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Officers' Quarters: Gdivorce

PvP priest vs shaman
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.

To lead a guild effectively, its leaders have to be on the same page. In this week's email, a guild's founding officers have a fundamental disagreement about the direction of the guild. One of them wants out, and she wants to take her half of the guild with her.

Hi Scott, here's a little question:

A few years ago, my boyfriend and I started our own guild, mainly for the extra storage space and to share profession materials between our characters (we both have plenty of alts). A few months ago, we decided to turn it into a raiding guild, invited a few friends who then in turn invited a few more friends and so on.

Then our first disagreement happened.

I prefer a dedicated, casual hardcore raiding guild, while he prefers a more social guild, with raiding on the side. And recently, he's been promoting officers, rearranging guild ranks and guild bank permissions without my knowledge. I feel like it's no longer 'our guild', but his guild. Is there a way I can gracefully take my 50% and leave the guild?

Thanks for any help you have to offer.

I'm sorry you're going through this -- obviously this is not just a leadership issue but an emotional one as well.

It sounds like the problem stems from a lack of respect and consideration. I don't blame you for feeling like the best choice right now is to leave.

What was promised?

I'm wondering, though. What kind of guild did all of these friends you invited want? What kind of raiding were they expecting? If they thought it would be a more serious raiding guild like you wanted, then your boyfriend is changing things not just from your perspective but from theirs as well. If that is the case, then it might be worth fighting for what both you and they want.

You could create a raid team out of those players and raid the way you want to. Now, I don't recommend having primarily social raiders and primarily progression players in the same raid. However, if you can field a full 10 players with the same perspective, then you have the start of a team. If you've fallen short, you could always run challenge modes or invite outside players while you try to recruit more people.

It looks to me like both you and your boyfriend could have your way, with you handling the raiding and your boyfriend handling the social aspects. It will require some respect and cooperation on his part, and some forgiveness on yours, but it could be done.

Charters matter

The lesson here for other guild leaders is that there must be agreement within the leadership before you start recruiting. I realize the guild was just a bank guild at first. The moment you decided to evolve it into a real guild, however, you needed to sit down and map out what path the guild should take.

It's why I recommend creating a charter, a set of written guidelines that spell out the guild's goals and expectations, the policies and rules. That way there is no room for these fundamental disagreements about direction -- at least in theory.

Just like governments need constitutions that constrain them, guild officers need that framework under which to make decisions. Otherwise, you face a situation like the current one, where the person with the most "power" gets what they want all the time. They are accountable to nothing and no one.

What's done is done, however. You can only look toward the future now.

Exiting with grace

If you've really had enough and want to depart, I'm not sure what "your 50%" would constitute. I don't ascribe to the notion that a guild "belongs to" its leaders. You are not creating a privately held corporation but a community. As such, the guild belongs to everyone, even if a few are running the show.

If you made an initial gold investment into the guild, for bank slots or just deposits, then you could talk to your boyfriend in private about recovering that investment before you leave. If you've put some expensive items into the bank, then you could discuss withdrawing them. I'm not saying you need his blessing at all. You don't. But if you want to leave gracefully, as you say, then it's better to talk about it. The alternative is to make the withdrawals on your own and skip town.

I'm not sure what else you could rightly claim at this point. Your friends will have to decide for themselves whether they want to stay in the guild. No matter what, you're going to take a loss in terms of your time and energy at this point if you walk away.

I don't recommend going into details about the reasons you're leaving if you post a public farewell. It will just come across as an attack on your boyfriend. Try to stay positive in your goodbyes. Maybe your friends who are more serious about raiding will follow you to a new home.

/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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