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Officers' Quarters: Desperate appointments

garrosh hellscream
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 from No Starch Press.

It's certainly no rare situation when a guild leader has to scale back his or her time due to offline obligations. The right thing to do is appoint someone who's willing and able to cover your own slack. But what if that person isn't even an officer? This week, a guild member wonders whether it's time to panic.

Hi Scott!

Recently I joined a re-roll guild that has been around since the first of January. The premise of the guild is simple: new members can only join with a level one character and must level up within the guild without the help of outside resources. For a while, this worked out well. Everyone became fast friends and the guild grew to be called "the fam." But now we are approaching another month of "re-rolls," and drama has reared its ugly head.

Our GL just announced an impending life change and since then he's been markedly absent from our roster. One member posted on our forums noting that activity had declined, and another responded with suggestions on how to improve the current state of affairs. A few of the officers replied agreeing and disagreeing with various points, but the general consensus was that the members were not happy with things as they were. Before I go any farther, it helps to understand the... unique, way in which our officers are appointed.

Anyone who wants to "help out" (as the GL calls it) can post an application to the forums. Members are given a week (often less) to respond to it before the GL approves it. Not before he makes a decision about it--but before he approves it. All of our officer applications have been approved, so at present we have around four to six of them for a guild of less than fifty active people, that's been around for less than six months!

Anyway, at some point during the drama, another officer application was posted. When the GL finally showed up to have his say, he announced that the person who threw in the application was being promoted to co-GL. We had plenty of people post offering suggestions on how to improve activity. Some even volunteered to lead raids and other events, but the GL didn't acknowledge any of these efforts. His response sounded almost as if he was reprimanding our membership when he said no one else had offered to "help out."

The sticky part of the situation is this: besides obvious tension over the fact that this addendum to the leadership happened overnight with no warnings, the person he elected is a newer member whose only character is currently at level 55. As the situation that resulted in her appointment was largely precipitated by people who are bored at level cap and looking for more things to do, I'm not sure how she'll be able to sort everything out in our GL's absence.

The GL's argument was that it's one thing to offer ideas and another to take responsibility. Is he right, or is the sudden and unexplained promotion of a newer member a cause for alarm?

One of the great struggles guild leaders face is finding enough players willing to help with all the various tasks and duties that a guild needs. All but the smallest guilds require more than one person in a leadership position.

Prior promotions

Understanding this, I don't judge your guild leader for promoting anyone who is willing to an officer position. Sometimes we have to accept those who are the most enthusiastic rather than convincing those who are best qualified. (How do you think Garrosh got to be warchief, anyway?)

The question then becomes what those officers are doing once they are promoted. It seems as though your guild leader has been frustrated by a lack of help. These promotions should be given only if the player in question agrees to accept specific responsibilities. It doesn't seem like that has been the case. Your guild leader is correct when he says that offering suggestions does not equate to a better guild if no one takes action.

Now it seems that people have spoken up about doing more for the guild, but your guild leader hasn't acknowledged it. He must have a reason for that, but I can only speculate. Maybe he has heard similar, private promises in the past that have gone unfulfilled. Or maybe he has simply burned out from the lack of help, and the offers are now too little, too late.

The face of the future

Whatever the reason, your guild leader must be feeling pretty desperate in order to promote someone to co-leader who isn't even an officer yet. It's possible that the guild leader spoke to all the existing officers and no one wanted to step up. He's probably worried that the guild will simply fall apart without a dedicated player to cover for him.

However, just because this co-leader is new to the guild doesn't mean she won't do an outstanding job. The guild is only three months old, after all -- you're all new. Perhaps everyone should simply give her a chance before jumping to conclusions about what she can or can't accomplish.

I agree that better communication between the guild leader and the guild would be beneficial. Some discussion prior to the promotion would have gone a long way toward making people more comfortable with the choice. Unless someone else volunteers for the position, however, I don't think you have any other options.

A good time to assess

Is the sudden promotion cause for alarm? Well, it's certainly cause for everyone to take a long, hard look at the guild and its leadership. Have the vast majority of the tasks and duties fallen on the guild leader alone? Perhaps it's time to change that, and assign roles to officers in order to distribute responsibilities.

Also, what is the guild's attitude toward max-level activities? Will these be supported by the officers, or will leveling remain the sole focus? If your new co-leader is only 55, but the guild wants to participate in max-level activities, then one of the existing level-85 officers should step up and coordinate those.

I like the concept of your guild. Leveling together is a great bonding experience. You've reached a crossroads now, though, both in terms of leadership and identity. I would urge your officers to make concrete decisions about the management and the direction of the guild. Also, I would urge your members to support those officers however they can to ensure a bright future for the community.

/salute

Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to scott@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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