Lessons from a Failed Guild LeaderAugust 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 25 Comments
Tags: Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
She’s a very outgoing person I find. She’s been one of my favourite co-hosts on Relics of Orr, hosted her own Guild Wars related show on Split Infinity, has her own blog, now this column. She’s eager to participate, cool to talk to, and I guess she has many qualities that make her a great guild leader.
Me not so much. I’m not outgoing. I’m sometimes short-tempered. I’m frank, blunt, brutally honest, a bit sarcastic (that was sarcasm), short with people and always willing to criticize. So you might think I’d be smart enough to never make the mistake of being an officer or, god forbid, a guild leader. Not so.
Mistake #1. Do not criticize a guild member in a public forum.
Years ago I was helping a friend run a guild when he tired of the game. I had been having a really good time and agreed to be the interim leader until he returned. It quickly became apparent that he wasn’t coming back any time soon. Thus I was left to my own devices and learned a thing or two about running a guild, unsuccessfully. I guess I thought I’d share since learning from successful guild leaders is great, but you can always stand to learn from mistakes too.
One day in guild chat a female member with many admirers was talking with her flirtatious suitors. They had basically taken over chat with some very salacious conversation. I’m no prude, but this kind of talk was making me and some of the other members slightly uncomfortable. As I said, I’m blunt. I mentioned in guild chat, very politely, that perhaps this conversation was best left to private messages.
I suppose I thought it was such a mild rebuke of that behaviour that it didn’t need to be said in private. We were all friends right? No need for a fuss, just stop talking about penis and vagina in guild chat and we’d all be good. It seems like an obvious tip, and it is, but I honestly thought we were on such good terms with one another that it wasn’t a big deal.
It was a big deal.
Criticizing a few members in guild chat caused an uproar in the guild chat. You don’t want that. The argument was viewed by all, people took sides, things got ugly.
Mistake #2. Make sure everyone has a general idea of the rules, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
I’m a laid back person most of the time. I don’t need a bunch of crazy rules and regulations, guild application forms, activity requirements. Just don’t be a dick, you know? But no, it would have really helped if at some point prior to this incident I had said no cybering in the guild chat. My bad.
I’m still against having a lot of rules but you do need some basic starting point for behaviour. Even if it’s as simple as “Don’t be a dick.”
Mistake #3. Do not make up rules on the spot.
I laid down the law. This was how it was going to be. Stop your silly sex talk you hormone riddled hooligans! Suddenly I had alienated virtually every member of the guild by dictating this new rule. Three people left the guild over this nonsense.
Mistake #4. You have to be outgoing.
Keeping up activity is always a worry amongst guild leaders and the best way to do that is by having a lot of people in your guild. Unfortunately a lot of guild leaders think the best way to do this is to constantly spam chat channels to recruit new members. In my opinion you’ll lose as many members as you gain with that method.
Be active with your guild. Be around. Help them level, help them do dungeons, help them do jumping puzzles, help them craft.
Even if you don’t like it.
And I did not like various parts of that game, and did not participate with my guild. I went off and did things on my own and often I’d play with one singular person to the exclusion of all others. I’d play with the guild sometimes, when they did what I wanted to do, but otherwise not so much.
This hurts morale, it makes it hard to recruit people, makes it hard to retain people. You have to play with your guild and you have to play with them the majority of the time. I didn’t. It kept us small, and frankly a bit boring.
5. Don’t let it fester.
One thing I’ve seen as a guild leader and as an officer in various guilds is drama. Lots of drama. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it but the one thing you must never do is let it continue.
If you try to reason with the drama, if you try to calm it, or leave the situation unresolved, it will come back to haunt you. These people sew dissension in the ranks, they always do. They always leave after much effort is made for their benefit and take others with them.
This is a common occurrence and having no luck dealing with it myself and also observing others struggle with it I have only one solution. Cut off that civil war era gangrenous leg and be done with it. No mercy.
I was stunned to see this in action in a game some years ago. A friendly guild leader dealing with a player who had constantly questioned our endgame raiding methods and rules. After much criticism from this player and attempts to convince people that he was right and our guild leader was wrong, he threatened to quit the guild. Boom, the guild leader dropped the hammer and he was gone. The drama disappeared like condoms after the prom.
Mistake #6. Don’t reason with insanity.
This is a Guild Wars story. I was an officer in a mostly inactive guild. The guild leader was constantly away on work trips. The membership was dwindling and one person was upset about it. They went on a rant in guild chat about how the guild was dying and how the guild was their family, and they were depressed that so many people would dare be so disloyal as to leave the guild and what were we going to do because this was a disaster and we were all doomed! DOOMED!
I replied that you shouldn’t get so attached to a guild in a video game because they come and go, players come and go, games come and go. It isn’t healthy and there isn’t much that can be done about it anyway.
I was removed as officer within the day.
The upset member left the guild a week later.
I still don’t know what I should have done in this situation to be honest. Should I have ignored his long demoralizing rant? Should I have reassured him that everything would be alright? Should I have organized a group hug?
I don’t know. One more reason I probably shouldn’t be in a guild leadership position I guess.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.