Over the last month or two during the process of passing over leadership of a community to someone else, I have been thinking about all of the communities I have run over the years and the question in the title popped into my mind – when is it time to pass on the torch to a community and I figured I would speak a little about my experiences on the reasons why I did before I comment on when it is time.
The first thing that comes to my mind with many communities I have run in the past is time. I am sure if anyone is reading this (likely guild masters based on the search terms) but it takes a really long time to run a community and to make it grow.
I remember quite fondly trying to grow All4all Community and Just a Community and how many hours I would spend promoting the websites on different forums, blogs and such to grow it and I can safely say that it takes a really long time to do so – more so for little to no results for most of it.
I would say time is quite a valid reason for handing over a community to someone else.
The second reason for passing on a community and again one I feel guild masters will agree with me on is there becomes a time where you lose interest in a game. Honestly, there isn’t much anyone can blame someone for this but it is only fair about passing the community on.
I remember this quite well in a few different games I have played such as Astro Empires, Final Fantasy XI & XIV, Age of Empires II and a few more where I have lost interest while running a community group and my advice is to gracefully pass it on so the people that still do enjoy it can carry on doing so. I can say that staying the leader of a gaming guild has caused me to no longer enjoy the game as much.
I would say from experience lack of interest is the biggest reason I have handed over communities and likely will still be the main reason in years to come.
The community changed
This is the final main reason I have handed over a community is that the community itself just changed focus and I no longer felt I belonged there – even if I am the one that started it.
It is hard to give an example for this one as it happens more often then you would think it does and I have left many forums over time due to it. I will say if you are someone that leads a community and it feels far different to how you started it that honestly it likely ain’t something you would keep being the leader of.
Nothing stops being an effective leader is being a leader of something you do not agree with.
With a few common reasons from experience listed, it is time we loop back to the actual question of the title – when is it time to hand it over? In my experience, the best time to pass on the torch is when your gut is telling you it is time to move on. It is like being a leader of a guild in an MMO – if it feels like you are outstaying your welcome, people are looking to others or such and your gut is telling you it is time to move on then listen to it.
So funny your gut. If it is telling you it is time to move on and if it ain’t earning you money it is time to move on. If it is earning you money and causing stress it is time to sell.