Getting your Leadership skill to 375

I just finished off setting up my new hockey blog known as Lowongo’s crease (It’s a play on my last name for those that know me). The layout hasn’t been completely finalized yet, but I wanted to give me facebook viewers more to chew on instead of just WoW. Expect a lot of Canucks coverage along with other news, opinions, and thoughts around the league. On to today’s piece…

Here’s yet another reference to the business Guild model of WoW. Some would argue that a Guild is defined by it’s players. I would argue that excellent leadership defines how well a Guild performs. Unfortunately, leadership is not something you can go to a skill trainer for. I’ve been in my share of numerous Guilds. I’d like to think that I know what is good leadership and what is bad. I’ve seen Guilds crash and burn, or flourish and thrive. Similar to my column on valued traits for a Priest, here are 6 of the valued traits in a Leader no matter what class they play.

Edit: Again I am beat to the punch by Kirk.

Patience

“The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.”
– Tomas Huxley

No one likes to wipe. But true leaders expect it. I commend real leaders for their outstanding patience whether its in dealing with new raid bosses or frustrated guild members. No matter what the circumstance may be, they are able to weather the storm of angry guild members or angry raid bosses (I’ll let you decide what is worst). The goal has been set and the challenge has been issued. Now it’s up to the players to respond. Throughout it all, they maintain a face of dignity and passivity knowing that things will improve with time. I think Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a great example of this. He was the face of the city after the 9/11 attacks. There’s a reason why he was one of Time’s Man of the Year.

Knowledge

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
– Peter F. Drucker

This ought to be self explanatory. Any leader be it class, raid, or Guild will have done their homework on whatever they are responsible for. Raid leaders know the fight and are able to convey the strategy effectively. Class leaders know how to play their class and teach others to optimize themselves better. With that being said, leaders are humble enough to acknowledge that even they cannot possibly know all there is to know. The world is in a continuously evolving state with patches, changes, nerfs, etc. They realize that even though there is a lot to know, they are quite willing to learn even more.

Inspiration

“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”
– Arnold Glasgow

In a way, this is related to Social Skills but I wanted address something else. Your leaders are people that players turn to for advice and guidance. With responsibility like that, they’re expected to know how to convey information. But in order to do that, they do two things which any player can accomplish: Plan and set goals. They are able to focus the Guild in a certain direction and layout the steps necessary to accomplish it. They already have solutions to every problem that comes up because of their planning and anticipation. This is the kind of player who is not afraid of pulling the trigger when $&%@ hits the fan. They already have a Plan B and a Plan C in mind in case Plan A goes horribly wrong. No one likes to stand around and mindlessly die in case something bad happens. Every raider wants to try and salvage the situation. A good example that comes to mind is when our MT Lang ate a blow which caused him to crumple, Maeve was second on aggro since he’s been building up enough threat to stay just below him on the list. The moment Lang was down, a half second went by when Maeve bellowed for all of Lang’s healers to switch to him as he was tanking. Had he not made that call, we would have stood around not knowing what to do and we would not have gotten the satisfaction of the Guild first kill on Fathom-Lord.

Social Skills

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

There’s a lot of excellent players who know their material and the class inside out. But when it comes to talking to other people, they just don’t have a friggin clue. I think having some degree of emotional intelligence helps. A key skill, not just in WoW but in life, is your ability to interpret the other person’s words either in text or via voice. You have to know how to handle the other player as a player instead of just a random NPC. One of the things I admired about Warack was his tendency to check up on players every now and then. He’d whisper them randomly or just jump into a channel and talk to them for a while, see how they were doing, and try to “get a feel” for the over all guild mood. Think of it as taking a temperature of the Guild. With the pickup of solid players, they also know how to refrain from telling them to exactly what to do. My understanding is that I rolled a Priest from 1 – 70 and I should know the basics of it. I don’t want to be told how to heal, when to heal it, and who. That kind of thinking comes naturally. I love it when tanks often tell me to keep them alive. You worry about holding aggro, and you let me worry about keeping you alive so you CAN hold aggro.

Confidence

“The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged.”
– Ovid

It all boils down to one word: Belief. They believe in themselves and they believe in others to achieve the objective. The aura of confidence comes from their high knowledge of play and how to get it accomplished. I feel reassured knowing that I can place my character under the command of someone who knows what they’re doing as opposed to a raid that is being led by a headless chicken. Even if they don’t know what they’re doing, they can at least pretend. The point is not whether you down the boss or wipe horribly. The point is that someone had the confidence to get the raid going and try it. If that player doesn’t have the skills themselves to pull it off, they’re able to point to the person that does.

Authority and Respect

“The country is full of good coaches. What it takes to win is a bunch of interested players.”
– Don Coryell, ex-San Diego Chargers Coach

Props to guys like Blori and Harth. They really know how to get the raid to shut up and listen. Everytime you hear either of their booming voices, you know it’s their time. Why? Perhaps it’s their age and maturity. Every time they speak, they command that aura of authority and respect. When you hear it, your back automatically straightens while your ears latch on to their words. Unfortunate that this isn’t a trait that can be learned or gained. I once listened to a raid leader who sounded like he had nasal issues and sounded like your typical four eyed Urkel. No one would take him seriously at all because of the way his voice sounded. The bottom line here is that not only must you be willing to voice your commands, but your Guild must be willing to listen to listen to them. Former Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Mark Crawford got fired because he lost the locker room and players started to tune him out. One of these days, I’m going to record ventrilo during a raid night and put a snippet up here so you can get an idea.

Clearly there are many more traits that I have yet to identify. I’m merely setting myself up for a part 2 further down the road. The next time you go raiding or PvPing or whatever it is that you do, listen to your leaders and see how they are. Do they or do they not possess the traits I have listed above? If not, it might be time for a scenery change.

Quotes are courtesy of askmen.com and About.com

And for you young Guildmasters out there, every chance you get to use the term “Brouhaha” you take it.

About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

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  1. [...] lead, an officer, an adviser, and a raid leader. It is not easy at all to execute those types of leadership roles. My hats off to those who are able to handle the pressure and flourish under the conditions. [...]

  2. [...] not willing enough to say no to someone in your Guild, you are not fit to lead. I wrote more about Leadership earlier in the school year. Any aspiring GMs, I encourage you to read [...]