Guild leadership is a serious job. And I do mean “job.” For all that World of Warcraft is a game, taking on the role of guild leader can be just as daunting as acting as CEO for any respectable business. You’ll put in long hours, listen to a lot of grievances, and ultimately have to make numerous tough decisions that can ultimately change the face of the entire organization.
Yet, when all is said and done, when all the pieces fall into place just right, the entire experience is well worth every ounce of sweat and blood that goes into managing a guild. Whether it’s the veteran raider offering thanks for organizing another fun night of boss destruction, or the new recruit taking a few seconds to mention how grateful he is to have become part of a generous and caring community, guild leadership definitely has its perks.
And one of those perks is that you don’t necessarily have to lead, organize, manage, run, schedule, and plan out every single aspect of guild activity all by yourself. In fact, if you value your sanity at all, you’ll quickly find individuals capable of taking on some responsibility by themselves! Commonly known as officers, such members act as a kind of second-in-command to the guild leader, and more or less help keep the guild running smoothly. As one of Alora’s officers, I was asked to share what some of what happens behind the scenes, from the perspective of the officers.
Uphold the Rules
It’s a basic fundamental expectation that the guild’s officers will not only respect the guild’s established rules, but also enforce them should any problems come up. This doesn’t necessarily mean to jump down the throat of anyone who steps out of line, but it does come with the expectation of speaking up should something go astray. In nearly every situation, a few words are sufficient to correct a guildmember’s wrongdoings, but should kind speech fail to make a point, there are always more serious actions to take, even perhaps simply removing the offending individual from the guild. Although perhaps not every officer will have that capability, you can bet they have good contact with the guild leader who does.
It is a rare but unfortunate situation when problems escalate to the point where parting ways with a guild member becomes the only reasonable solution, but it does happen, and it doesn’t always happen cleanly. Sometimes, an individual will come to understand that they just don’t “click” with the rest of the guild, and with a few kind parting words, will pack their bags and move on to a new home. Other times, it comes down to dusting off the old /gkick button and forcefully removing the problem party from the guild ranks. Whatever the situation, this is something that the officers need to be prepared to handle should the need arise.
Somewhat of a broad subtopic, but in essence this is about as broad as it can get. For starters, just look at the number of little tasks that can go into guild management: Event scheduling, raid leading, guild bank organization, recruitment, website maintenance, resource management (money, materials, etc.), public relations, forum moderation… The list goes on and on, but you probably know a lot about it already if you regularly follow Alora’s column! The catch, though, is that no single person can reasonably be expected to handle every single one of these tasks without going just a little bit crazy. It’s essential to have a little bit of help in the management process. That’s where officers come in.
Even just picking up one of these numerous tasks can make all the difference, as it’s merely one less detail that occupies a guild leader’s time. For example, one of our officers has taken on the job of organizing and leading the guild’s Rated Battleground events. Alora attends each event, of course, but the scheduling, planning, strategizing are handled entirely by an officer. Another officer personally handles the complexity of our loot system (EPGP), adjusting point values as necessary so that whenever questions of loot do come up, Alora can glance once at the numbers and know they’ve been kept accurate. Again, the tasks alone aren’t monumental piles of work, but it lessens the load for an already-taxed guild leader.
One of the most important jobs actually has very little to do with keeping the guild in line as a whole. Rather, this is all about the guild leader. The simple truth is, the day to day business of guild leadership does in fact get pretty tiring, which is probably why so many guild leaders get burnt out after a while. Sometimes it can get to be a little overwhelming, which is something I have dealt with as more than just a guild officer. It’s at times like this that a guild leader doesn’t so much need the support of an organized group of officers, as the friendly support of a group of friends.
It’s frequently true that a quick joke and a dose of laughter can quickly lighten any situation, and this is especially true whenever guild management really starts to weigh down heavily. More than shouldering any amount of responsibility, being able to look on the bright side and stay positive will work wonders on not only the guild itself, but on the leader that frequently has to handle all the unpleasant business behind the scenes. The officers in Alora’s guild are all part of a tight-knit network of friends who support not only each other but their leader as well. Often enough that’s exactly what a befuddled guild leader needs to get back on track – just some friends and some socializing.
Above all, it’s important to maintain that friendly relationship and not get stuck in a rut of viewing guild management as some kind of “job,” despite what I said earlier. Sometimes, the small stuff really just doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’s completely okay to shrug off a problem and laugh at it. And most importantly, sometimes it’s okay to just step away from managing the guild and relax.
For the officers out there, and for the guild leaders as well, the best advice I can give is to not take everything too seriously all of the time. Crazy things happen, guild drama does occur, guild members come and go – it’s all part of a guild environment. Yet, none of it is worth fussing over for too long. Take care of the problems, then move on. And by all means take some time off now and then to smile and laugh, and also to applaud just how successful your guild really is.
That success lies as much on the officers’ shoulders as it does upon those of the guild leader. Although there can only be a singular leader of any guild, a trusted committee of officers can contribute just as much, if not more. Keep in mind that the officers shouldn’t even necessarily follow along happily with the guild leader’s every decision – there have been plenty of incidents where myself or other officers have completely disagreed with a choice Alora was considering. What results from those disagreements, though, are in-depth discussions about related individuals and the impact on the guild as a whole, which ultimately results in making the best choice. Which is exactly what a great guild needs.