Confessions of a Guild Leader: Four Years Strong
If someone told me back in 2009 that I would have been successfully running a guild for the next 4+ years (and counting), I would have scoffed at them and said “Me? lead a guild?! And have people stick around while I lead people in circles?! HA!”
I’ve always been a “follower” type of person throughout life. A worker bee. I never saw myself as a “manager” or as someone “in charge”. It’s easier to let other people make decisions, because I’ve always been afraid of making the wrong one.
<Masochistic Tendencies> has just celebrated its 4 year anniversary. That’s 4 years of me leading this guild. That’s 4 years of being “in charge”, making the decisions and yes, in some cases, making the wrong decisions. Managers are not immune from making mistakes, as long as we learn from those mistakes and become better managers from them. The past year+ has definitely been challenging. Seriously. But we’re still here!
So, because MT has been around for 4 years with no signs of slowing down, I must be doing something right. Right? I thought I’d share some of my pearls of wisdom that I’ve learned from leading a guild over the years.
The Guild is only as good as the people in it
That’s right. Without all of you, MT’ers, it would be awfully lonely in an empty guild with just me in it! I have learned that it’s simply not possible to please everyone all the time, but it’s sure easy to piss off everyone all at once! So while some guild decisions may not be ideal for some people, all decisions are made with the greater good of the guild in mind. With a guild as big as we are, with as many members and raiders as we have, there are going to be differing opinions. And I and the officers listen to those opinions, and we take your feedback into every consideration possible. We want you to stick around! And yes, there are some of you that have been here since the *very* beginning 4 years ago. I really appreciate your loyalty.
Leadership needs to work together
I don’t mean just me. I mean everyone who has been in leadership ranks. In MOP, that was a lot of people. I take full responsibility for the turnover in our leadership ranks. Everyone who has been an officer in MT deserved the role, and are potentially very good officers in the right environment with the right support.
But what happens when you take a bunch of players with different goals and values and make them officers? Deathwing had nothing on that cataclysm. Holy crap. I was NOT expecting that assplosion of drama. No, I’m not going to get into the details, but suffice to say, the problems have been resolved with some players voluntarily stepping down from the officer ranks for the good of the guild. Nothing against the people involved, we just simply could not work together.
Dictatorship or Democracy?
I think guild leaders need to be somewhat “dictators” or the guild will just not function properly. If there is bickering among the officers, the GL needs to be able to step in and say STFU. If there are different opinions on a guild issue (hypothetically, let’s say “loot“), the GL needs to be able to make the final decision in a deadlock. However, I think having some semblance of democracy in the leadership ranks is crucial. After all, that’s what our officers are there for.
My role in the guild has been debated a lot among the rest of the leadership in the past year. I’ve been called a dictator. I’ve been called a control freak. There is some truth to those accusations, but when I’ve made an “executive” decision, it’s always been with the guild members in mind. I hadn’t changed my way of leading the guild up to that point, and my style had been working all along up to that point. At the request of other officers, I did cede control of the guild for a little while so we could be come a “GL Council”. I trusted my officers enough to go along with this experiment and show that I really am a team player. That experiment didn’t work. All it did was turn one dictator into three! But we tried. I did learn a lot from that experiment, and we’ve “majority voted” on any decision since then.
One Guild, One Goal
Part of the aforementioned leadership drama was a result of the differing and conflicting goals the guild had in MOP. This was part of the lesson I learned about not being able to please everyone. I have a compulsion to make everyone happy. We had multiple raid groups with multiple degrees of intensity and progression. Cliques formed, and one of the groups became a guild within a guild. This is what some of the officers foreshadowed, but I didn’t want to listen. Having bipolar goals and values in the guild just didn’t work. The guild has to have one direction, and the leadership needs to support that direction.
I think a big reason why many of MT’s long time members have been here as long as they have is because of the open communication between leadership and the rest of the guild. This blog is one form of communication, but our guild forums are very active. Some decisions that majorly impact the guild are presented to the guild for feedback and discussion. We’re all adults, so even though there are different opinions, we are all respectful of one another.
Greater Good of the Guild
This is a term that Mavros coined. But it works. The guild policies are in place to support the guild’s goals and direction. Specific policies are in place for the betterment of the guild as a whole. I’m a Libra, I have a compulsion to be as fair as possible to everyone. And I now have officers in place that support that very ideal. In order to make any kind of GGG decision, the above points must all be met, and the guild needs to have specific goals in mind. The players in the guild, ideally, share and support those goals.
Personally, I’ve learned that it’s okay to try new and different things, and it’s okay to make mistakes. When we’ve tried different things, we generally had everyone’s trust that we were “doing what’s best for the guild” and we got that support, even when things didn’t work as well as we had hoped. I just want to say that I appreciate everyone’s support, loyalty and dedication. Here’s to MT continued success in the years to come!
Happy Birthday MT!