This week I want to continue the series of samples from The Guild Leader’s Companion 2nd edition. We’re discussing the role of the organization leader! If you missed the first sample from chapter one you should read that before diving into this one. Both samples are part of a larger section and won’t make as much sense out of context! I hope you enjoy the advice!
1.1 – The Organization Leader (Part two of three)
If you are serene and focused, your members will be, too, and you will enjoy more success. Just remember that while I don’t believe in the sentiment that “this is just a game,” I do accept that everything can be fixed. Stay calm, even when it is most difficult, and you’ll do fine. A prime example of this was when Iniquity was attempting to defeat the last major raid encounter in classic EverQuest 2. The dragon Darathar was all that stood between us and our prismatic weapons. In those days, the main tank and one of our damage dealers would play at my house. We had spent hours a day for numerous days straight losing to this encounter. Finally our tank looked over at me and said, “We’re not going to win this; I need more gear to survive.” As calmly as I could, I told him, “Too bad, we’re just going to have to win with what we have.” Both he and our DPS were visibly miffed with me, but the timing was important. This mob was due to be reduced in difficulty and I did not want us winning on an easier version. It was important to defeat the hard version to maintain our reputation as a guild that could actually compete worldwide. We kept going and, much to our delight, we won that same night and took our place as the undisputed leader of the Oasis server.
One of the most effective methods by which to remain serene is through the learning and exercise of patience. As a leader, you’re going to need to be one of the most patient individuals on the planet! There will be days where everyone under your care seems to be borderline insane. The issues that your team will bring up may seem petty, silly, or just plain weird, but it is important to understand that those issues are important. If you find that you’re not the sort of person who can take these things in stride without feeling your blood pressure go up, then you’re going to have to start practicing. The better you are at letting the insanity roll off your back, the more serene you’ll remain and the stronger you will appear as a leader. It is important to realize that not every battle needs to be fought. Sometimes it is best just to exercise patience and to listen. My favorite example of these also comes from the early days of Iniquity. One of my best friends in the world was a wizard in our guild, but his real-life schedule started to make it impossible for him to remain as competitive as we were. This meant he lost a lot of loot and was frustrated. On a particular evening, he happened to be playing from my house and a situation arose where something he had been waiting on was lost to a newer member. When the raid was over he was quite irate and basically started yelling at me about it. I could have fought him and pointed out the loot rules. I could have gotten defensive and called him out on poor attendance. Instead, I knew him well enough to know how it would go and just sat and listened patiently. He got it all out and ended by saying, “I appreciate that you let me yell at you. I know I just can’t make the attendance, I’m just frustrated and wanted to get it out.” The situation would have been far worse if I had gone off on him. He just needed someone to listen. Serenity won the day for me, and it can for you as well.
This being said, staying serene is not enough to keep your organization going. One of the easiest ways to do a poor job as a leader is to keep everything a secret from your guild. Team members hate not knowing why or how something occurred. It causes them to lose their trust in you and that makes life difficult. Transparency is your best friend. When you’ve taken on the role of a leader, you’re going to have to make decisions and take actions. You want to ensure that there is a basis for everything you do. That is why it is important to have all of the day-to-day activities covered by some general rules. As long as you stick to those rules, nobody is going to kick up too much fuss. You might get the occasional irate person, like my friend in the earlier example, but ultimately he or she will calm down and understand the reasoning behind a decision, even if she doesn’t like the outcome. When it comes to the more exotic actions and decisions, you need to make sure you show consistency as much as possible. If you treat similar situations the same way each time, your team members are going to feel like you’re reliable and not trying to hide anything from them. From time to time, they’re still going to want to know why you’ve done something. Don’t be afraid to explain why you did what you did. It is also important to note that you should not lose your cool if someone questions a choice; instead, stand up and calmly explain exactly why you did it. As I said before, she might not like the answer, but it is better than a perceived conspiracy. That is what transparency buys you: peace of mind and trust. You have to worry less about the rumor mill, and your members feel like they are more in the know about what you’re doing.(c) 2012 Epic Slant Press
Thank you for taking the time to read this preview, the next part will be released in a few days. If you would like to participate in The Guild Leader’s Companion 2nd Edition Kickstarter campaign you can earn some unique rewards and have your organization or character immortalized in its pages.