Behind The Mask: The Life of a Leader

The life of a leader can be very much unexpected, even becoming a leader can be unexpected. But actually being a leader is a lot more work than people think it is. Whilst there are many things that members of the community will know about leading, there are some experiences you will not know about unless you have been in them.

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Before a person becomes a leader they have to start from the bottom. Whilst every person’s experiences in armies are different, 99% of leaders will have been a troop before becoming a leader. Being a troop is supposed to be the easy bit, but grinding the ranks is a tough task to overcome. While many troops spend months if not years trying to grind the ranks some people may not even make it to HCOM, never mind leader. One of the more notable armies in the community, the Rebel Penguin Federation, probably is one of the most difficult armies to grind the ranks in. That is not saying that the army is bad but it shows how seriously they take it.

Elexonc is a great example of a troop who dedicated himself to his army, the Rebels. He joined them in 2018 but was not promoted to leader until 2021. This was three years later. That says nothing about his effort or work ethic but shows how long it can take for a person to rise up. Bear in mind, that he did rise up to become a leader in one of the most historic armies around. As already noted, this may be shorter for other individuals and armies. However, the journey once you get there will always be the most challenging.

Once a person becomes a leader they are forced to step out of the troop mentality and step up to take command and control. Some armies prepare people for leadership better than others do but no amount of preparation could prepare someone for the duties of a leader.

Time Consumption

Time consumption is one of the hardest things about being a leader. This is not because of the amount of time events take or pre-event hype or anything of the sort. This is because of everything that a leader has to do. From preparing events, and planning an army’s schedule to sorting out staff expectations. All the things a leader has to do on a daily basis can be heavily time-consuming.

A leader’s duties consist of:

  • Planning events, both non-penguin and penguin events
  • Leading/pre-training/battle hype
  • Dealing with promotions/demotions
  • Creating and handing out special roles e.g. war medals
  • Site maintenance
  • Creating and editing website posts
  • Handing out tasks to HCOM/Staff
  • Managing HCOM/Staff, making sure all are doing their jobs and fulfilling their responsibilities
  • Recruiting and activating accounts
  • Representing your army in leagues/organisations and taking part in meetings
  • Forging good relationships with other armies and individuals
  • Dealing with war/tournaments/battle planning
  • Making sure the server is up-to-date
  • Organising staff activities/meetings
  • Making sure all resources like guides are up-to-date
  • Helping out troops and staff whenever needed
  • Maintaining good relationships with army members and the community
  • Taking part in interviews
  • Planning an army’s future e.g. expectations, aims, its plans for the next month, and any activity outside those already stated

The list of what an army leader has to do goes on and on. Of course, duties will differ for different leaders, however, there are many not stated. These include dealing with scandals and incidents that just happen. Multilogging is just one of the scandals that an army leader may have to deal with. But, we’ll get on to that later.

With all this in mind, being a leader is one of the most time-consuming jobs to have in armies. If you put all of this on top of real-life duties and responsibilities then this creates an impossible schedule for a leader. Being a leader can be impossible and create circumstances which you are forced to overcome. However, the situations that you learn from are invaluable. Being able to adapt around armies takes a lot but this helps with real-life situations. So while this may all be for a game, it’s still impactful, either positively or negatively, on our lives.

Internal Issues

Armies are no stranger to issues taking place. However, internal issues can often occur, especially with tensions running high. Sometimes a war may start these off but other times there may just be something that people on the outside cannot see. A lot of things could be internal issues from jealousy, to a lack of trust, to an incident that occurred etc. Some things are easier to solve than others but one issue that I’ve come across is staff feeling underpowered.

In a lot of armies, over time, there have been moments where staff have tried to solve problems that have occurred in the armies’ general chat. Due to a lack of perms, they have found themselves calling upon the higher commanding members. But when these members are afk or not online then that issue becomes a bit more out of control. If a staff member does not have the correct perms, they are limited to what they can do to minimise the damage caused. For example, if people were arguing in the main chat staff could warn them but they may not be able to mute them.

Discord has since released a timeout option that can allow staff members to time out people for certain periods of time. However, they are not guaranteed to have this permission. Ultimately, it is up to the leaders to give those trusted permissions. But even if they did have that permission and the server was experiencing a raid then this may be a lot harder to control. With timeouts only being able to do so much and there potentially being a handful of members entering the server, it can create problems.


Even if the staff members could deal with situations like the one stated above, it does not solve all the problems they may have. A lack of perms leads to a lack of trust which can break down relationships. If the staff team decides to internally revolt and petition for more powers then this can create an issue. Whilst the general idea of a moderator should be that they have moderating perms, some armies may not be willing to give out perms to everyone out of fear of getting defaced.

This fear is not shared by just one army but by many. But, if a person is a staff member then they should be trusted. This leaves the leader with a tough decision. Do they increase the perms for staff and adjust how hard it should be to get staff or should they continue as they are and try and hire more high-commanding members?

This is not the only source of internal drama though. Internal drama can be directly caused by a leader’s actions or even by a simple conversation. Being able to tackle this drama without any casualties tests leaders a lot. In some cases, the internal drama may be stopped as soon as it starts. However, in other cases, they lead to people leaving the army or getting fired from the staff team. This is not unusual to see either as it happens a lot in the community.

When a person is fired, steps down or just leaves then that creates a bigger challenge for those who are left and that challenge is rebuilding relationships. It is less about rebuilding as an army but about regaining the trust of staff and making them feel safe. This does not happen overnight and no one should expect it to. It is something that is done gradually, at a steady pace. Trying to force a relationship or safe environment can often make the situation worse so leaders have to beware of that and try to deal with the situation calmly.


Scandals can be some of the most talked about moments throughout the community. However, it is never a good thing. Scandal can destroy an army’s reputation and momentum. Not only that but it could cause issues internally. These moments could be caused by multilogging or other actions. But, no matter what it is caused by, these are moments that the army involved would like to quickly forget.

Even though the army may want the community to forget quickly, it’s not likely to. This presents a massive challenge for the leader(s) to overcome. If the issue comes from a troop then this may be easily solved with appropriate actions being taken. However, if the issue comes from within the army’s own staff/HCOM/leadership then this is where the real problem comes.

If the issue comes from within, it will leave a stain on the army and its reputation. There are multiple ways that a leader could approach this from demotions to straight-out removing the person from the army’s ranks or server. This does not mean that the army won’t face turmoil though. Even if the person is removed, the person’s actions or their removal could cause further problems.

Staff team members often form close bonds with each other. However, there can often be divides in terms of friendship groups within the staff team. Just because people work together it does not mean that they are friends. Therefore, in times when a staff member is cut, this may cause their friends to react badly. They may, eventually, accept the decision, however, some may choose to leave because of it.

No matter what happens, a leader has to persevere and they may well suffer because of it. Anything that they do will affect them, their staff and the army. Even if the leader does the “right” thing, there will be repercussions that they have to face because of it. These repercussions may last a month, they may last even longer but the memory of the moment will surely stay with the leader for the remainder of their tenure.

Aims and Ambitions

Every leader will have aims and ambitions upon taking the helm in an army. In the beginning, a leader’s first goal may be to stabilise themselves in the army. Or it may be to max high and get first on the weekly Top Tens. No matter what goal a leader has, they need to hold the belief that they can achieve it. Without this belief, demotivation can run rampant through the ranks.

For a leader, having a goal can often be the driving force that helps them to continue doing monotonous tasks daily. Leaders don’t just have one goal either but each will have different goals and motivations that they focus on. Winning a tournament can often be at the forefront of a major army leader’s mind because leaders are judged on how successful the army is. Often, sizes may not matter if a leader hasn’t achieved anything. After all, it’s not about how much an army maxes but what they do.

In recent years, armies have experienced a lot of ups and downs which have often made tournaments a main goal for armies. However, this year has seen many armies across the community participate in wars, having their own war goals. Winning wars is an important part of army warfare and yet it is rare to see an army win a war without the opposing army breaking war terms. This can be demotivating for both sides, however, a leader must showcase the positives and make sure that the army has performed well during the war to prove their leadership abilities.

One question that may pop up is “Is a war win legitimate if a treaty was made or a war term was broken?”. That is a question that many have attempted to answer. Some people say yes whilst others say no. However, it truly depends on the war and how the armies fought during it. If an army decided to no-show for a lot of battles but won because of their opponent breaking terms then that’s not a win. In fact, it is hard to imagine a war “win” where an army retreats from battles.

It is a leader’s duty to put the army first, but it is also their duty to defend the army and its nation. If an army decides to retreat, are they truly a good leader? Or maybe it depends on the war? A small army can’t be expected to defend against the best major army. But a leader should aim for the impossible, even if they’ll never reach that goal. Whether it is winning an impossible war, aiming to become a legend or aiming to become a dominant army in the Top Tens, leaders should reach for the stars.

Playing Pretend

A leader’s duties go beyond your casual leadership day jobs but sometimes they have to pretend. Now, this sounds stupid but it is true. Even in the darkest times, leaders have to try and get rid of any disbelief or discomfort they may have and put on a persona. They have to put on this persona to motivate the troops, and the staff and also to show the community they don’t back down.

Leaders have one of the hardest jobs in the community and that’s because they have to put on this front and lift everyone around them up. They have to be the face of the army 24/7. They have to take on the aggression of the community. Leaders have to continue to be present and that can be hard, especially during times of scandal or heated moments. While leaders can enjoy some moments, others can be extremely difficult and the amount of pressure can become unbearable. This includes pressure as a leader, from those around them and from the community.

All of these things can contribute to pressure getting on top of a person but who’s to know if it doesn’t show? Perhaps being a leader and having more than two faces is unhealthy but leaders do this for their army. Leaders also do it for the people within the army even if they may not see or appreciate it. A leader’s duties never end, it goes beyond the army and goes beyond the community. Leading is life – not that it should come before real-life responsibilities but it can have a big impact on a person.


A leader, as previously said, can often take a lot of heat not only for themselves but for others. As the face of an army, they become the target of hate and abuse, they become victims. However, this is not shown nor focussed on at all. Too often leaders have to put up with hate from the community or even within their own ranks but the full picture is never shown. What a leader has done for the people around them and their army may not be seen but if something happens surrounding their army, the blame often gets put on the leaders.

Leading is never easy, however, leaders have to make tough decisions which can also make them a target of people within their own army. Whether a leader’s actions are positive or negative, they will have the army in mind whilst doing them. This may not always be seen, like with demotions, but is very much the case. Inactive staff members can cause an entire staff team to grow unmotivated and, eventually, inactive.

The removal of an inactive staff member can show that the army has goals and needs the best team to achieve them. It also enables room for upcoming members to get the chance to become staff. Thirdly, it can also allow a spotlight to be put on those who need it within the staff team. So, while demotions can be negative, they can also be positive and lead to bigger things for the army.

One important thing about having this target on a leader’s back is that it enables them to make tough decisions. However, if a leader does not make tough decisions, the target may still be there though. For a leader, there are always going to be two sides of the coin. Despite this, there will be negatives on both sides, so choosing the right one is even more difficult. Having a target on your back can make decisions harder to make but it can force an inactive leader to do more or choose a replacement. Either way, it puts an enormous amount of pressure on the already-pressured leader.

Moving On Out

Whilst leaders may love an army and do everything they can for it, they can only lead for so long. Some may lead for a couple of months, others a couple of years. But, no matter how long a leader leads, there will always be a time when they have to think about the next step. One of these next steps may be moving to another army.

Now, moving to another army is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it can definitely be perceived as such. There are many reasons a person may want to swap jerseys. They may have friends in another army, they may have ambitions, they may even want to return to an army they used to be a part of or maybe they just want a new challenge. Whatever the reason is, leaders won’t always get the reception they had hoped for. If they move/want to move to another army then the question of “Why?” goes around and this can lead to speculation. Not only this, but it could also lead to hatred towards the person for leaving the army and its people.

If they do leave the army, it can seem like they may be abandoning it as well as the people within it. This has been the case in some circumstances as some have hopped ship before it sank. However, this is not always the case. The same can also be said about the reception upon a leader switching jerseys. Sometimes it is positive, sometimes it is negative. Despite all of this, they have to think about what is the best move for them. Not only that but they have to think about why they’re doing it, as well as the future of the army they are leaving, the troops, the effect it will have on them and the army, their future and if it is the right move.

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Leading is as much about thinking about each situation as it is actual leading. It is important to note that not all outcomes will be good but any step the leader makes can have repercussions. Their move could fail miserably, they could be considered an army hopper, them moving could encourage others to join them, or they could even become armyless. It is not all doom and gloom as the leader could find great success, a home, a supporting structure, a role they are comfortable with, new friends and more. So, even while there may be negatives, there may also be positives but the leader has to think about each and every possible outcome, not just for them but for the army they are leaving.

If the leader is retiring then they have to think about the future of the army but also their role in the community. Many leaders continue to help the army they retire from as an advisor. This is not uncommon but there are many different types of advisors. Some advisors are more hands-on than others meaning that they will try to put the army in the best position and support the leader. Some may only come back once a week or less to give advice or to attend one event. But, for advisors, event attending is not something that is at the top of their list in terms of responsibilities.

However, the leader may want to either retire entirely from armies or work in organisations outside of individual armies. This may mean that they take a role in the media or in the league. Even with this, the leader will still have to earn the position they would want which may lead to many months of hard work within the organisation. They may attempt to do this and fail to reach the top of the tower, however. They may not even want to reach the top but, instead, be a Head Moderator or Top Ten Committee Head instead. Whatever role is desired, work has to be put in and won’t just be given or kept. But, making change/an impact within their specific role category may be at the forefront of their mind. This will drive them massively towards their goal, making it even more achievable.

In truth, being a leader is not all fun and games. However, it can be very rewarding with many awards up for grabs, many achievements made available and many moments can be made. Some leaders aim to be a community legend, others may be satisfied in their army’s hall of fame or some may just want to lead and do their best for the army. None of these things are easy but they can lead to amazing opportunities for a leader.

In life, nothing is easy but leading can be a lot harder than people think. What are your aims? Do you aim to be an army leader? Or are you just here for the ride? Are army leaders underappreciated?

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Mchappy is interning at Club Penguin Armies as the Chief Executive Producer. Max held him at gunpoint to finish his biography.

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