Thursday, October 15, 2009

Through The Eyes Of The Guild Leader: Truth

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revelutionary
act" - George Orwell
This is never more true of a statement than when leading a guild. It is often times hard to tell the truth and often times we would rather find a way to shy away from it. Perhaps we would rather just ignore it and hope that it turns out to not be the truth? Perhaps we are just completely blind to it? Or perhaps we just simply do not care any longer? What if the truth were something completely different? What if instead of looking at every external thing, that we instead look at ourselves? Was there something that we did wrong? Was there an area where we overlooked something/someone? Did we do everything that we possibly could have, given the circumstances? Have you ever had any of these thoughts while serving as a guild leader? I know I have.

Everytime you have a member who leaves a guild, you begin to examine first the guild and then yourself. You look at every facet of the guild and try to figure out what you did or did not do. Does this sound familiar? It should, because at one point or another in our guild leadership we will all experience it. I remember back to the beginning of this year when we lost several of our core group to another guild that could offer the world to them, or at least a few raids that we were not ready to run since we working on developing a solid group. I went through all of the thoughts I mentioned above. I realligned the guild. We reigned in the membership to application and officer approval for invite. We tightened the hatches and tied down the sails. I admit that the truth was the simple fact that I felt betrayed and hurt. In the game my Paladin can stand in the face of near immortals and gods and heal through any assault or massive strike they can muster, but in the quiet recesses of my mind I took each member leaving as a blow that struck deep and wounded even deeper.

Time heals all wounds and we soon removed the restrictions on memberships and once more began focusing on the raiding aspect. I led our core group into Naxx 10 and we cleared it with no problems (okay maybe a few folks with two left feet). We embarked on Uld 10 this past week and showed great potential. Then it happened. I log in tonight and I am hit with a whisper informing me of a guild member leaving. I look over the roster and notice another guild member that has left. A quick check of the armory and I find them together in a guild. I notice some other peculiarities, but those have nothing to do with this. I once again immediately begin to review events and think about what happened; however, unlike last time I blocked this blow. I spoke with a few of our senior members who were on and have reached out to a couple others via our forums and personal messages. I decided not to tighten the hatches or tie down the sails, but this time I plan to sail straight into the eye of this storm.

Instead of worrying about what I could have done different, I instead reviewed what we truly lost:

Player A - A whiner who the majority of the current members do not know from Adam and who do not care for. A player who decided that the guild needed a level 80 Death Knight rather than a useful class that could actually heal or tank. A player who was always out for theirself and never cared about the guild or assisting the guild. A player who used the guild to get gear. A player who left the guild claiming they wanted to raid more; however, removed their name from all but one raid in a week where four raids had been scheduled.

Player B - A player who had started to contribute to the guild again, after leaving in the large group of core member who abandoned the guild at the beginning of the year. A player who had mere days earlier left the guild without saying a word only to return without saying a word. A player who now left again, only this time with Player A.

I do not want to degrade these two individuals. I am sure they had their reasons for leaving. I would just be interested to know what the reasons for leaving were. You see LarĂ­sa posted a blog least week about if it was right/wrong to look for a new guild while you are in a guild. It was a good article and well thought out. There were a lot of wonderful comments on the post as well. I would recommed you to go and read it. I found her article to be interesting because it does pose a great question about how should an individual go about looking for a new guild? Well, I would like to answer this from the position of a guild leader that is trying to keep a core raiding group together.

I do not believe that I have made it a secret over the past (almost) year that I really hate when people leave the guild like a thief in the night. I understand that often times what an individual may desire is going to change compared to what a guild may desire. I am actually fine with that. What aggrevates me, is when people sneak away from the guild without saying anything. When I first had to deal with this at the beginning of the year, I lost my cool and was angered by it. I did not hide my feelings in the guild chat or in the guild forums. I cursed and told everyone that if they did not want to be a part of MAS to get the f**k out. I will never apologize for my feelings, but I was wrong in how I responded to the situation. It was a pretty rough time in my life in general as a lot of things had not been going right for over a year and this was just one thing that I released all of my anger upon. The thing I learned that time around is that the folks who sneak away are probably not as big of a loss that we may think they are. I learned a lot from that experience that I am able to apply now whenever anyone leaves.

However, to the question of how should one look for another guild? I would prefer someone catch me in a whisper or through some form of in-game mail, e-mail, or personal message from our forum site and let me know that their intention is to leave. I also love to receive honest feedback about what is right/wrong with the guild. I realize this could be uncomfortable for some members, but it really is appreciated. The entire time I have been a guild leader I have had only four people approach me as to why they were leaving. Two of the four had valid reasons such as their friends belonged to another guild, they wanted to raid content that we were not raiding, ect. The other two pretty much just jumped at the first opportunity to be carried through content, but at least they were honest enough to approach me and explain their reasons.

I tend to view those who leave without saying anything to myself or another officer as the individuals who want the easiest way to the end-game content. I honestly would prefer these types of personalities to leave the guild anyway as they tend to be the members who will always complain about something but never try to take the initiative to do anything about it. I also view these individuals as the people who are always demanding runs but never wanting to assist others in what they need. Unfortunately, we live in a world where everything is focused on "me" and as such, we will probably never see the day where guild members will be honest and upfront with what they perceive to be wrong and why they feel they need to leave, much less let us know they plan to leave.

At the end of this very long post I want to offer some encouragement to other guild leaders out there. Never let one or two people push you down, much less don't let them make you push yourself down. Instead of thinking of what you have lost, take an inventory of what you have. As I thought about what we do have in the guild, I realized that only one of these two participated in our first attempt into Ulduar and that even though our members were not geared the best and wearing full epics, those who went gave everything they had. They listened to instructions and worked to improve their overall game. That is what you need to remember and those are the people you want to build on. I hope this helps anyone who may have doubt in yourself or in your leaders. The best advice I can offer is the quote from the very beginning.


Lance said...

Indeed, telling the truth and being true to yourself and the guild ethics - when the latter are properly established that is - are essential.

Very good post!

Fish said...

I think you have inspired a blog post. I think being in a guild is like a relationships, everyone has certain things they want out of it, and if you put effort into it, it is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. However, there are plenty of selfish (fill in the blank)s out there who want their needs fulfilled and then move on.