“Wait, what do you mean I’m leading?”

By | February 8, 2010

If you haven’t seen this really excellent post that Falconesse did as a guest spot over on Too Many Annas, you’re missing out. Making groups and stepping up to lead groups, even if you have a familiarity with a place, can be daunting. Some folks are shy, some folks have been burned before; there’s a myriad of reasons why a person might not feel that they would do well leading, or feel that they’d bring much to the table as a leader.

I’m going to approach this topic from the other side of the coin – from the person that has no issue putting groups together and has done it for nigh five years. Leading can be the most rewarding thing you do when something goes smoothly; you walk out of your instance or raid feeling like a million bucks because your decisions helped facilitate an enjoyable experience for other people. The problem is, of course, when that doesn’t happen. Whether or not it’s the leader’s fault that something goes awry, the leader always takes and/or feels a sense of responsibility for an under achieving group.

From the person who’s spent half a decade now (scary to think about, that) stepping up the plate, a few things your leaders would like you to remember.

1) We lead because we enjoy it, not because we have to. Stop expecting and ask.

The one thing that gets frustrating as a leader is the group mentality of “well, (s)he’s lead before, obviously (s)he will do it again no problem.” Don’t take this for granted, or one day, when you form a group and just dump that crown on someone without their knowledge, they may surprise you by dumping it back and saying “not today.” Not every day is necessarily going to be the kind of day you want your usual leader doing their usual leading thing. For example, if your leader goes to the grocery store and an old lady runs them over with a cart full of Metamucil. That may not be the best day for you to expect them to herd cats in Occulus.

2) We make mistakes, too. If we’ve made one, cut us some slack and treat us with respect when you address it.

If a leader steps up and is willing to own the success or failure of a group, you have to understand that they’re just as much of a Cheetos eating nerd as you are, and that means they might make a bad call. If you don’t agree with a call, if you think that something is a bad idea, you ought to address it, but be courteous. Words like “Noob” and “Dumbass” will not a happy leader make. A tangential thought to this: if your raid is on Ventrilo and your leader is speaking, if you don’t agree with a call they’re making, talking over them is incredibly annoying and frankly rude. Use your whisper box. A good leader will read it and take all feedback into consideration as long as it’s worded in such a way they don’t want to kill themselves.

3) Leaders owe you nothing. We are not your personal social secretary.

This looks like number one, but isn’t. An example of how a conversation actually went for me about two weeks ago, with three separate people.

“Hey, hey Yva. Yeah, uhh, the Tuesday raid’s Ignis this week. When are we gonna go do it?”

“Uhhh, I’m in the middle of RP atm. Haven’t really thought about it.”

“Oh, when are you getting a group together. I want to go.”

” . . . again, haven’t thought about it. Kinda busy, but I’ll get back to you.”

“So what do you think about Wednesday?”

” . . . “

Don’t do this. Ever.

4) Leading can be rewarding, but remember it can also be thankless. If you have concerns with your leader’s performance, talk to them. They can’t fix their leadership if they don’t know there’s a problem with it.

Leading is a skill just like anything else. Some people are great at it, others are good, others lead and shouldn’t because they don’t have the right bedside manner/disposition. Being a solid leader means you need to adapt and change and improve over time. Nothing will adapt or change without feedback and communication from the people doing as you instruct. Bitching about leadership to other raidmates instead of proper channels is a great way to destroy morale AND not see your leader get better.

5) A leader is busy. We have chats, whispers, and people talking on ventrilo to us. Wait your turn.

We’re like octopi at times, doing eight things with eight arms. If we don’t get to your whisper right away, it’s okay to nudge us with a “Hey, did you get my whisper.” Things slip between the cracks. Don’t lose heart because we didn’t answer you or get back to you right away. Really, it might have been a misstep. Of course, sometimes . . .

6) We don’t agree with your suggestion and overrule you. Sorry, move on.

It happens, your leader will do something differently than you’ve suggested. They may have their reasons. If the raid’s not suffering for their decision, but you still can’t get over the fact that your advice has been ignored, it may be time for you to step back from the group, or better yet, consider leading your own.

7) Remember not all people are good at leading, but might want to lead anyway. Choose your groups wisely.

Hey, it happens, there’s people who want to be heard and want to lead and simply shouldn’t. You’ve tried addressing them in a respectful way, you’ve tried constructive criticism, nothing changes and the group’s failing because of it. At this point? Either step up and lead yourself, or leave the group and look for a more suitable leader. Subjecting yourself to a bad experience because you don’t think you’ll get a better one? Not okay.

*****

I think that’s it from the peanut gallery today. Any responses and/or thoughts, feel free to leave ‘em. Ta!


2 Comments

Sorcha on February 8, 2010 at 10:13 pm.

I recall one time I was killing furbolgs in Winterspring, and a shadow priest whispered me and said “Would you be willing to heal Strat Baron for me?” I said “Sure,” and kept killing furbolgs. About 15 minutes later, he sends me a snarly /tell wanting to know why I haven’t found the other three people and set up the group yet, and didn’t I see first one then another tank log on and be snapped up for other people’s groups?

Itanya Blade on February 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm.

If only more people understood this, I would be less likely to be cursing under my breath.