Officers' Quarters: Leading as a teen

Scott Andrews
S. Andrews|10.22.12

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Officers' Quarters: Leading as a teen
Joan of Arc in battle
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

How young is too young to lead a guild? What do you do when your guild doesn't even know your true age? This week, a teen guild leader wonders how long he can keep things going.

Hi Scott.

I'm a fifteen year old teenager who loved Wow. A couple of months ago I joined this guild, it was a level three guild full of nice,social players. I loved the guild as it had a brilliant atmosphere. I joined there raid team and rose through the ranks to become an officer.

In August, I took two weeks off and when I returned the two guild leaders were absent. Neither of them had been online in a few days and members were leaving the guild.

So, I took over the guild and have begun rebuilding it. It is now a level 10 guild with nearly a full raid team. But, I am worried about a few things surrounding my leadership.

As I have said, I'm only fifteen. None of my guild mates know my true age.

I also lead our raid team but as I am only fifteen I have no proper access to financial resources to rent a server for Ventrillo. And on top of all that I do not hold the rank of Guild Master as the old GM never promoted anyone. I am waiting till he's gone ninety days so I can officially take over.

My main question is, at my age how can I properly and fairly run this guild and get players interested in a raising guild who does not even have Ventrillo?

Please help!


A young, anxious Guild leader.

Hi, YAGL. First of all, I salute you for stepping up when the previous leaders disappeared. Taking over a guild is not an easy thing to do under any circumstances. When a guild is failing and leaderless, it is doubly difficult. It sounds like not only did you keep the guild alive, but you've managed to turn it around into a successful raiding guild. So, first and foremost, pat yourself on the back for that.

Internet anonymity

The beauty and the curse of the Internet is that we're all, to some degree, anonymous. The beauty is that we can judge others based on their actions and not their appearance, race, or even in some cases gender. The curse is that people feel like they can get away with things that they otherwise wouldn't be able to.

In your case, anonymity has worked in your favor. Would they have followed you from the beginning if they knew your real age? I really can't say. The important thing, however, is that they are following you now. That has nothing to do with your age and everything to do with your actions.

Time to come clean

Now that you've had success as a leader, it's time to tell them. One way or another, people will eventually find out. You don't want to lie to them, and if you don't come clean, then sooner or later you will have to. They know the unfortunate circumstances that led to your promotion to guild leader, and I'm sure they are all grateful to you for keeping things together.

It doesn't have to be a big deal, and it shouldn't be at this point. Don't let anyone make it into one. Keep the focus of the discussion on your success as a leader, not on your age. You stepped up when no one else would -- don't forget that.

As for the Ventrilo situation, part of being honest with your guild can be to ask for help getting a server set up. Also, there are free alternatives to Vent, such as Mumble, Xfire, and Vivox.

Voice chat isn't 100% essential for raiding, but it is an incredibly powerful tool to have at your disposal. It can mean the difference between a wipe and a bonus roll button.

Teen leaders

If your guildmates can't look past your age, that isn't your problem -- it's theirs. History is full of amazing people who accomplished great things as teens: Joan of Arc and Alexander the Great were teenage military leaders. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was 19, and Bill Gates founded Microsoft at the same age. Louis Braille invented his system at 15. It's not impossible for a teenager to make a great guild leader, or to do anything else (legal) they put their mind to.

In this case, you've proven you can handle the job. You deserve to keep it and you deserve the respect of your guildmates. Don't hide who you are just to make them feel more comfortable.


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
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