Confessions of a Guild Leader: Losing Control
I’ve been told I’m a “control freak” when it comes to leading my guild. I have never been able to work in an environment where I am micromanaged. But I’ve started to become the kind of manager that I have always hated. Really hated.
How do I micromanage? I’ve mainly micromanaged my Raid Leaders. I’ve set up the groups, I’m always posting something that I hope is helpful (but may not be), I’m always online during every raid time to jump in or find replacements if needed.. but I’ve come to realize that sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut and trust my leadership team. Maybe it’s because in the past, I’ve had to do this or things would fall apart. Maybe because I want to feel useful and not one of those managers that just delegates while reaping all the benefits. Either way, I now have a leadership crew where I really don’t have to do that anymore. In fact, it actually hurts us when I do.
We’ve had a very rocky start to the expansion. Our roster exploded with new players and players coming back to the game after long breaks. Because of our bloated roster, we needed multiple Raid Leaders and Officers. I’ve never had so many people in the leadership ranks before, and it was definitely challenging. In addition to myself, we had 5 Raid Officers (for 4 10-man teams), a Bank Officer and 2 PR/Recruitment Officers. In relation to how many active players we had (roughly 40 active raiders + several social members), the ratio of officers to members was about right. Up until MOP, I never had more than 4-5 in the guild leadership.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as I had hoped. Everyone in leadership did have the potential to be good leaders, and had proven themselves to be good leaders. There were some great discussions, lot of good ideas flying around. Then there were some not so great discussions. We started to have very differing opinions on what direction the guild was going in. Nobody was on the same page anymore. Our Officer Forums blew up, and our guild members were starting to feel the tension. Two of the four raid groups had issues getting off the ground with attendance issues and the Raid Leaders were losing control of their raids. We lost some good players and others just stopped playing. After realizing that communicating via officer forums exclusively was causing a lot of misunderstandings and bad feelings, we decided to implement weekly officer meetings in vent, which seemed to help. Just not enough.
I knew something had to be done. If our leadership cracked, it would have very bad repercussions on the guild. I knew that in theory, I picked good people. But in practice, they just couldn’t work together. I wasn’t a dictator, but I was feeling the heat that I needed to make some executive unilateral decisions. As a guild, most groups decided to not try raiding over the holidays. And I decided to take that break to think about things, and make changes for the new year. I was also hoping the break would allow everyone to cool their heads.
While I was on holiday break, it hit the fan. You know the saying that sometimes things have to get worse before they get better? Yep. Fortunately it stayed in a small circle which didn’t really negatively impact the guild.
We have already made improvements for the new year. We now have 3 fewer officers, we consolidated two raid groups into one under a new Raid Leader (well not really new, he’s leading 2 groups now). That group is already coming together better than they had in the previous groups. Raid Leaders are in control, officers are more autonomous, and there is no more negativity in the leadership ranks. That’s not to say that the former officers were negative. It was that the chemistry and cohesion just wasn’t there. And while I’m heartbroken that it played out the way it did, it just couldn’t continue. I’ve already seen the improvements and players now seem happier as well.
Here’s to a great 2013 MT!