Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
A few weeks ago, my first and most important suggestion for casual raiding guilds was to find a committed raid leader. These days, however, good raid leaders are even rarer than good tanks. The author of this week's e-mail asks, What do you do if your guild doesn't have anyone willing to be the RL?
My greatest issue, however, is one that even after all this time, not even I have been able to resolve. A few months ago, we were forced to terminate the Raid Leader for our guild for several reasons. The biggest issue, though, is that on multiple occasions, he failed to show up for raids without notice, which we forgave and ignored. Unfortunately, the last time this happened, we learned he had actually been playing his Horde character on another server, running Kara with his other guild. Quite a slap in the face, and well--to me, a definite expression of his disinterest in his position as our RL.
Initially, our Assistant RL and I, along with the officers of the guild, determined that we simply allow the position of RL to be a casual one and not actually have ONE person. As a casual raiding guild, we were quite sure it wouldn't be necessary. Golly gee gosh dern omgz wtf was I thinking?! Over the course of the last few weeks, the role has fallen to me (I wear several hats already, and generally I'm ok with that), but of all the hats I am most uncomfortable in, coordinating boss fights and running the raid in progress is my least favorite. I am organization, communication, strategy. Sometimes I need a break from raiding and since October, I've missed exactly 9 runs of the 2 per week we do. My best friend and Asst. RL is also an officer and helps me do a good bit of management within the guild. She's my right hand when it comes to getting things done, so she stays pretty close to the burn-out monitor, as well.
To date, we haven't been able to really pin-point someone we know will fall into the category of RL, whom we know will take the position [. . .] What I wonder is if you've encountered guilds with this similar situation and if so, are you aware of how they were able to resolve it? [. . .]
Eva, I'm sorry to say that there's no easy answer here. Raiding guilds of any size or temperament live and die by those who lead them. I certainly sympathize with your desire to share this burden, however. Being the guild leader and the raid leader can put you in some very awkward circumstances, because what's best for the raid isn't necessarily what's best for all guild members. It can lead to tense and difficult decisions.
For instance, say you have a tank who's very enthusiastic but who just doesn't have the right gear for Zul'Aman, which can be quite unforgiving for those in pure Tier 4 gear. He's been trying his best to get better gear. He shows up for every ZA run in case you need him and he always gets left behind. As the raid leader, you can simply tell him to keep gearing up. But as the guild leader, you want to give the guy a chance to prove he has what it takes despite his gear. Other officers in the raid just want a smooth run without wasting time. What do you do?
Like you, I've acted as a raid leader on many occasions, but I can't say I ever enjoy it. And that's why. But even an RL who isn't a GL can feel those pressures, and the job itself comes with a hundred different frustrations. So it takes a special individual to do it well, and those who are willing to try are few and far between.
Now, in your case, you might consider your old RL. It sounds to me like the guy was just burnt out. If he didn't have to lead in his other guild, the thought of running Kara and only worrying about himself must have been quite appealing. The way he ditched you guys without notice was rude, I'll admit. But if he wanted to come back after taking a break, he might be your best option, at least in the short term.
The way I see it, you only have two others. The first is to recruit one. This is very difficult. Some say it's impossible to recruit a RL, but they are out there. Typically they are hardcore raiders who are sick of the strict schedule or maybe the unfair loot policies of their current guild. They want to raid in a more relaxed environment and they want to take on more of an active leadership role.
My guild is lucky in that we have a number of people who are willing to do it when necessary and they are all good at it (except for, perhaps, myself . . .). And yet, even so, we've had people join us from hardcore guilds who immediately want to step in and help out leading raids -- and we aren't even asking people to do that. So take heart: These people exist.
You must treat this differently than any other recruiting you've ever done. You have to be up-front about exactly what you're looking for: a raid leader who will be responsible, dedicated, and patient. You have to specify exactly what nights and what times you need this person, although you must be willing to change your raiding schedule specifically so your new RL can be there as much as possible. And you must be willing to submit to their wishes in certain aspects of your raiding policies, so specify what you're flexible on and what you're not.
This person needs to do more than just fill out an application. You should interview them and get a feel for how they would mesh with your members. Do they strike you as the kind of person your members would respect? That's really what it's all about, after all: If your members don't respect your RL, you won't get much accomplished.
I said you have two other options, and here is the second: Groom one of your own members to take over this position. Open the position to anyone who wants it, regardless of how long they've been there or what position they hold within the guild. Hopefully you'll get a few volunteers. Let each of them take a turn leading a raid, and see who can take the pressure, who can make the tough decisions, who can earn the respect, and who can't.
A long time ago my guild had a laundry list of requirements for gaining ranks that we've pretty much done away with. One of the old requirements for leadership positions was leading a couple of raids. Most people would rather stab themselves in the eye with their car keys than do that, but we made them anyway. I thought it was a good idea because it was a chance for people (a) to try a new role, to see if they liked it and were good at it, and (b) to know exactly what our raid leaders had to go through so they would cut them some slack in the future.
It's hard to predict who will make a good RL. We had a member of our guild who was pretty quiet back in the pre-Burning Crusade days. He came to raids, did his job, and didn't complain. But then he switched his main to a Resto druid in the expansion and wound up being our only Resto druid for a long time. He was also really good at healing. I think those two things gave him confidence and he started to take on a much more active role, volunteering to do the healing assignments and helping to communicate other crucial information to the raid. I never would have pegged this person as a leader a year ago, yet today I'd have no problem with him leading a raid solo. So you just never know!
In any event, now that your guild info and your predicament have been made public in this column, maybe someone out there will contact you. I wish you luck!