Looking for a guild? Well, you can join ours! We have a tabard and everything! Check back for Amanda Dean talking about guilds and guild leadership in We Have a Tabard.
Over the last several weeks, we've talked about everything that guild leaders need to do to try to maintain peace, order, and progress amongst your ranks. I'm going to let the rest of your guild in on a little secret: it's like a job, except you don't get paid.
Theoretically it should be a job that your GMs and officers love. Your leadership has less flexibility when it comes to scheduling than rank and file members. When it comes to raiding or other activities, your leadership doesn't have the opportunity to slack off. They are working hard to make sure things run smoothly and to set a good example for their members.
Is it better to burn out than to fade away? I am currently on a wee bit of a leadership hiatus. After struggling to fill raids and going over the same fights countless times, I kind of snapped. I told my team I needed a break. I have to admit that while I feel a little bit guilty, it's been blissful. I've slept more, had fewer migraines, and generally enjoyed WoW more for the last couple of weeks than I have over the last several months. It won't last though.
Let me offer you a few suggestions to avoid getting to the place where I was:
Set firm boundaries
This is something that I always had trouble with. I'm too nice and I care too much. I want to make sure that my team is enjoying the game. I often found people bringing their personal problems to the me, and I'd work doubly hard to help them or make excuses for them. In my tenure as GM, I've referred people to substance abuse and suicide hotlines, as well as community resources for medical care and emergency services. You just can't take on everybody's issues. I'm GM -- not a therapist. The boundaries that people cross, or try to cross may be different for you. You have to decide for yourself where to draw the line.
Take time off
You work 40 hours a week for the job that you get paid for, why do we work more in WoW? I have weekends off work, but I spend a good good deal of them playing WoW. Make sure you take days off from leadership too. It's difficult because if you want to log in to pursue personal goals (like grinding Cenarian Circle rep for
the Guardian of Cenarius title) you'll probably find people asking you to do more of your leadership work. Politely explain that you're taking some time for yourself, and let them know who they can go to for assistance or when you'll be able to help them. Make it clear that you need some time for you. If you must, set a DND message, or take your personal time away from WoW.
You want your guild to run a certain way. Once you've defined your goals and policies, find officers that you trust to help you move things along. My rule was that unless you're saying "Thanks mandy, this is fun" you should not whisper me during a raid -- take your issues to the loot master or another officer. I found this rule being violated frequently, and I should have stood more strongly. It got to the point where raids were a real drag, and eventually I wound up on medication to prevent migraines. Once you have folks in place to assist you, make sure you refer your members to the proper channels.
Make your expectations clear
Since I believe that WoW isn't really a job for me or for anyone else, I tend toward more casual players. I've been plagued by laissez-faire attitudes toward attendance and performance. I made a massive mistake by not clearly stating my expectations. I believe that you can be a casual raider. By casual I mean you don't have to dedicate every waking minute to WoW, but that doesn't mean you should be unreliable or unprepared. While things do come up, the schedule is posted. Be courteous in acknowledging the events that you can attend and do your best to view those as appointments worth keeping. Whatever your expectations are, when people aren't meeting them talk to them. Consistent offenders are just going to drive you and the rest of your team crazy, so you may need to remove them.
In short, WoW is a game. It should be fun for everyone, including the GM.
WoW.com offers a plethora of information on guild leadership and guild membership. Be sure to check out Scott Andrew's Weekly Column Officer's Quarters and keep an eye on the community with Mike Schramm's Guildwatch.