Saturday, October 24, 2009

Through The Eyes of the Leader: Special Edition

I have come to respect a lot of bloggers since I started reading, and gained even more respect for the really honest bloggers once I too started to blog. I was reading through my list of blogs tonight and I came across a post by Starman of Casual Raid Leader. I highly recommend everyone read this blog and really think about how it applies to the situation that you may be finding yourself in, especially those in small to mid size guilds that tend to be more casual.

A few posts back I had done a post where I talked about being truthful, but not just with others. It dealt on a lot of levels regarding a lot of things. One thing that I hoped people would get out of it was the fact that we need to be honest with ourselves. When I read this post today by Starman some of the things he was referring to, were very similar to some things that I have noticed within MAS. Now I know a lot of times that many people like to paint a picture of happiness through rose colored glasses. I would like to think that I am not one of those people. Now I am not going into details about a lot of situations but this post got me thinking about a lot of things.

At the top of the list is my desire to become more serious of a raider. One of the first things I have done is taken the opportunity to promote two individuals within the guild to be raid assistants. I want to focus on the key word there in that title, assistants. I think that when you have a great group of people who have shown a lot of progress you need to be very careful about how you interact with them. I think you need to be mindful of who you bring into your inner circle. I also think you need to give careful consideration to what you are trying to do. That is part of the reason why I have not called anyone, myself included, a raid leader. At the end of the Burning Crusade expansion, MAS was clearing Kara and parts of Zul'Aman. At this time, there was some high tensions as people were pushing to run stuff they were not prepared to run. Events happened and the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion came out and some of those underlying tones soon died down. Early into the year, we lost our then raid leader due to some personal circumstances and also some core members to what we had hoped to build on for raiding.

It was during that time that we had some serious decisions to make as a guild. We could either stay as a PVP focused guild or we could set our sites on a goal and work to achieve the goal. We decided we wanted to raid and therefor, because I had no other choice, I organized our raids for Naxxramus. The first few raids were rather funny. We called them guild runs, but if 50% of a group is PuG, I do not know how much you can claim for it. Nevertheless, each week we posted the run and we went for it. We cleared Naxxramas as a guild and then for some reason, we slowed our raiding down to a crawl. I take a huge amount of that responsibility as the guy who was trying to keep spirits high and make sure we raided. However, personal situations arise in all of our lives. Where I differ from the guild leader that Starman mentions is that I do not back away. I still say hello and speak with as many guild members as I can. I have no plans currently to back away from the guild, although I do have some self doubts and personal demons that I must deal with every time I log on.

I think what seperates us from other guilds is that no one officer is solely running the guild. Different officers have different responsibilities. In other words, when my work schedule changed and I was not on as often, there were other officers who were still on and who were still mindful of what was going on within the guild. Do we all ever agree 100% of the time? Aboslutely not and that is how I prefer it to be. It is what brings the balance to our guild. At least it has been what has worked up until now. As I write this post I am, for the first time, unsure of what the future of MAS holds. There are several differing opinions on a multitude of issues ranging from raiding, members, and recruiting. There is really not one incident or thing that has really occurred to make me start to analyze things, but it is my nature. I am a pessimist at my very core. I view situations and I see things long before they happen. I typically move behind the scenes to settle situations down and resolve the underlying currents. I am, though for once, tired of being the guy who is always trying to solve things.

In the article, Starman talked about the guild leader backing away and becoming less friendly. I wonder if anyone understands the aggrevation of running a guild? You have a multitude of personalities who play a game of their own freewill. You cannot force them to do any one thing, nor you can really do anything to prevent them from doing something. When things go good, many people want to step up and take credit for whatever it is that went good. That is a good thing. If someone worked their butt off to accomplish something or push for a certain goal to be met, then they deserve all the credit. However, when things go bad no one wants to step forward and take any credit. I think that people who are in positions of authority, especially in a game, tend to prefer to just slowly back away. For instance, if there is any sort of discussion (or perception) of something being off (or wrong) it is the guild leader who gets the whispers inquiring about it. If there is a situation between a guild member and a guild officer, who do you think typically gets drug into it? You would be correct to assume it is the guild leader. You see the guild leader has to always remember that they are looking out for the overall health of the guild, not just a few disgruntled members who did not get to run a certain instance, raid, or complete an event. A lot of people will say that they understand, but unfortunately they cannot understand. Only other guild leaders will truly understand.

So then you sit back and you look and you see these three or four individuals who are geared and wanting to run top end progression stuff. Then you look and you see these two or three members who have done a little raiding and they feel like they are ready to run the top end progression stuff. Then you have the members who want to raid but are lacking the gear to do so. Then you have a group of guild members who rarely speak to you but tend to always be on minding their own business. Then you have a group of guild members who are the chatty chat chatter members who are constantly talking about everything. You know the ones. They are the ones that if you say something, they jump right in and tell you all about their experience even though it wasn't what the point of the conversation was about. Then you have your brooding members who always seemed to be aggrevated over something, but they never leave. They always stay right in there and help out, even with their little storm cloud over their head. Then there is me (and maybe you), the guild leader, who has to figure out how to mesh all of these individuals into one guild.

To me running a guild is like putting together a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle where you have no picture as to what it is you are trying to build. You hope you plug this person into the right spot here. You hope that this person you picked to take care of this situation was the right one. That is where I am at. I am hoping that I have plugged people into the right spots. I look at my track record and know that I am good at reading people. I also know I am good at moving quickly to shore up situations and quell issues before the blow up. Some of these skills were learned from not reacting quick enough or standing right in the middle of the explosion. Here is the kicker though. There comes a point where you have to step back. I cannot run this guild forever. I cannot log on every day hoping that the people who were on were able to group together and go out and do whatever was scheduled. It would be infair for me to hold myself to that standard. There comes a point where you have to step back and let things go. You could compare to teaching a child to ride a bicycle. You put that bicycle together and make sure every piece is tight and secure. You place the training wheels on it to keep the child from falling over and hurting theirself. As time goes on and you see the child begin to gain their balance you slowly start to remove the training wheels, but you stay there with the child. You walk alongside the child on the bicycle and then you run alongside them. Finally, the day comes when you let the child go alone. You stand there with fear and trepidation in your heart and mind hoping that the child is ready. They may very well fall over, but you know you will race to their side and make sure they are okay. Eventually the child will learn to keep their balance and will no longer need you to be there, but every time they take a spill and have a skinned knee that child will know that you will always be there for them.

I am going to end today with two quotes that I feel sum up this rather long and odd post.

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but
the silence of our friends."
- Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968)

"What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do." - John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)


Saunder said...

Totally unrelated to the post in question, but you have been offically tagged as part of Miss Medicina's healing ring :)

:D We need to push the Leafy ones down to second most popular, so I call on you to do your Pally duty :D

Ruhtra said...

@ Saunder

Aye aye