If there has been any constant throughout my long string of positions as guild leader, linkshell leader, faction leader, and raid officer it has been thus -- leadership is tough. Sure you can surround yourself with raid guides, memorize every battle perfectly, and be wearing the most epic of epic gear, but if you don't learn how to work with others then you're most likely doomed to fail.
Raiding and multi-man content means working as a team, and that means someone's got to step up to the plate to take the reins. Leading a group or raid isn't easy, but I can tell you that it's well, well worth it. To that end, if you're just starting out on the path of leadership or are looking for a few tips to help out your raiding group, I think I might have some advice for you guys.
(Editor's Note: Sorry about the glitch! Part 2 is now available!)
The Golden Rule -- Failure is OK!
"Right off the bat, let's get one thing straight -- failure is to be expected."
One of the best things you can do as a raid leader is to learn from your mistakes. Don't delude yourself: You can be completely prepared for battle and still make mistakes. Trust me, this is coming from someone who could swim in battle guides and give everyone perfect instructions, yet still run the wrong way in the battle during the heat of the moment.
Don't just watch your mistakes -- keep an eye on everyone in the raid. Make your failures into learning experiences and remember to talk with your teammates afterwards about what went wrong. Get everything out in the open and don't chastize other players for their mistakes. Instead take that mistake, talk about it, and then talk about how you can avoid it next time.
Stay cool under pressure
Another rule that I cannot emphasize enough is staying cool and calm. It's the most important personality trait of a raid leader. We've all seen/heard the sounds of a raid leader freaking out on their raid, screaming like a little child over Ventrilo as they don't get their way.
I'm going to be as direct as possible with this: Screaming gets you nothing. People (surprisingly enough) play games to have fun. If your raid feels like they're the slaves building the pyramids, they're not going to want to put their all into what they're doing. Beyond that, if they think you're an idiot then they're just going to pack their bags up and raid somewhere else.
So even when people around you are making stupid mistakes and the raid's happiness level is starting to decline, keep cool. Try to even cheer people up. Make sure everyone's having fun, even when things are going lousy. It will help everyone stay focused, stay happy, and stay raiding with you.