic. It usually starts with a behavior that doesn’t go along with what the rest of the team wants. A great example of this would be under performing. In League of Legends, teams don’t always start out toxic. Typically, the toxicity can be traced back to a certain event. The toxicity starts because teammates have expectations as to how things are going to go, and certain teammates feel that the only way to cope with the task at hand is to become toxic and blame others.
Which leads us to the second essential concept: Why you need to rethink blame. The first questions a lot of people ask are “Who is to blame?” and “how should we punish them?” The text lists four reasons why blame doesn’t help anything. But the two that apply to League of Legends and my favorite two are:
1 )”Blame focuses attention on the negative past rather than the hopeful future” – How does stating who is at fault fix the current situation? Teams need to focus more on what they need to be doing instead of focusing on who is at fault.
2) “Blame encourages maladaptive behavior” – Nobody enjoys being the one that people are mad at. Everyone wants to feel like they’re respected by their team. That’s the 4th level of Maslow’s Hierarchy. People will start to deny fault for any situation simply to avoid losing the respect of their team, which will cause them to lose self esteem.
Our text also lists many common misconceptions about toxic teams.
- It’s not okay to be wrong. Mistakes are unacceptable
- Avoid blame at all costs
- Excellence is not rewarded. Mediocrity is safe.
- Sharing ideas gets me punished. All management wants is compliance.
- We serve at the whim of ignorant dictators
- You win by tearing others down rather than by doing good work
- Users are the enemy
- My work doesn’t matter
However, in League of Legends, you are only stuck with your teammates for 20 mins to an hour and then you most likely will never have to deal with them again. This differs from the office setting due to the office being more long term. In a work environment, you spend more time with the people. Sometimes conflict can’t be solved in less than an hour. For League of Legends, most guides suggest that you simply mute the toxic players so that you have a little interaction with them as possible. This of course, doesn’t work in real life situations though.
Sometimes toxicity is synonymous with rage. Sometimes employees reach a melting point and they don’t know how to deal with their emotions.