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A Newbie Raider’s Guide: Lead, Follow, or Get The Hell Out Of The Way!!!

Raid Leaders often take for granted that everyone understands raiding like they do. What they forget is that “once upon a time”, they were just as ignorant…

When you think of great leaders, who do you think of?

washington

Washington?

lincoln

Lincoln?

bush

Bush?!

OK, you probably didn’t think of Bush, but we all had a laugh. What’s important is why are you thinking of those people? What qualities or traits do they possess that lead you to believe that they are good leaders?

Lead

Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile. ” – Vince Lombardi

Leadership is not easy. There are many traits a true leader needs to possess, learn, and hone to perfection. If you do a Google search for the Eleven Principles of Leadership you’ll find several links going every which way. Some are credited to the USMC, some the Army, and some not to anyone, but I found a list I liked here and have included comments with regards to Raid Leadership:

  • Know yourself and seek self-improvement – Know your toon.
  • Be technically proficient – Know not only your own toon, but the roles and general abilities of others as well.
  • Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions – Be aware. Fess up when making a mistake.
  • Make sound and timely decisions – No one likes a raid leader that clearly doesn’t know or understand what to do. But people are more forgiving of a leader that makes a wrong decision than of one that makes no decision.
  • Set the example – Practice what you preach.
  • Know your people and look out for their well-being – If you don’t care about those you lead, they already know and they won’t stay.
  • Keep your workers informed – Communicate. Some things are not public information, but keeping members in the dark of pending decisions generates an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.
  • Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers – Help them to understand their roles and importance of being prepared. Someone who knows why s/he needs to do something is more inclined to do it than someone who’s told to “Just do it!”
  • Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished – Even a 5 minute delay to explain the fight can save 30 minutes after a wipe. Follow up with feedback as appropriate.
  • Train as a team – Not just in raids, but heroics as well.
  • Use the full capabilities of your organization – Find out what professions each player possesses. Find out their roles and how well they know them. Knowing what your group is capable of is the start of knowing where you can go.

If you ever get the inclination to start your own guild or to be any kind of a leader in a raiding guild, keep the above in mind. Those you lead need to trust you and that trust must be earned. By being respectful, being consistent, and being an example, you’ll earn that trust.

Follow

Before you can ever lead, you need to learn to follow. As a follower I want you to remember one thing and one thing only.

    There’s a time and place for everything.

Last night we hit a snafu with our looting system again. The officers are working on streamlining everything and making some changes, because what was supposed to be a simple system blew up into something complicated. I believe they were trying to institute an addon that would post DKP on the website, which then blew up the website forums, as well as attempting to get the addon implemented in game.

As it stands, the addon didn’t quite work with our system, but changing the loot rules during raid time was not an option so several things were being done manually. So they asked us to bear with them. Unfortunately several people started to get impatient. They started making snide remarks in raid chat about the looting system and about how it was taking too long. They were getting frustrated and I suppose rightly so.

But the negative comments were distracting and began to irritate the officers as well as myself and others. Ultimately they were asked to knock if off because they weren’t helping the situtation.

As a follower you owe it to your leaders to support them. In this example, it would have been nice if the officers had taken the time to work out all the kinks before hand, but they didn’t. Regardless they were trying very hard to get this working as smoothly as possible and were just as frustrated as anyone else. Throwing in negative comments only fueled everyone’s frustrations.

As a follower, realize that your leaders are trying. They aren’t perfect. In fact some you find will be downright awful, but remember you signed up for this.

Get The Hell Out Of The Way

There’s a time and place for everything and for most problems during the raid is not the right time. Ask yourself if your comments or actions are just adding fuel to the fire or do they actually serve a purpose. If you find you can’t be supportive vocally, then sit on your hands. Don’t type or say anything.

No one’s asking you to follow blindly, but choose your battles and think of how it affects others. If you can’t do any of this or if your leaders are so incompetent, then get the hell out of the way! It takes less than two seconds to type /gquit.

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9 Responses

  1. I may or may not hav spent the last five minutes attempting to duplicate that facial expression … >.>

  2. Great post, Kyrilean! Entertaining and informative. Thanks!

  3. *ahem*

    Great post. 😀 I especially like this:

    “Make sound and timely decisions – No one likes a raid leader that clearly doesn’t know or understand what to do. But people are more forgiving of a leader that makes a wrong decision than of one that makes no decision.”

    That last line really hits home. It’s something I know I need to work on. Those long minutes spent debating the right decision can cause delays and the perception (rightly) of indecisiveness that are even more frustrating to the raid-at-large than a wrong decision.

  4. […] opportunities and the opportunity for drama.  I hate all three of those things!  But as Kyrilean pointed out in a post earlier today, the worst decision is often no decision at […]

  5. Leadership is definitely not easy and usually people hate the idea of putting up with inefficiency or incompetence regardless of the reason for it (validated or not). Good read

  6. @ Elleiras – I honestly didn’t try making that face until your comment…lol

    Also the idea that a indecisive leader is worse than a leader that makes wrong decisions comes from a boss I once had. Absolutely loved the guy, but he couldn’t make a decision to save his life. He always wanted to please everyone which made it impossible to please anyone.

    He also had a habit of not wanting anything bad to stick to him so his mindset was such that if he didn’t do something wrong he couldn’t be blamed. Made for a tough work environment.

    @ HP – Thank you! And thanks for the award! 🙂 I’ll see what I can come up with tomorrow.

  7. “Know yourself and seek self-improvement – Know your toon.

    Know your people and look out for their well-being”

    I’d like to add that seeking self-improvement isn’t just about knowing your toon. It’s most of all about knowing yourself as a leader and group member. If you have a solid, realistic picture of yourself, your strenghs and your weekneses, and you’re open about it, everything else will come more easily. And you shouldn’t just look out for other peoples well-being but also for your own. Else there’s an imminent risk of burn-out.

    My favourite managment author Stephen Covey talks about how you have to work on yourself, “sharpening the saw”. Never forget that part. It’s essential.

  8. My best friend and I call this the “Shoe Party”. How many peoples’ shoes can you stand in and see the situation from their perspective. Everyone gets an invitation to the shoe party–some just throw it out, others forget to take their own shoes off first. If you are spending time with these folks many nites a week raiding, some time should be spent being observant and considerate of others.

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