Updated Mon, Sep 21, 2009 by The Mittani
With the upcoming Dominion expansion's emphasis on introducing a broader section of the playerbase to the joys of alliance life and warfare, now is a great time to examine some of the most common types of leader. In the past we've considered the forms of alliance government (democracy, oligarchy, dictatorship, etc) but another important influence on galactic politics comes down to raw personality. In the currently stagnant world of nullsec, perhaps fifty humans end up with decision-making authority over the entirety of 0.0. Understanding who these sorts of people are and what makes them tick is one of the secrets that allows an astute observer to predict the next moves in the Great Game.
While there are always individual differences, or people who simply cannot be categorized, in the main there are five distinct alliance leadership styles in New Eden.
*Dear Leader: One of the most basic methods of human leadership, the cult of personality is maddeningly common in EVE - as in the real world. The good news is that a personality cult is easy to identify and avoid. The bad news is that these are hard to exterminate without utterly ruining the reputation of whichever Dear Leader is inspiring their charges. These crop up whenever you have an alliance leader who is more charismatic than average and has cultivated a habit of public glorification; since nerds who play spaceship games aren't known for their charisma, the Dear Leaders of EVE aren't the kind of people you would expect a cult to form around elsewhere. Obvious examples here are Remedial of Goonswarm, Sir Molle of Band of Brothers, and Bobby Atlas of Atlas. The success of the alliance is often attributed to the mystical or superhuman powers of the leader, obscuring the efforts of the many thousands of people working for the organization.
*The Promoted FC: This is the most common type of alliance leader. Fleet commanders are some of the rarest people in New Eden; the willingness to accept the responsibility of command and risk the loss of your fellow pilot's assets in battle takes a degree of leadership that very few players possess. A successful fleet commander often finds himself promoted to the highest levels of alliance leadership, not only due to a willingness to lead but the necessity of including upper-echelon FCs in the strategic decision-making process of an alliance. Unfortunately, the transition from leading fleets to guiding an alliance can be rocky. The focus of a fleet commander is on individual battles, while an alliance leader must have a much longer time horizon. The skills needed to command a fleet don't necessarily translate to the thornier aspects of grand diplomacy, propaganda or logistical coordination; perhaps the biggest risk of the Promoted FC is a tendency to micromanage areas outside of their given skillset. Examples of this type of leader abound: Evil Thug, UAxDeath, Shadoo, Shamis Orzoz, and Phreeze all began their careers as FCs.