It wasn’t long ago that I decided to get back into one of the core pillars of Epic Slant: helping guild leaders run their guild a bit better. I started up my old advice column Ask an MMO Guild Leader. The initial response was pretty decent and I did receive some questions. With any luck my answers will be helpful to you and your guild. As always, feel free to drop your own insight into the comments or send in your own questions via Ferrel [at] EpicSlant.com!
How would you handle a recruitment officer that is notoriously mean and rude to players outside of the guild?
I’m certain many players would read this and say simply, “That one is easy! Just get rid of him/her!” Unfortunately, in these situations it really isn’t all that easy to do. First, I’d look at whether or not the officer was rude to potential members or to just anyone they came across. One situation is easier to deal with than the other as one suggests a failure in office and the other is more of a personality trait. In either case, however, it is important to remember that all officers in a guild are ambassadors to the community and anyone who does damage to your image is not someone that is great to keep around in that role. With that said lets look at specific things we can do to amend this situation.
The first step with any situation like this is to find a player of equal or greater rank that has at least a decent relationship with the problem officer and ask them to have a polite discussion about the problem. Some players get into a rut and do not realize they’re making the mistakes that others see. In my experience simply talking to them in private can solve the problem without any damaged feelings and yield far better results than a more stern dressing down. Should this conversation yield no results, however, more drastic measures will be necessary.
If the officer in question refuses to acknowledge the problem or agree that it exists your room to maneuver is reduced. At this point the next best option is to look at transitioning this officer out of an outward facing role and into one that is more guild focused. Perhaps they would do better as a raid leader? Maybe they’d be happier handling member issues and motivating the players that they are not rude to? If there is an inward facing role that they can do then it would be best to get them there. By doing this the offending officer can save face, keep their position of authority, and the guild gets a new recruitment officer to solve the problem. If there is no fitting position for this officer or they refuse to move then that leaves you few choices.
There is one almost universal truth in MMO guilds: if an officer is demoted for any reason other than by their own choice they’re not going to be remaining with the guild. They might claim they’ll stay and do so for a while but eventually they’ll be off to another guild or MMO. This is one of the reasons why removing an officer is so incredibly hard. You’ll need to evaluate what the “damage” will be. How many members will you lose with this officer? How great will the drama-storm on the forums be? How many potential good players have you lost because of this officer? If it works out that the damage exceeds the good than you should have one final talk with this officer. Give them one more chance and explain that the behavior has to change immediately or you will demote them or remove them from their position. This will occasionally snap them out of their ego induced fantasy and fix the issue. Sometimes they’ll just take their leave right then and there. Other times they’ll think you’re bluffing and continue the behavior. Once you’ve gone this far you must understand: If you’ve told a guild officer you will remove them and they continue the behavior, you MUST remove them if they continue the behavior. Otherwise you’ve destroyed your own power base and made your life twice as difficult.
Dealing with bad officers is an extremely difficult task and one of the reasons why I advocate so heavily on being incredibly carefully with who you promote. With any luck you’ll never have one but when you do just remember to handle it as quickly as possible. The sooner you start to reign in a bad officer the less damage they can do to your guild.
I am in a guild in WoW and it seems once people get to level 80 they leave for greener pastures. The guild is an awesome guild with great people, but the end game coordination is not there. The GL is a high school student and sometimes doesn’t get to play much. How can this guild leader keep people with his limited time to play? What simple tips can you give to help a guild leader with a small amount of time to play?
There are a few approaches that your guild leader can take for this issue. Which one he uses really just depends on how comfortable he is with his position.
The first and easiest method is to identify one or two solid and committed members who would make good officers or staff. Ideally these individuals will have play schedules that complement the guild leader’s. They will fill in when he cannot be there and coordinate activities during those times. This, of course, will diminish his power some (of course so does not being around) but it is better than attrition.
Another option, depending on guild resources, is to use in or out of game schedules. If he can convince his membership to use them and is consistent with activities during the times he is available they will feel more attached to the guild. If he is engaging every time he is around, even if that isn’t much, it will leave good impressions and hold member’s attention.
Ultimately members want to see their guild leader around. If they feel he isn’t active, they will look for a guild that is. Empowering members can go a long way to solving this problem but at some point management must be involved.
It is also important to recognize that some people will “trade up” regardless of what he does. Some players join one guild to level and a different one to raid. They then might move to a more professional raid guild. It just depends on their goals. Knowing what your members are into is important to retention and he should also look into that.
Consider discussing “Ask an MMO Guild Leader Ep 1″ on the new Epic Slant Forum!