For those who have ever lead a guild, you’re probably aware that it involves an incredible amount of work. You rely on several different skills in order to get the job done. Aunaka’s post, Ugh, you play World of Warcraft? covers some of the misconceptions spread by the “haters” surrounding the game, and one point in particular stood out to me:
WoW, is a pointless game and it provides no real life skills.
The author’s post goes on to briefly touch some of the skills a raid leader must call upon to lead a team of 10/25 people to victory against internet baddies, and it got me thinking about what skills I myself have learned during my time as a guild leader.
My recent Guild Leadership posts have been filled with examples of me dealing with conflict. This is not my strong suit, and I have nothing but World of Warcraft and my role as GM to thank for my continual improvement in this field. My job before I fell pregnant was in advertising and I was terrible at it, not because I lacked ideas or ambition, but because of my terrible shyness and fear of confrontation. I had originally started in the Classifieds Department, and nothing puts the fear of people into you like a livid new mother who is furious because there is a typo in little Jimmy’s birth notice! In those situations I could transfer the call to my manager and they would sort it out for me. As a Guild Master, I am that manager, and I can’t handball complaints off to someone else.
Having strong policies which dictate our expectations certainly make conflict resolution a lot easier, since most people should know by now what to expect should they step over the line repeatedly. I still probably let things go longer then they should, hoping it will sort itself out, and I feel like my heart is about to explode when I do step in, but I’m now much better at this then I was four years ago! Had I developed these skills back when I was working at the newspaper, I probably would have had an easier time making budget!
I am terrible at managing my time in the real world. I think it’s a downside of being unemployed for so long. I’m not going to get fired if I do the food shopping late! I’ve become the queen of procrastination and I freakin’ hate it. Once upon a time I had a schedule that ran like clockwork. Now, it’s 11am and I’m still in my pajamas. Thankfully, my role as co-GM means that there are still some things that I can’t be late for, and require that I’m aware of what schedules we have to work with and adjust guild events accordingly.
After being whacked with a massive case of burn out earlier in the year, I’ve also learned to admit that I’m not super human and that it’s okay to ask for help. Tasks that take up more time than I’m willing or able to cough up, like guild bank management, for example, have now been delegated off to other officers. It’s incredibly important as a Guild Master that you’re aware of how much time you have to spare and that you set up your guild leadership structure accordingly. Otherwise things will either be rushed or neglected entirely, and believe me when I say that it does affect a guild! If you want your guild to be the best it can be, then you need jobs to be done properly. Sometimes that means letting go of some of the responsibility and trusting your officers.
Many issues both in game and in real life have started because there was either a mis-communication, or no communication at all. I’m incredibly lucky that my co-GM and I are such good friends and we talk to each other all the time. We have a fantastic chemistry and are always chatting to each other regarding any issues past, present and future that we see, and we come up with ways to tackle them. Our officers, on the other hand, seem to be shy when it comes to bringing forward issues they’re having. This means that a lot of the time, we don’t actually know if there is an issue that needs solving, and that means that the runs they’re in charge of suffer greatly.
It’s a flow-on effect. If a raid leader doesn’t log on for raid, nine other people are inconvenienced. Not to mention that those nine other people now think that it’s okay to just not rock up with no warning, since the raid leader just did it! I’ve learned that I need to have my ear to the ground, eyes in the back of my head, and be ready to tackle issues before they’re even brought to my attention. I’m getting much better at asking the questions, but I still definitely need to work on following up with people to see if the issue has been resolved.
Whether you’re a player or a hater of World of Warcraft, I think it’s pretty ignorant to openly dismiss these skills that are developed through the game. As a guild master or raid leader, you’re dealing with a diverse mix of personalities that may not always get along. It’s your responsibility to make sure that the group performs to the best of its ability to achieve a goal. That sounds a lot like my first job where I had to manage a team of supermarket workers to ensure the front end operated smoothly! While there may not be any tangible results for the effort we put into guilds, such as money or goods, we are certainly calling on and strengthening skills that come straight out of a management handbook. The haters may not believe it, but that’s okay. If they want to miss out on free training that’s fun and great for making contacts, then it’s their loss!
In the month of July, Neri is going sober to raise money for the Dry July campaign. If you can spare even just a few dollars to help make the lives of adult cancer patients a little more comfortable, you can donate to Dry July over on the Concur of Blackrock team profile, or on Neri’s personal profile. Every little bit counts, and donations over $2 are tax deductable. Thank you <3