What Makes a Guild Leader Great?

I was doing my usual Monday Morning reading of my RSS feed, and I came across a post by Matticus from World of Matticus that really got me thinking… I’ve been a Guild Leader before. I’ve also been an Officer, Raid Leader, Class Leader, and plain old member, too. I think, having seen the multiple sides of guild leadership, that I have a fairly good understanding for it. My husband insists that I have a natural nack for it too, but he’s biased. However, I know that guildmates I’ve lead in the past have either sought me out for help since then, or have flat out re-rolled to play with me again. That’s gotta amount for something… but anyways, Matticus posed this question:

Here’s a challenge for the WoW bloggers and readers out there.

What makes your GM great?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Whether it’s stories about bad experiences or good experiences, others including myself would surely benefit.

Currently, I’m honestly not entirely sure what makes my guild leader great. I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to see him shine. I have been on a raid or two with my guild since I joined it just before the WotLK release… and they’ve been fun. I especially appreciated that when we were standing in front of Tidewalker, and I was hearing the strat for Leo, they allowed me to interrupt and explain the strat they needed. I was not chastised for speaking up, and it was a relief. I HAVE met officers and guild leaders who’s way was the only way, even when it’s wrong. I, too, sometimes suffered the troubles of deciding which path to take when more then one was available to me, and I’ve even been known to make up my own strats for some bosses.

I appreciated that there was no rule against speaking up about a strat, but I nearly didn’t say anything. I’d previously run raids, and eventually implemented a rule that a raider could submit strats or ideas before and after a raid, but not during. Perhaps I should rethink that rule should I ever lead again.

Some of my leaders I’ve had in the past had great ideas, but most didn’t carry them out in a sensible manner. For example, there was Exhumed, and Wana, who was GM. He had a very rigid guild that was incredibly structured. Right down to essentially having a loot council mixed with DKP that no one was allowed to see. His theory? Keep a spreadsheet documenting every item won, how many runs attended, and any other modifiers (like donations to the guild) that could factor in points. Each time you received gear, it was factored in as a divisible. Runs/loots = score. This placed you in a numerical order in which loot would be assigned to you… based on what you had already and some personal opinion as well. Eventually it became evident that there was some favoritism taking place… and I eventually got my hands on the list that no one was supposed to see outside the raid leaders… I posted it for the guild to see once my thoughts had been confirmed. At some point, it was apparent that this list had been followed, but recently, favorites had been played. I even followed the list, and marked notes for a few raids where the loot SHOULD have gone, even though it hadn’t. Needless to say, I was not long for that guild.

I also crossed paths with another guild leader that had successes in his own way, but not one I would want to be associated with. I never joined this guild, but the GM never took kindly to me, nor I to him. It was obvious he didn’t understand a lot of game mechanics, and also wasn’t a very good people person. I, along with every other person on the server, watched him poach members from all over the place… promising them the first epic that dropped from MC that they could use. His tactic worked, and soon, Hordy Bass Terds (HBT) grew to be some sort of specticle. He managed to obtain every ninja, lootwhore, and asshole on the server into one place. Other guild leaders thanked him for collecting every asshat on the server, so we could just avoid the group as a whole. That’s what happened, too. No one would group with them, and I started to feel bad.

The guild leader borrowed a lot of ideas from other guilds, as most do, and he saw success, sort of. His guild made progression, but no one was ever happy, and it eventually fell apart.

Over time, I’ve seen guild leaders run ignorant guilds, I’ve seen GL’s ninja guild banks, I’ve seen them flat out abandon thier mates, and Ive even seen marital distress destroy an entire guild. I wasn’t immune to these things myself, and tried to make sure that if I had faults, that they were addressed as quietly as possible. But, I’ve come to realize that no guild is going to be perfect of course. There will be drama, there will be anger, there will be ninjas and people who don’t understand raids. Its what happens when you gather a group of people together. Its the human factor and cannot be removed. Accepting this will be the first step to your success.

My opinion of a great Guild Leader? Someone who plays fair, who can share the workload, and the glory, is motivational (I don’t like working for assholes, do you?) Either understands raid mechanics or gives the job to someone who does… who doesn’t steal from their guildmates, who is self reliant, who has an agenda, and is willing to work right alongside his guildmates…. but finally, a good guild leader listens, and listens well. Realize that you don’t know it all, your way isn’t always the best way, and give your guildies the chance to shine… those things are far more important then a loot system, the ability to scream into vent really loudly, and then all those petty rules guilds come up with. Being an approachable person will give you the ability to lead in the first place… and that’s what you’re here to do, right?

So now I pass it on, cause I wanna know, too…. what makes a guild leader great (or terrible) to you?


4 thoughts on “What Makes a Guild Leader Great?

  1. I wrote a really long and thoughtful comment, but lost it ._.
    Anyway, it went along the lines of:

    Authority, focus, experience, listening, sociable= good
    GMs that let guildies walk over them= bad


  2. I think what makes a guild leader great is as subjective as what makes a guild great. There are obvious qualities: fairness, motivation, ability to cultivate guild cohesion, etc, but no two players will have the priorities exactly the same.

    To me, a great guild leader is first and foremost someone who brings together like minded people who get along and help each other (I consider myself a pretty casual player and I’m not into the raiding game).

  3. I am unqualified I think to discuss what makes a GL great. I’ve been around for a long time, but I’ve been a GL for more time than I havn’t, and I can’t honestly say what makes a GL great because I am far, far too biased.

    What I can say to everyone, with good GLs or bad, is give your guild leadership some credit. They are as deeply flawed as the next human being, and make as many mistakes as any other normal person. But hopefully they are making those mistakes from a good place in their heart and learning from them.

    I know I try to. I’mnot saying I succeed, but I know I try. And I hope your GL does too.

  4. @Elysia – You make a great point, letting your guild mates walk all over you is a terrible mistake that can unravel everything. I learned this lesson myself, the hard way. There is a such thing as being too nice. Every organization, business, and even group projects requires a lead of some kind, otherwise, you’ll never come to a final standpoint. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    @Fish – You’re full of awesome ideas! I agree with you that a guild should be filled with like minded people. It is usually the various methood of recruiting most guilds use. They discribe thier raid schedule and progress, and if it suits you, please apply. Without this standard of likemindedness, you’d get a whole lot of nowhere fast.

    @Oriniwen – I’ve been a guild leader, but I can admit to the mistakes I’ve made. I don’t feel I am biased as I see many things out there that I think are great, and others I dont like so much. I don’t always like what I see, but if I see that it works, then it works. You being a guild leader, are still entitled to an opinion of what works. It is likely what you use that makes your guild work. And I love what you said about giving leadership credit. It IS hard work. Work that no one gets paid for but they labor with either for love of the game, or appreciation of their guildies. Every GM walks into leadership with a goal in mind… no one is out three simply to be an ass. Make sure you don’t make life hard for your leadership unnessecarily. Nice thoughts guys! Thanks!

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