Don't let power go to your head, but still command authority
I don't want to have to put this down in my notes, but I have the feeling that it might be a good thing to mention. You may be the raid leader, but you are not the God-Of-Everything-In-An-Instance. Don't run your raid like a totalitarian regime. Listen to what others are telling you, take advice into consideration, and proceed rationally.
Sometimes it's the ideas of others who are in another position that can propel the raid to a new height. Everyone has a different perspective on the battle depending on their role, so it pays to listen when they think they can contribute. Their input might just be the thing that brings the boss down to its knees.
On the other hand, raid leaders do need to be referees at times. If everyone's trying to talk at once, or if someone is trying to force their opinion on you, you need to be able to step in and command authority. This ties into the two notes above -- keeping cool and talking about failure. If the people raiding with you respect you, they're going to listen to you and understand when you say no. Sometimes you will have to make really hard decisions, but don't back down from them. Rise up and try to find the best solution for the situation. Think of yourself like Switzerland -- neutral but mountainous.
Final rule: The book isn't always right
"Think of yourself like Switzerland -- neutral but mountainous."
It pays to be prepared. Make sure you know the battle you're about to dive headfirst into, and make sure the other players that are coming along with you have done their "raid homework" and know the battle as well as you do.
But, when you're in the raid and you're seeing the battle in motion, you'll notice things. You may even notice that your raid plays a little differently than the guides have suggested. You may notice that certain things noted in the guide just don't work for you. That's ok!
The guides that people put out are great stuff, but sometimes it isn't always for you. You may not have the exact class setup, you may not have everyone perfectly geared, or you just may not want to pursue the same strategies. As a raid leader, don't be afraid to make up a new strategy based on how your raid is performing. This is where keeping an eye on everyone else really pays off.
Feel free to modify a strategy so that it plays to your raid's strengths. I know that back as a raid leader, there were two battles in Naxxramas
that my raid played completely off the wall because we were better at doing it the "incorrect" way than the correct way. My point is that it worked for us, and you might be able to find a strategy that works for you better than the guide. So don't sit there and keep forcing the same strategy over and over again. Be prepared to think laterally in order to achieve your goal.
This isn't an exhaustive guide of the things you might face when sitting in the raid leader position. It's a tough job that turns out differently for everyone, but hopefully you can take the advice given here and find useful applications for it in your guild.
Remember, failure is a good thing that you can learn from, stay calm in tense situations and try to lighten the mood, be commanding without being a dictator, and understand that you might have to make some strategies up on the fly.
Now tune in next week when we go back to our usual topics of pissing everyone on the internet off. Enjoy!
Seraphina Brennan is the weekly writer of Anti-Aliased who is all about the leadership! When she's not writing here for Massively, she's rambling on her personal blog,The Experience Curve. If you want to message her, send her an e-mail at seraphina AT massively DOT com. You can also follow her on Twitter through Massively, or through her personal feed, @sera_brennan.