So you've been reading Officers' Quarters for years and you're curious about this whole leadership thing, but you don't know how to go about getting the attention of the existing officers. This week, a player follows up on a previous OQ column to ask how she can get promoted. I've got seven pieces of advice for her, but first, the email:
Hey there Scott!
Awhile ago, I wrote you about starting my own guild with a few family members, and you advised me to stay in my current guild and work my way up to officer.
After reading your advice, I have a few follow-up questions.
My main concern is how to go about becoming an officer. I don't want to necessarily just blurt out "hey, I wanna be an officer", because if I were the GL, I'd think that the person who said that was demanding the position. However, if I don't say anything, how will the GL know I'm interested?
Like I said, I know I'm not owed anything. I really love the guild I'm in and have lots of ways I'd like to see the guild improve. Any advice you can give would be great.
Hi, GW. I'm glad you decided to stay put for now. A number of people have asked me recently how to go about earning that promotion, so here we go.
1. Be patient.
If your guild already has plenty of officers, you may have to wait a long time before they are looking to add to the leadership ranks. To get an idea of how long it could be, think back to the last time someone was promoted and then the person who was promoted before that. The amount of time in between is one indicator.
However, as anyone who has been playing MMOs for a long time knows, the only constant is change. One of the officers could stop playing or gquit on any given day. The officers may decide not to replace him or her. If they want a replacement, then they're going to look for the right candidates, and you'll want to be considered a candidate at that very moment.
You never know when that moment could arrive. That means you need to start laying the groundwork now for the promotion you want to receive then.
The first thing that officers ask themselves when they are considering promotions is this: Who could be an officer?
Shocking or strange officer promotions can rip apart guilds. Such incidents usually mean someone was promoted without merit. Your guild leader and your officers hopefully know better than this. That means the person they choose will be someone that is already well-respected in the guild and who already helps to run the guild, even in a small way.
Most officers don't go around asking for volunteers (although more should). In most cases, they already have a lot on their plate and they're not looking to add extra activities that translate to extra work. That's where you come in.
If you see an area where the guild is lacking, such as a rated battlegrounds team or a weekly raid for alts, the best way to make that happen is to volunteer to lead it. Implementing an activity that improves the guild shows initiative and dedication. It proves that you don't just want to reap the fruits of the officers' labor -- you want to give back. It also proves that you know how to get things done. These are all qualities that officers look for when they raise up someone to their rank.
It doesn't have to be something so elaborate, either. It could be taking an active role in helping someone to learn a new class or spec, spending time to help with recruiting, or starting up some fun threads on your guild's website to get more people to use it.
This is how the officers know you're interested: because you're already acting like an officer. You're already contributing without expecting anything in return.
3. Be an active player.
Promoting officers who only log in for raid nights is not ideal. Officers are looking for players who are a steady presence online. They want players who will be online to invite alts to the guild, to put a stop to an offensive conversation in guild chat, or to answer questions.
I'm not saying you should drop everything else in your life to play WoW 24/7. But if you are online a healthy amount, especially during peak hours, that can only help you.
4. Avoid drama at all costs.
Officers hate drama. Hate it. It makes games unfun. It makes them feel like daycare workers. It ruins their day. And drama that loops out of control can have devastating consequences.
Once you're involved in any kind of drama, it's a stink that's hard to wash off. Officers have long memories when it comes to this kind of thing. So, always keep your cool and approach situations from a reasonable point of view. Log off to calm down if you have to. It's better than saying something you'll regret later.
5. Exhibit the five traits of a good officer.
Way back in 2008, I wrote a column about five traits that make for good officers. They are maturity, generosity, emotional intelligence/control, and game knowledge. (Click on the link for a more detailed explanation.) If you have these traits, you are the kind of person who would make a great officer -- and hopefully the officers in your guild will recognize that.
6. Above all, be reliable.
Officers can put up with a lot from their fellow leaders. No one is perfect, after all -- and when you're all just volunteers, you'd rather have an imperfect officer who gets things done than a guy everyone loves who never follows through.
If you have a reputation for being unreliable, you won't get promoted. It can be a small thing, like no-showing for a raid without giving any advance warning or reason, or a big thing, like quitting the guild and coming back three times.
7. Never ask for it.
Your instincts served you well here, GW. Asking for a promotion makes officers suspicious. It makes them wonder if you really want to help out, or if you're just in it for the ego boost, the power trip, or even just to rob the bank and peace out.
More often than not, the people who want to be an officer the most are the ones who are least fit for the role. Being an officer is thankless work -- the rewards are mostly intangible and sometimes it feels like it's not worth it at all.
People who deserve the role already know this, but they want to help out anyway. They know that it will give them a sense of pride, a deeper camaraderie with their fellow guild members, and important lessons in leadership that can be applied to real-world situations throughout their lives.
I wish you luck, GW, and all the other aspiring officers out there who are in it for the right reasons.
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.