A quick summary of Alliances
Now many people will say don't make your own alliance. This is a good tip. To be a leader you need to be able to support and teach your alliance. Being new to the game, you may not be able to do this and can lead to a bad ending. So find an alliance that already has a strong base and stronger players to support you. Though, a warning to the wise: do not send global messages to everyone in-game. This only annoys people and often leads to your death. Send the leader of the alliance, or even better, a few alliances and await their response. If a leader does not respond, don't continue to message them as they can't be bothered to reply so the alliance may not be worth joining anyway. Joining a smaller alliance may be a good ticket to learning the game and the way things are done before taking on larger tasks such as powerful alliances. While you are not required to join an alliance, it is usually a good idea so that you can learn the teamwork and skills required to succeed in the game.
The Art of Leadership
The Hall of Fame is full of many different names (well was, until it reset )expert in one or more of the individual facets of the game but one area that is lacking is the recognition of a good leader.
The majority of players are content or best able to perform the role of a grunt. Most like to at least have their say but very few (as in life) have the ability, time or energy to become a top leader.
A good leader has many strings in their bow and I want to discuss some of them and maybe comment on a few particular leaders and my thought on what makes them or made them tick.
Time and lots of it
A leader has to do everything his/her people do plus have an abundance of time to fulfill their role as leader. Depending on the nature and structure of the alliance, this time can far outweigh the time spent actually playing the mechanics of the game. A well oiled experienced alliance will lessen this load and we see the likes of HoA coming back time and again with the same doctrine and largely the same members. The members of HoA all know what their role is and act more like a partnership. Cowboy has the luxury of being able to do what he does best and only lead for top end decisions.
A good leader will lead from the front and by example. There are very few top alliances that have a leader in the lower half of their roster. Its very hard to expect anyone to respect someone as a leader if they're seen as inferior in the mechanics of the game. Izzanods is a good example to me of someone leading from the front, always at the top or near of SMR's list until the fighting kicked in and the traders took over.
This aspect goes further than purely dictating policy and relaying information. How many times has war broken out where many of one of the participant alliances have no idea of what happened. Communication channels need to be not only open but working and the leader has to shoulder this responsibility. If you don't ensure this you are blindfolding your people. It’s a bit hard to expect them to stick together in that situation. HoA is probably a good example of this. They perhaps don't need to communicate as much as some alliances but their people always seem to be on the same wavelength and any major moves involve everyone.
Personality and appeal
Whatever else you're good at, you're not going to draw people to you and have their loyalty without this. As the person doing the most or alot of the talking, your personality is going to be exposed. If someone doesn't like what they see then you'll never get the best from them. If there's a clash then that alliance is a timebomb waiting to happen. There are many people in the game that I couldn't work with, not out of dislike but just because I know that sooner or later trouble would arise.
A person who concentrates on his/her alliance and his/her game is going to be surprised at some point. Looking outside the square is essential. You need to be able to look at what everyone else is doing and see patterns. The more information you have the easier this is and the easiest way to get this info is to tickle the right people. Establish good relationships with as many as you can. A little bit of gentle manipulation will tease out something of import almost every time. Get to know the other personalities about you, work out what makes them tick. Good intelligence is not only the way of the hunter but also a tool of a good leader.
A leader will never be successful unless he/she gets to know his/her people and learns how to get the best out of them. Be a good chatter and don't limit it to SMR. Take an interest in your people, you'll make friends and have someone you can rely on.
Style and consistency
A leader should develop their own style of leadership and this style should be something the alliance members know and can depend upon. Much of this will probably come out in a persons personality but its a base for a good working relationship and shouldn't be changeable.
Enjoy the role
Nothing takes down an alliance quicker than the loss of drive and enjoyment by the leader. If it happens a leader will let down his/her people, simple as that. To lead an alliance is a big commitment and all the hard work can be undone very quickly.
There are many other areas I could touch on but won't for the sake of the readers sanity. The main message is not to take on an alliance as leader unless you know you have the right stuff. Play the game, build up relationships and think long and hard about the role. In many many ways its a thankless task but those who have the ability and the necessary strengths will find it most rewarding as well.
For the newer player I'd suggest making a name for yourself first, work in an established alliance and look and learn how its leader works. Have a think about how much time and effort you are prepared to put in and then double it. That's about how much or more you'll need to be successful. Don't be fooled into thinking its easy and full of glory, the likes of Cowboy do much more than you'd ever know and have had to devote an awful amount of energy into getting where they are today. They've done the hard work and become good at it.
Most importantly though, consider long and hard whether you are one of the very small number of people who has the ability to be a leader. The vast majority of us aren't cut out for it and will enjoy the game more without the burden.