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Officers' Quarters: Friends in high places

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Here's another /facepalm situation to complement the one I wrote about last week. What's the first thing you would do if you were suddenly appointed the leader of your guild? Would you talk to members about the direction they'd like you to take the guild? Maybe smooth things over with the other officers who might be a little stung that they weren't chosen to take over? This week's e-mail comes from a raid leader in a guild whose new GL took an entirely different path.

Hello there. I wanted to share some issues I'm having with my current guild. You see, I happen to be the paladin Class Master, and one of the raid leaders of an originally casual guild that got some interest into raiding.

However, problems started about 2 weeks ago, when our Guild Leader decided to quit the game, due to RL reasons. Since then, one of the other officers took over, being designated by the old GL before he left. The thing is . . . the recruitment policy changed from, you know, applying, getting our "probation" status for a week or so to see how the initiate liked the guild and vice versa, to "Hey, let´s get some of my friends in! They have already cleared Naxx!" (As if it was something like "WOO they beat Sunwell before 3.0!") And not only did they get invited, but also promoted to raider/officer status right away . . .

That ticked me off . . .

However, I have been having some rough weeks at work, so I decided to take it slow and see if it was just because of stress, but the thing is . . . the "new group" started going to Naxx 10 man, while the morale of the other members went down. I tried to put up LOTS and I mean LOTS of Heroic runs to gear up the members that just dinged 80, and well, you know, get a raid group started, but people just aren't motivated . . . They don't sign up for raids, and if they do they don't show up, not even for Heroics anymore . . . I´m getting tired, bored and yes . . . frustrated. I happen to be thinking about leaving but some people I care for are still there, and I guess the guild morale will go down even further if one of the officers/class masters leaves as well. Any tips?

Yikes.

Way back in May 2007, I wrote a column called How to Destroy Your Guild. It was my second ever post on the site! This was before I realized I couldn't possibly keep up with writing more than one column per week and I managed to squeeze in an extra feature now and then. Why do I bring it up now? Well, my friend, it's because your new guild leader just checked off number 4 on my list: make all your friends officers.

In the original column, I talked more about real-life friends. I'm not sure if it's better or worse to make all your in-game friends officers. At least in this case you already know that they know how to play the game. But there's probably quite a few things you don't know about them, such as, perhaps, how they deal with conflict, or what kinds of personal issues they have going on outside the game, or how they'll manage the mantle of leadership you've suddenly thrust upon them.

Or if they will, for example, take over all the raids and leave your other members high and dry. Just last week I talked about trying to get more people involved in raids. Guilds need to give members who have worked hard to get ready for raids a chance to attend. It's particularly bad in this case because (a) the people hogging the raid slots are brand new members and (b) they're now officers, too!

If your new GL has turned the guild into an organization that exists solely to support his own private club, you are in big trouble. In the long term, this social atmosphere will never work. Members will gradually slip away one by one as they realize they have no future in the guild. Someday it'll be just the GL and his friends, and the rare few who haven't yet discovered what's going on.

And that's assuming nothing else happens. This GL has shown poor judgment so far. Being a good player does does not qualify you to be a good leader. The two things have nothing to do with each other. I've met great players who would be absolute disasters as officers, and I've met mediocre players with excellent leadership skills. (And let me be clear, as the writer of the e-mail has already alluded to this point: clearing Naxx does not make you a great or even a good player. It just means you're probably not a terrible player.) This poor judgment by the GL could come into play in other situations and make matters far worse as time goes on.

It's possible that he invited his friends to help the guild progress through raids and that he intends to make sure other people get a shot once the more experienced members put the zone on farm. That wouldn't be quite so bad. But the fact that he immediately promoted all these guys hints that this outcome isn't part of the plan.

The best thing you can do here, if you intend to stay, is to try to start up a second raiding group of the original members. If you've been a raid leader for a while, people will trust you to lead good runs. But it's troubling that people aren't showing up for what you're scheduling.

You should talk to a few of the people who haven't been there and try to find out why they're not interested. It could be the guild morale, as you speculate, but it could also be other stuff. You can't know for sure until you ask. Their reasons could actually be fixable on your end, if it's just a scheduling conflict or if they want to play a different class or role.

If you can get another run going every week, it will improve morale considerably. Just make sure your run doesn't conflict with any of your guild leader's runs. You don't want to provoke him. Depending on how your guild operates, it might even be a good idea to get clearance from him before you move forward with it.

However, even a second raid isn't a fix for the leadership crisis. I'm sure you're not the only one who's angry about the promotions. If you decide to leave and join another guild (or form your own), there's a pretty good chance that others may want to follow you, especially if you've been a good raid leader. It's definitely a risk that some of the people you're close to may not want to leave the guild, but that doesn't mean you'll never talk to them again, as long as you stay on the server.

I have to say that, in this particular situation -- and keeping in mind that my information is limited -- it sounds like leaving the guild is your best choice for the long term. And that goes for anyone who isn't part of the new guild leader's inner circle.

/salute

Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at scott.andrews@weblogsinc.com. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters! For more WoW Insider gameplay columns, click here.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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