[GUEST POST] “What is my motivation?” – Getting everyone on the same page

It seems like there are a lot of guilds and groups that are starting to feel comfortable in the 5man heroics and are starting to turn their attention to some organized raiding.

For people who are organizing such a group, I would like to share something that I wish I had known when I started putting raiding groups together.

The majority of questions and requests for help that I see around the web from guild masters and raid leaders are all related to one essential factor.

What motivates your raid members?

I recommend that the first thing anyone should do when starting to put any group together to raid is to have an honest and candid conversation with your group about what everyone is expecting from their raiding experience. Make sure that even if everyone’s interests aren’t perfectly compatible, at the very least everyone needs to define, clarify, and understand what the group’s focus and expectations will be. I would say that this applies to everything from a trade chat pug, a new progression raiding guild, or just a decision to start putting some raids on your “friends and family” guild calendar.

Typical questions I see from guild masters and raid leaders

  • How do I motivate my raiders to show up on time?
  • How do I keep people from getting discouraged during progression?
  • One of my raiders says that they don’t want to raid any more (or want to switch toons/roles) because they have all the gear they want from this tier, what do I do?
  • My raiders have lost interest in XXXXX instance now that we have finally cleared it. How can I keep them interested in raiding?
  • My raid team doesn’t want to try hard modes because normal modes are an easier way to get more gear quickly, how to I get them to try hard modes?

All of these issues can be proactively addressed with an open and honest discussion with your raid team ahead of time. As cheesy as it may sound, coming up with a basic statement of purpose, a set of goals, or a mission statement is a great way to focus everyone’s attention and can be a lifesaver later on when disagreements arise. Identify what it is that motivates everyone in the group to want to raid together, ensure that everyone’s motivations are at least compatible, and make sure that the goals you have set will satisfy everyone’s desires. If everyone understands and believes that the group is going to help them meet their own personal goals in the game, then the chances of your group weathering the rough patches together will increase significantly. Groups of people who all have their own agendas, that don’t necessarily compliment the rest of the group are the root cause of most of the issues that we all see floating around the internet.

On the flipside to this argument; when you, the individual, are out and about looking for a raiding group to join, the first priority on your list should be whether or not the group’s goals and motivation for raiding are compatible with your own. Whether you are looking for a group of people who you will be spending 8-16 hours a week with for the next several months/years with or looking for an individual to join your already established group, taking the time to get to know a bit about each other first should be one of the first things on your list of topics to discuss. Blindly inviting or joining strangers to raid with is about as likely result in a successful match as hitting up the LFD tool for Cataclysm heroics or proposing marriage to random drunk people in your local drinking establishment.

Suggested motivational topics to consider and discuss

Loot: Everyone likes new shiny stuff, being honest with each other about how much it influences your decision to show up for the raid is a healthy thing for everyone, especially when it comes time to decide which loot distribution system is best for your group.

Extending your Raid ID: What is standing in the way between you and a new boss kill? Better gear or more time spent ironing the mistakes out of your raid?

Raid spots: Plan for rotating people and what is the role of mains/alts offspecs. How much does it matter to you that you get to see the progression on your “main” and while performing your “primary role?” How do people about being benched for a fight “for the good of the team?”

Competition with other guilds: <Keeping up with the Paragons> How important is this for people? How comfortable is everyone with the idea of “we will progress at our own pace?” What if your own pace turns out to be slower than someone else’s?

Professional development: How will raider’s performance be evaluated? What role will performance criticism and feedback play in your group? How will feedback be delivered to people? Finally, how will your group deal with the people who will inevitable fall below the average skill level of the group? How much “credit” will you award for “effort” compared to actual results, and under what circumstances will the group start replacing people?

Matticast Episode 4

Welcome to Episode 4 of The Matticast. This week Matt, Borsk, Kat, and Brian discuss:

  • How to keep your raid team intact when progression stalls.
  • How to motivate raiders to be better than average
  • The listener topic this week tackles difficult boss encounters

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topic, and be sure to checkout and participate in the listener topic every Wednesday.

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Raid Leading 101: What’s your motivation?

Welcome to Raid Leading 101! I’m Thespius, and I’ll be writing weekly about the in’s and out’s of what we see (or what you can expect to see) stepping into this coveted leadership role. I plan on covering a variety of individual topics: Tips, Lessons, Conflict, Loot Systems, Recruitment Systems, Scheduling, Add-ons, and whatever you feel needs to be covered. I am a new Raid Leader myself, so I look at this entire experience as a discovery. I’m certainly not perfect, but then again, no one really is.  If you have a topic you’d like covered on “Raid Leading 101″, email it to elder.thespius@gmail.com.

On your mark, get set, GO!

I don’t believe any of us woke up one morning thinking, “Wow, I think I’m gonna be in charge of 9/24+ people!” For the most part, our desire to lead has come from experience. You may have started raiding for the first time, and saw the command that the raid leader had. He/She knew the encounters inside and out and what everyone’s job needed to be. People listened to that “General” and obeyed orders.

OR, you had a horrible Raid Leader. Maybe you felt he/she didn’t have a good hold on the situation, using out-dated or unrealistic strategies. You just felt that the job wasn’t being done correctly, and you started to see all the things NOT to do. Therefore, you take it upon yourself to be a better and wiser Raid Leader.

In either scenario, you most likely learned from what you saw. Something in your past experience guided you to this position. You’re taking the lessons you learned and the stories you lived through, and you’re putting it towards your own system. You have a great trust in what you think is helpful and what is not. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Why?”

Meaning of Life My Leadership

I got my raiding feet wet in Karazhan, and I wanted more. My original guild <Sword Through the Horde> didn’t have the roster to do Serpentshrine Cavern or beyond. I joined <Rise of the Phoenix>. Drama on a low-population server tore it apart. I joined up with the newly-minted <Team Sport>, but the raiding was just too casual. I got cozy with <Concedo Nulli>, but drama crumbled that fun to the ground. I aligned myself with Lodur’s <Unpossible> and found a great home, but it was missing something.

I was missing the friends that I “grew up with” in the game. You’ll probably hear about them throughout this “column”. They’re near and dear to me, which is why I decided to go back to <Team Sport>. However, I knew (as they did) that we needed to implement a more solid structure. They all loved hearing the stories of our boss downings in <Unpossible>, and I would even invite my friend Jayme over to watch our Lich King kills. They were slightly jealous and wanted similar. It was at this point I started to tip-toe into the leadership position.

I’ve discovered that the most important thing to me is to progress through raid content with my friends that share the same mindset. There are 6-7 of us that share the similar belief of a light schedule but with solid progression. Hence, I’ve tasked myself with creating a Raid Team based around that. My closest in-game friends and I taking on 10-mans with force.

Your turn, Grasshopper

So you have to take an inward glance. If you’ve ever thought about taking the “Reins of the Raid”, you have to ask yourself, “Why?” It’s not an easy job, so you need to be passionate. Know what it is you want to accomplish, and stay true to what got you here in the first place. Maybe it’s friendship, maybe it’s hunger, maybe it’s adrenaline. Whatever it is, take some time to identify it. It’s going to be the backbone of your leadership.

What drives you to be the Raid Leader? What is it that convinced you to take on the role?