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Officers' Quarters: Mailbox roundup 3 -- guild leadership


Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

Here at Officers' Quarters, I receive a number of emails every week that don't get featured in the column for various reasons (which I explained the first time I did a roundup). Once again, it's time to examine some of these shorter -- but no less interesting! -- topics. This roundup's theme is guild leaders.

High rank, low numbers
Dear Officers' Quarters,

I'm a relatively new member to an active 10-man raiding guild. Our guild is slowly pushing through Cataclysm raid content, and we are taking a slow and steady approach to progression raiding. We've downed Omnotron Defense System and Magmaw both times during our first two weeks of Blackwing Descent raiding, but now that we're considering switching gears and trying some Bastion of Twilight, we're running in to a bit of a problem: very low DPS out of some core raiders.

When we first began stepping into Cataclysm raiding, I assumed it was gear related and that, after time, our DPS would go up, making the fights much easier. However, with an almost identical core group tackling these encounters, some of the raiders' gear has improved tremendously, while I'm still seeing similar DPS on the meters.

This problem is also compounded by the fact that one of the biggest culprits of low DPS is our guild leader.
I've been a min-maxer since I became interested in raiding. I would love to help him work out the kinks in his rotation and bring up his DPS, but it's a touchy subject with anyone, especially the leader of your guild. No one likes to be told that they're doing something wrong. Also, with my current nonofficer status in the guild, I feel like I'd be overstepping my boundaries a bit if I approached him about it.

I really like this guild. However, I'd love to be able to progress past these early bosses to experience more of the content, but I just don't see that happening without people taking a more serious look at shortcomings in their performance. How can I help my guild to address this lack of DPS without coming off as the "know-it-all" new guy?

Thanks for your help,

Confused
Hi, Confused.

Does your guild have a separate raid leader? I'd recommend bringing it up to him or her first. Express your concerns about the DPS as a whole rather than singling out the guild leader.

If things are going to get better, someone at the leadership level must take an interest in the DPS meters. The fact that the guild leader is part of the problem doesn't bode well for the culture of the guild changing any time soon. In that case, you may not be a good fit there, because you're only going to get frustrated when you put in so much more time and effort than most others. Most likely, you'll either have to resign yourself to slow or no progression or find a more focused guild to join.

The only ray of hope I can offer you is that DPS often improves as players master an encounter. It's easier to perform well when you don't have to think about the mechanics and you can react instinctively. Since you're new to the guild, you don't really know what your fellow raiders can do once they know a fight inside and out.

If you want to help out individuals, you might want to check out my two-part column on constructive criticism.

Rudderless
Hi, Scott.

One of my coworkers is our guild leader, but mainly in title only as the one who bought the charter. In terms of leadership skill, he at times can lack both tact, wisdom, and patience, in addition to having never led a guild before.

To say the guild lacks direction and structure is an understatement. Throughout Wrath, it was never sat down and established that we need a core of leaders with experience and direction to structure the guild to achieve goals such as successful raiding, if that in fact was the goal of the guild in the first place.

Over the past 10 months, I've voiced my concerns with other guild members and occasionally to our guild leader directly. Any attempt to sit down and discuss where the guild is or what we're trying to accomplish leads to fractured discussions over raiding, raid times, characters, and a spiral of other superfluous things that don't address the real problem: Our guild has no plan. Some of us have outright stated to our guild leader that we need someone else to take over who knows how to manage a successful guild.

How can I, without causing conflict, leverage my own experience as a guild leader to shift the burden of responsibility onto myself so that I can try and steer the ship before it gets so far off course that the only options become to leave and find greener pastures?

Thanks in advance,

Anonymous
Unfortunately, if you don't want to cause conflict, then there is little you can do. Your guild leader needs to learn for himself what it takes to lead a guild. Letting the guy who puts the charter together become the guild leader by default probably wasn't the best plan, but I can't really say anything on that point, since that's how I first got the job ...

For the big issues, you can only offer him advice. Considering the way your guild is structured, it sounds like he is free to accept or reject that advice. Perhaps you could buy him a copy of The Guild Leader's Handbook and hope he reads it!

It sounds like your biggest concern is raiding. If you volunteer to be the raid leader for the expansion, it will shift the vast majority of the responsibility for this problem area onto you and away from your fledgling guild leader. You can then organize those aspects of the guild as you see fit (mostly). Maybe the organization that you bring will bleed over into other areas. That would be the only solution I can see, but the problem is that your guild leader has to agree to it.

Be careful if you are given this power. By instituting policies and structure where none existed before, you could alienate some of the original members and might even lose some players. It's for the best in the long run -- just be prepared for this.

In the end, if the guild leader isn't actively causing problems, then your guild can get by with some motivated and experienced officers doing most of the heavy lifting. The question, I suppose, is whether you and the other officers want to run a guild this way.

The perks of power
Hi Scott,

I just have a question about guild leaders in WoW. As a guild leader, do you get any additional perks? Any benefits from being a leader? I've scoured the web but have found little information on this. Thank you.

C
As far as the game is concerned, you do not. You get the same perks as everyone else in the guild at the exact same pace. In fact, you don't even get a reputation bonus with your own guild!

Outside the UI, on the other hand, you get to set guild policy and determine the direction of the guild. You get the satisfaction of seeing your tough decisions and hard work bear the fruit of success. Also, running a guild is a great way to learn leadership skills that can carry over into the real world.

I would encourage anyone who has thought about it to give guild leadership a shot. The rewards are intangible, but they are no less worthy of the effort you put in.

/salute

Join us to learn how to survive the leveling process, deal with guild perk freeloaders, and discuss the guild talent controversy or the guild reputation system. Send Scott your guild-related questions and suggestions at scott@wowinsider.com; you may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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