Ensure your moderators work as a team

by Martin Reed on 9 August 2007 in Articles

For your online community to be successful, it will require moderation as it grows. As it continues to develop, you are likely to require more than one moderator.

It is essential that your moderators work well within a team and that team harmony thrives. Anything less will damage the effectiveness of your moderators as well as the reputation of your online community.

Why you need to maintain team spirit amongst your moderators

Ensure moderators work as a teamYour moderators are your representatives. How they conduct themselves will be directly associated with you. If there appears to be any personal differences between your moderators, your moderating team will be perceived as unprofessional and will lose credibility.

Should your team of moderators lose credibility, your online community will suffer. Your members will no longer respect your moderators – even those that act in the most professional manner.

Never forget that a team is only as strong as its weakest member.

How to ensure team harmony

Achieve team harmony amongst moderatorsWhen choosing your moderators, you should always consider their personality – only recruit those you are confident are mature enough for the role and who you feel will work well within a team.

Some individuals just seem unable to work effectively within a team environment; these are the people you need to ensure never become moderators!

You need to make the role of your moderators crystal clear. Ambiguity is often the reason behind any failure in team harmony; if one feels another to be making a mistake, it may result in discord between the accuser and the victim of any such accusations.

You should also make it clear from the beginning that all moderators are to work as a team. Ensure you impress upon your moderators the importance of their role – make them aware of the fact that they are representatives of the community when on and off-duty. Make sure your moderators know that any public disagreements, bickering or lack of team spirit will not be tolerated.

Make yourself available to your staff members – make it clear they can always contact you with any issues or concerns. You will often be able to resolve any potential simmering conflicts before they get out of control if your moderators feel comfortable speaking to you about their concerns.

Finally, ensure you treat all your moderators equally. Do not show favouritism, and treat your staff just as well as you treat your members. If you show respect to your staff, they are far more likely to reciprocate and show respect in return. If any signs of disharmony appear in your moderating team, ensure you take immediate action.

What methods do you take to ensure team harmony? Have you ever had a failure with effective team working amongst your moderators? How did you resolve the situation? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment below.

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Smiley August 11, 2007 at 12:23 am

I agree,

This is why I don’t take applications. Not just for moderators for forums, but staff for any part of the site. Chat or boards (I like to keep them separate)

I like to monitor people for a while and people who I think will get along well with each other, I “hire” them in pairs, a sort of buddy system.

This works in the rooms more than the forums obviously. But in the future once the rooms are actually full of users, the staff will work their shifts in their assigned pairs and will stay with the same partners. I’m knackered so not sure if I’ve explained that clear enough, I think you’ll understand what I mean, though.

As for the forums, I tend to go more for the people with a sense of humour. The people who make me laugh, especially if their SOH is compatible with others I choose.

People with a good sense of banter just tend to get on with people better.

Saying that; I don’t exactly discriminate against loners. Some people have just never been given the chance, so I also do look for the ‘underdog’, the person who could take me by surprise if given a chance and given a good nudge in the right direction. That’s why I think my buddy system for room staff is a good idea. They have no choice -but- to work with someone then, it’ll gain them the needed experience.

Martin Reed - Blog Author August 11, 2007 at 10:27 am

Smiley – I think in a way it all boils down to selecting the right personalities to work for you as moderators; if someone is on the same wavelength as you and has a similar sense of humour, you are off to a good start.

Smiley August 11, 2007 at 11:42 am

Yes. That’s why I tend to go for the ones who make me laugh. Plus that has added benefit, if they’re entertaining and funny – they’re more likely to keep new users amused in the chat room, hopefully enough to keep them in there long enough for another person to come along!

Martin Reed - Blog Author August 15, 2007 at 11:46 am

Smiley – A sense of humour is great; just make sure they can also be serious at times, too!

Eric Martindale September 14, 2007 at 3:54 pm

Wow, thanks for the post. This is something I’ve struggled with for a while. I’ve recently started holding regular meetings where each team on our staff gives updates. It helps everyone understand that they all play an equally important part of an increasingly complex machine.

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 15, 2007 at 5:13 pm

Eric Martindale – Holding meetings can be a great way of strengthening team spirit amongst your moderators – just so long as everyone turns up!

Escape Artist November 24, 2007 at 5:17 pm

You say the staff should work as a team, but also that the admins should be superior to the moderators. This does not create good team harmony.

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 25, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Escape Artist – I just re-read my post but cannot see where I differentiate moderators and admins. In my eyes, they both have the same amount of responsibility. In any case, all staff members should be working as a team – regardless of any differences in authority between them.

Alvina March 18, 2008 at 6:34 am

I try to involve my moderators in decision making however sometimes I have the feeling that it doesn’t work for whatever reason. They will tell me that they support my decisions to the fullest, and while I appreciate support, I generally think we should act like a collective and come to a decision together. The most effective way to do so is by posting polls. Otherwise I get the feeling that they always expect me to make decisions.

Martin Reed - Blog Author March 19, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Alvina – Sometimes you need to actively encourage constructive criticism. If you find your moderators are hesitant to provide this, try changing the way you ask for feedback. Instead of saying ‘How is this?’, try saying something like ‘I was thinking of this, but am not too sure it is right. How can we get this right? What do you think?’

This way you are showing your moderators that you really need their help and feedback, and they will be far more likely to offer assistance.