[As you read this I am actually out in the woods – very possibly getting rained on – with Arust and Cocky Mage to join me shortly on the last camping trip of the year. Once again I am using my amazing powers over space and time to blog to you from the past!]

I mentioned yesterday about the sadness of Myrliandre’s leaving WoW. This leads directly into a bit of a problem — we need a new guild leader.

Our guild has a policy of open communication, and so we called a town hall guild meeting to discuss how we’ll select our new leader. And maybe even do the selecting.

So this has got me to thinking about what traits you want in a guild leader. What’s the Guild Leader’s mission statement?

To preface this you have to understand that my guild is a very touchy feely casual guild. We raid, yes, but we do not require you to raid, and if you want to raid there are no attendance requirements. There’s no DKP (and no random rolls either). The central philosophies of our guild is that you should do whatever you enjoy in WoW, be supported by your guildmates, respect each other, and of course the open communication to all levels of leadership (including leadership decisions being transparant to the guildies).

Guild Leader Qualities

So given those philosophies, here is what I think you want in a Guild Leader:

The Guild Leader should help the guild as a whole progress in raids – within the philosophies of the guild – and make every guild member feel welcome and free to enjoy WoW in their preferred way.

Now it may seem odd at first that the primary role of the GL is to help the guild raid, since we aren’t a raiding guild or progression guild. But – there’s a but. The only scheduled guild activities we have are raids. The guild roles all involve raids – the Raid Leader, Loot Master — even the Bankers are there to help the guild gear for raids. I mean you don’t need a whole lot of leadership just to hang out in guild chat and ask for group runs.

Myrliandre created a home for us in our guild, and made us all feel welcome and safe. We want our new Guild Leader to continue that feeling, but also fit the statement above and help us progress in raids (as Myr did). Here’s how I see this philosophy affecting people:

People Who Benefit From It
Anyone who wants to raid benefits from a GL who is helping the guild progress on raiding. Whether you want to see the endgame content or get loot or prove your mad skills or all of the above. You benefit from this statement. Obviously the GL has to help the guild progress wisely and fairly – help low performers understand how to improve and not just kick them from raids.

People Who Aren’t Affected
Anyone who doesn’t care at all about raiding is not affected at all. The guild is still a friendly social guild – all are welcome to do as they please. Having a GL who’s helping the guild progress through raid content doesn’t affect anyone who doesn’t raid.

People Who Are Hurt By It
This policy is directly bad for anyone who wants to just be carried on raids. People who don’t prepare – don’t have their consumables, won’t get the gems, enchants, and won’t work to get the badge gear so easily available – the people who just want to show up and do 2k dps and are happy to let other people do all the work and be handed their epics. These people are hurt by this statement. Not surprisingly, I’m okay with that.

It’s All Within the Philosophies

And of course I should say again, to reinforce, that this all exists within the guild philosophies. Our guild philosophies say we are friendly and anyone can do what they want and we have to respect each other. So obviously our GL can’t help raids by being a total asshole and setting draconian requirements and kicking anyone who doesn’t comply. The guild philosophies are still there.

But, you know, the GL should be a little bit of an asshole. I mean, think of the nicest person you know – unfailingly kind and nice and selfless. You probably don’t want that person as your GL. They’ll never confront someone who’s a problem, they want to be liked too badly. You want someone who can make the hard calls and isn’t going to do nothing because they’re afraid of huting someone’s feelings. I think that’s important too.

Actually, I guess I want in a guild leader the same thing I want in a main tank: someone who knows their stuff, will help us raid, but also is a wee bit of a haterade.

Maybe I should be making some Hrist for GL buttons. Yeah, that would be awesome.

So what do you think are the essential traits of a Guild Leader?

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  1. Jaedia says:

    A guild leader for me has to be approachable, if they sit quietly in the corner not speaking to anybody and acting cold when you need to tell them something personal for whatever reason, it’s going to upset people. Not necessarily the agony aunt of the guild but just approachable. Somebody fair… somebody you know and trust. And somebody who will show for and enjoy the raids you do, nothing worse than a GM who takes fragments then spends all his time PvPing and wondering why people don’t like his PvP spec on Sarth 3D tries… You get the picture.

  2. Valacia says:

    It’s interesting that this came up and this article is here today. Our guild leader recently had some RL issues come up that would potentially make him unavailable for raids with any reliability so he decided to step down, rather than have an absentee GM.

    Because I am the other “OG” in the guild, I named the guild, he asked me to take his place. He felt like I was the only one who wouldn’t let the guild fall apart due to some recent stresses we have encountered with core members deciding to just jump ship and xfer off server or join other “real raiding guilds.

    In this new found position I have found myself constantly thinking about the guild. How do I keep what few core raiders we have left in the guild. We are a casual, friendly raiding guild as well. Most of us who raid fall into either the “I like to raid, I want to do end game, but I cannot devote 5 nights a week to raiding” or the “I like to play, raiding is fun too, but I have a real life and cannot justify hours a night” camp.

    I like your focus here, hopefully I can take it to heart and use it to hold us together long enough to replace those missing slots and gear up some people who have just recently made it to 80 so we can move forward again instead of having to PUG all of our ToC runs.

  3. Irix says:

    I think the key for any guild leader is to be present and setting the “heartbeat” of the guild.
    What do the majority of folks in a guild want to see the guild accomplish? The GL should
    communicate those objectives and let the membership know the expectations of those who want to participate in raids. I do think being a bit of “haterade” is good too, if its balanced by a fair amount of support and praise too.

  4. kalvun says:

    Fawatam,I read this blog. I know that Wolves are the best pet for MM and SV and Devilsaurs are the best for BM. That’s like WHU 101. Pike from Aspect of the Hare, another blogger I highly repect, has said she has some new results since the latest patch. I was asking Frost if he had seen that also. Thank u very much. Also Frost, awesomesauce=fruity. Just saying. September 24, 2009, 9:38 pm

  5. Darkwenna says:

    I think Guild Leaders should be “Cheerleaders” With an evil side! Haterade could be kinda fun too, if your into masicsim (spell check). JK, Hrist is my hero!
    While sadly not a member of your guild, I was lucky enough to get to know most of you and still get to hang with you guys in some PuG duengon runs… The one thing I am sure of is that you will all pick the right person!

  6. As a guild leader myself, I have learned a great many things about guild leading, that would be especially relevant to your guild Frost (we are a 10 man casual raiding guild).

    To be both a casual guild and a raiding guild, the guilds leadership has to be slightly less casual than everyone else. The leaders have to pick up the slack for the others, and make sure things get done. The guild leader also has to be strong under pressure. The other members look to the leaders when there is a problem, and no guild is exempt from drama and the occasional fracture. A guild leader must be able to ease the minds of the other guild members, then find and enact a solution to the problem. Its one thing to sit and guild lead on day to day activities, but another to handle serious issues when they occur. A failure in leadership at such critical moments can lead the guild to recovery, or to death.

    Additionally, I feel that guild leadership must be an active part of the guild and its raiding, and preferably they should be “key” raiding roles, such as a healer or a tank. Not necessary of course, but it helps alot.

  7. Arthemystia says:

    Hatred, rage, an unceasing desire to win.

    Ours has a scary knowledge of classes, which helps in raids. I know basic roles, but he’ll pull out obscure abilities from our repertoire routinely. I’ve even been put to shame once or twice when he’ll suggest that I use something that I hadn’t even thought of, but really should have thought of because, well, I’m a hunter and take my role seriously.

    We use Epgp (not DKP, and more fair imo), raid at least a few times per week, use the guild bank as a store, etc. etc. so there’s a lot of responsibility. I don’t envy GL’s of active raiding guilds.

  8. Axebrew says:

    Posting from work, so this may be choppy (or broken into multiple posts).

    A good guild leader for a casual-ish guild will:
    – Be there. Participate often in activities and raids.
    – Be passionate about the guild and the game
    – Guarantee the social aspects and core tenets of the guild remain intact.
    – Focus and support the raiding population.
    – Ensure that members who fail to live up to guild expectations (social or raiding) are given guidance; if repeated guidance fails, able to decide upon further action.
    – Be compassionate and approachable
    – Solicit input and perceptions
    – Think critically and objectively
    – Publicly delegate authority for some roles (Hey folks, Bob is our new apps and recruitment officer, Joe is our raid administrator)
    – Privately delegate authority for some other aspects (Fred, you help our class captains work with these people. If they don’t shape up, ban them from raid under may authority.)
    – Decide swiftly and finally.
    – Be able to explain the decisions, and more importantly, know when it’s appropriate to do so. SOmetimes a simple “what’s done is done” is the best way to put something to rest.
    – Recognize cliques are inevitable to some degree, and ensure that there’s sufficient interdependence and friendship between the groups that the guild as a whole is stronger for it.

  9. Düm says:

    Holy noodles. I was always under the impression that there were leveling guilds and there were raiding guilds.

    I want this guild. Anyone know of one on Whisperwind alliance?

  10. quivering says:

    well… i could certainly fill this up with a million things. ive been bounced around from guild to guild lately (to my dismay) and i have picked up a few insights i think. i think this applies to any leader within a guild.

    – dont be so emotional or insecure that someone asking a question about your “executive” decision. be strong enough to handle inquiries without flying off the handle after 2. we dont work for you, mr leader, you work for us.

    – dont be a hypocrite. words mean jack to me, and i ignore them outright. lead by example. if you dont want me leaving the raid/guild/server over a few wipes on a farm boss, i dont expect you to leave the raid/guild/server over them (yes this has happened). stop booting someone because you dont have an off spec, even though this phantom rule is NOWHERE MENTIONED IN YOUR GUILD CHARTER (this one burns me up, ive seen a guy royally screwed because of this).

    -dont be elitist. i suppose this is a preference in guild focus, but unless youre a world first type guild, elitism hardly has a place.

    -be fair and considerate of all players in your guild. stop building 10mans around the best of the best so only the rich get richer, sometimes medium players need gear to. maybe my dps would be a little higher if you stopped choosing the best guild over hunter me, duh silly. stop using a tank through 4 bosses on TOC on tuesday, then put him on standby for Anub when your buddy tank signs on.

    -dont half ass your loot system. please take a few minutes to consider different pros and cons for any given distribution system, and including measures to prevent hoarding and inflation.

    -dont be afraid to criticize, but dont be afraid to praise either. im tired of topping meters without a single sign of appreciation. im not codependant on guild praise, but my gosh, a little “nice job” doesnt hurt every once in a while, especially since you lavish praise on others with much better gear.

    -dont berate players due to your ignorance and blind recount/failbot worship. nothing grinds my gears more than when i get fussed at on a boss for having low dps when im chasing adds or shooting frost down. use these tools properly, they arent weapons. and dont fuss at me if you rez me in the fire on gormok heroic. warlock cookie and nitro boots couldnt even save me (i tried).

    -demand excellence, but dont become so anal that one boo-boo makes you so butt hurt you rant in vent for 5 minutes. no one wants to be led by an emotionally unbalanced little girl man child.

    -give me hunter weapons plx

    i could go on, and forgive my personal rants interwoven throughout, but thats some of the bigger issues to me. i dont not mind being scolded when i fail, i dont mind being held to high standards, and i dont mind public chastisement. i detest ignorance and folly though (if someone asks me why my dps isnt as high as ilvl245 hunters on Anub one more time, im gonna misdirect a boss on them, i swear. if i was assigned to sit and nuke the boss 24/7, id be high to, but frost orbs and add switching lowers dps, thats like dps 101)

  11. quivering says:

    i did not realize i spammed that much. again, my apologies for the rant. guess ive let a lot build up lol

  12. stoutnbitter says:

    being a GM is a demanding and has very little return for effort. BUT in the times where you beat a boss first time you forget the administration for a second.. and that is all it takes.
    Not every person is cut out to be a leader. It takes an extreame amount of mental strength/stability to coordinate a multi cultural mix of fantasy toons with each person being an individual, yet being driven by the same, or atlease similar goals.
    (RUNNING A GUILD IS LIKE HERDING CATS)
    Mr or Miss popular isnt the best choice for GM.
    Mr Asshole isnt either.
    the defining traits of quality GMs are
    1. strenth of personal charecter
    2. positive demeanor.
    3. respectability amongst members (and future members)
    4. strength of personal charecter
    5. decision maker. (never say “I don’t know”) even if they dont.
    6. Hard.but fair (in a guild there will be always people that dont understand why they were sat out on a particular raid, but there are many that do and appreciate the positive and direct approach to guild advancement).
    7. multitasker ( not only does a GM field many class related questions, they also field many off topic and personal ones too)
    8. strength of charecter
    9. show united front ( TOGETHER WE STAND DEVIDED WE FALL)
    10. Ohh did i mention STRENGTH OF CHARECTER. :)
    To round out this leaching of my soul.
    To succesfully produce resluts as a GM is like RIDING A BICYCLE BACKWARDS WHILST BALLANCING AN EGG ON THE EDGE OF A KNIFE HELD IN YOUR MOUTH.
    difficult to master but once done, the respect and admiration of members and also other server players is guarenteed.

    STOUTNBITTER
    ITS AN ATTITUDE NOT A LIFESTYLE

  13. Gefro,UK hunter says:

    As long as guild leader isnt a raid leader, you need someone to defuse an emo RL with his finger over /Gkick button
    :)

  14. Arthemystia says:

    I think we’re approaching this wrong. Our answer shouldn’t be what we want in a guild leader. Our answer should be what we want in *Frost’s* guild leader. And the clear answer is Hrist. Having no investment in Frost’s guild whatsoever, I think all of our motivations should be toward whoever will provide the most entertainment for the WHU.

    Hrist in ’09! Sign me up for one of those buttons.

  15. zwirbel says:

    I have only played wow since March 09 and was amased how open the guild was. Myr made sure I knew the rules (greed, need, pass particular items) and helped me so much with macro and any questions I had. I would like to see the next guild leader to be:
    – fair
    – open
    – helpful
    – team player
    – honest
    – good communication skills
    cheers

  16. Mason says:

    You pretty much said everything a guild leader needs to be. I’d like to add in a sense of humor. Hrist would be a great guild leader in my opinion!!

  17. Aardbeitje says:

    I just became guild leader not so long ago, and I mainly want myself to be:

    – Present: be there when things go wrong and right.
    – Interactive: have a chat with the people I don’t know that well in the guild and make them feel part of the group.
    – Nice, so that peopl can come up to me and just talk bout whats been bothering them in the guild and in real life.
    – Mean: because the boys do need to be controlled from time to time ^^
    – Exceptionless: If one person gets a demo or a kick or a promo and an inv that it happens to everyone, no friend-politics etc.
    – Straightforward: I cant stand it when people start to dance around the point. Might come as a blow sometimes… but it saves time and eventually the message is the same.
    – Get the guild together: do fun things, in game or in real just to become a group instead of a couple of people from different countries playing the same game.

    Eventhough it all sounds very social, I think it is even more important then getting the best of the best raids. Cause if you don’t have a real group you can’t get far with raids anyway…

  18. Kazador says:

    I strongly agree with Arthemystia. The important thing for Frost’s new Guild Leader is that he/she provides US, the WHU readers, with endless entertainment! From what I hear of Hrist, he’d definitely annihilate all competition on that front, and would probably be a damn good Guild Leader for other purposes too. Hrist ’09!

  19. Hrist would be win. Not only a great motivational speaker, but he could pull off “Many whelps! Handle it!” quite easily.

  20. Axebrew says:

    He has, Yume. He has.

  21. Fradin says:

    I think a GM must take part in raiding especially in the end game situation, be able to help others , listen to peoples comments , organised, able to help others and all the other basics of a decent GM but must be able to be strong when the poo hits the fan oh and it does . We currently had our GM change and are currently doing a weekly GM rotation where each officer organises the guild and events for that week. One thing i noticed is that guild repairs can only be turned on by the GM and if hes not there for the raid it can’t be activated. The GM should be respected and look up too but should be easily approachable too as people need to say what there feeling because once it builds up it becomes a bigger drama and can cause the guild to fold or break up.

  22. Blargh says:

    HRM…well then…seeing as I’m not a part of the guild, factionor even server I can only drop what I see in my own current guild…and pro’s cons thereof….
    I’d like to think that my guild has a unique system that works for us! While we DO have a main leader…who has a great ego and self-title of KING lawl…he graciously has delegated 10 spots as King’s Council…of which I am one. No one person really has any specific role or title, HOWEVER it is expected that in absence of ‘KING’ *heheh* that the King’s Council members be able to make the decisions in his leave…and to protect his secret alt identities if any of them be present during these times *eyeroll*…he’s the perfect balance of devout gamer / emotionless and final in decisions / all-for-one *muskateer* / evilly wild sense of humour / great patience even with the most obscene of moments / faithfully there to deal with anything that therest of us are confused on…I think on Garithos, we’re a rareity in regards to actively promoting our lowbies to get them up the lvl’s…yep we’ll carry someone through or ‘run’ them solo through something to get them the items to increase their potency per/lvl…I have to admit,as I seem to have unnofficially captured the role of the ‘main’ recruiter to our guild, I’m also one of the main people who likes to give a ‘freebie’ run to our lowbies. It’s how I connect with our guildies, encourage them to continue developing as a character…this doesn’t mean that we’ll carry them EVERYTIME they ask…however it’s a nice guild ‘perk’ if you will and a tactic I use to reel back in those I sense straying…we too are a casual raid guild and due to the fact that we’re mainly DPS…hunter’s and dk’s take up 1/2 of the 97 members, the rest are mish-mashed of mages, locks, and the few priests and druids who are finally getting closer to 80 so we won’t have to hire outside help…but that’s where we’re at in our guild, still growing and once our healz bump up to 80 we’ll be able to handle 25 man raids with guildies only!

    …ok ok the point….seeing as you’re already a developed guild, established in your sense of what makes your guild tick…then my vote would be to pick Hrist. He’s already there, knows how it works, and is obviously the next best choice. But what about you Frost? While here you focus primarily on hunters (cause we’re the BEST class XD ), you also have a GREAT understanding of where the other classes fit in, kow the game thoroughly, and already you show signs of SOME patience somewhere…I mean you DO put up with us right? ;P

  23. Oyless says:

    I’m glad I saw this post and have taken time to read the entire post and each comment. This is really good advice for Guild Leaders. I’ve recently taken over a guild after my friends, family, and I have guild hopped for the past 2 months. Just because of “Drama” and “Elitest Idiots”. I’m a teacher and have a good understanding of dealing with many different types of people, so all the people in the guild voted me the leader. Though I’m not that knowledgable about end game raids except for Naxx. I’m slowly getting the moral up by doing some farming of heroics and raids on Naxx for our new 80’s. Scheduling mini sessions of Uld 10 and ToTC 10. Feeling out what my guildmates can do and how we work together. Pretty nervous but standing my ground and being the leader. Accepting helpful pointers anywhere I can. Helping out other classes, researching websites to read up and send them to if they ask questions (hunters I pretty much have down because of this site, but still send hunters here so they can read up themselves). Trying to be there for the guild. SO…..Thank You for posting this, Its been extremely helpful!!!!!