Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dealing with guildies

Guild members come in all shapes and sizes. Some have frantic RLs and some live in WoW. Most of us are somewhere in between, in that we understand the commitment, but we don't have opportunity to randomly commit large chucks of our time without organising it properly first.

Many people who spend a lot of time in WoW have a reason for it, some kind of mental or health issue which means that normal social interaction out in the Real World(tm) is hard. Chances are, as a guild leader you are going to have one or more of these types of people in your guild. They can often be a challenge to deal with, and make you cry "WHY?? WHY ME??" But there are some very simple things you can do to make your and their time in the guild enjoyable when they start making things difficult.

First thing is proactive communication. Make sure your guildies know they can talk to you in confidence. Encourage them to talk with their Section leaders, or if they cant do that for some reason, talk to you. 90% of all issues are simply due to misinformation or misunderstanding. This can normally be worked out. Ensure there are several clear channels for private conversation, and never reject a request for a chat without arranging a time to have it later if you really can't do it now.

Second is a good dose of patience. Dealing with people can vey very tiring, especially when you have made a decision and they are upset with that decision. Mostly, people just want to know that they have been heard or their opinion has been taken into consideration. And sometimes they simply dont understand the full reasons behind your decision. There is no reason not to take the time to explain why you are doing what you are doing.

Third is stick to your guns. Once you and your leadership team have made a decision, don't back down without a good reason. That is to say, you CAN change your mind, just be sure to admit why you are changing it. If you think you are right, and can justify your decision, then stick with it even if it is unpopular. Guild members may not always be able to see the big picture, which is generally why you are the guild leader and they are not. Yes that sounds harsh, but it is true. Plenty of guild members are not suited and dont want to have to think about all the things you are always thinking about. So stick to your guns when you think you are right.

Fourth is trust your officers. You picked your officers for a reason, trust them to do their job. If a guildie is QQing to you, when you delegated the power for what the guildie is qqing about to an officer, tell the guildie to talk to that officer as well as you. This isnt about passing the buck, it is about creating a strong team of people to run the guild. If you try to take everything on your own shoulders you will have a skewed view of the guild and you will go batshit insane and never want to play wow ever again!

Fifth is encourage guildies to help themselves. Negotiate with them and meet them half way - if you do this, I will cough up that. This will encourage people to improve themselves but also know that there is support for them if they do, and that they are not on their own either.

I could go on for quite some time on this topic, and I might write some more later. Hope they are some helpful (but wordy and slightly meandering) ideas that help in your job as a guild leader or understanding a guild leader.