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Officers' Quarters: Destructive criticism, part 2


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.

Last week, I began addressing what is one of the most complex and difficult duties an officer or raid leader must occasionally perform: giving out unsolicited constructive criticism. As the email that sparked this discussion proved, such conversations can be volatile. With the wrong approach, you can destroy friendships and lose guildmates. Let's continue to examine the right approach.

To recap, here are the first two steps from part 1:
  1. Consider your guild's criticism culture and adapt your approach accordingly.
  2. Plant the seed of taking personal initiative to research and improve play.
At this point, you have to be a little bit patient. If your guild is on the brink of collapse over performance issues, you can't always afford to let this situation play out. However, the safest bet is to give the underperforming player another week of raids to show an improvement. Keep a close eye on him during this week. Examine his spec and gear to see if he's made any adjustments. Record a combat log to see if he's using the appropriate class abilities. Watch him during boss encounters to see if he is following instructions and executing the fight properly.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Destructive criticism


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.

In the day-to-day duties of an officer and a raid leader, few endeavors are more fraught with the potential for drama than doling out performance advice to your players. Constructive criticism, no matter how well-meaning, can become destructive in the blink of an eye if it's not approached delicately. After scaring off a healer, the officer who wrote this week's email is looking for a better way to deal with these situations.

Scott,

As an officer in my guild, I take care of several things, but the big three are raid leading our second 10-man group (which is not easy as a healer, by any stretch of the imagination), making sure our priests are doing what they are supposed to be doing both as dps and healers, and any extra healers, making sure they're doing their job right. The first two are interesting enough, especially since there's very little consistency with our group, and our number of priests waxes and wanes with the seasons. But the big problem here is when I have to "fix" a healer. Now, I know no one likes to receive constructive criticism, and officers like even less to give the constructive criticism for fear of running off the guild member.

Recently, I've had to talk to two different healers to try to help them out with their healing, one was a holy priest, the other a restoration shaman. Now, I have some pretty hefty experience with both classes as healers (I have two max level priests, and a max level shaman, and I've healed in raids on all of them), so I find myself at least somewhat knowledgeable about the classes, but by no means do I consider myself an expert. I'll leave that to Elitist Jerks. At any rate, the two healers, after speaking with them separately in tells, I found that the priest was more willing to work with the suggestions I'd made, and there was a huge improvement the following night in our raid. The shaman, however, was very adverse to my suggestions. Here's where the meat of the problem comes in.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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