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Officers' Quarters: A sudden tyrant

Scott Andrews
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.

People change. Their opinions and tastes evolve. Sometimes a guild that was right for you in the past is no longer what you want. That's all well and good, unless this person is the guild leader, and they are bringing the whole guild along for the ride.

Hi Scott,

I am writing because I really need your advice. I am at a point in my guild where I may have to leave and I do not want to.

I have been in a guild for over a year and am now the co-gl. We recently server transferred from a low pop server to a high pop server. We have always been a casual 10 man/ social guild. We did pretty well during DS, but due to some ppl leaving the guild/ raid team we had to stop at the beginning of MOP. We could not recruit on the old server and transferred... And this is when the trouble started.

The gm and I have always been close. We are not friends in rl, but I consider him a friend. I have always been there for him, and the guild. Him, myself and the other officers have always made choices about the guild democratically, and talked about the direction of the guild. This has changed. The gm is now saying it is his guild, he will run it has he wants, and me and the other officers have no say. He wants to be come a 25 man progression guild and us fellow officers have reservations about it. He refuses to listen. It has become a place I was happy with and felt was a home to a place where we are just spots on his raid team.

Not sure what to do, me and the other officers are ready to leave Napoleon and start our own guild.

Please help,

Raid spot filler

(Please note that this email was sent before the connected realms announcement, and I answered him privately at the time. The advice here still has value for other officers, however, so I'm publishing it now.)

Hi, RSF. My question for you is this: Are you or are you not the co-guild leader? He gave you the promotion and you should have a say in this decision whether he likes it or not.

Step up

You accepted the responsibility that this position entails, and the leadership role that comes with it. It's now time for you to exercise that role and have a very frank discussion with the other guild leader.

You say you are good friends in the game. If so, then a private conversation is appropriate. Make it clear to your co-GL that his behavior is causing you to second guess staying in the guild at all. He will at least want to hear your side of the story and respond to it before you make a decision.

Despite his recent behavior, I think you owe him that. And if he is your friend, then he should be willing to hear you out.

Attitude adjustment

Don't focus on the raiding changes at first. Talk about his change in attitude. Discuss how he has made you and others feel. He has marginalized you and all the other officers. He is imposing his agenda on the entire guild without any discussion or debate, and this is not right.

That is a very bad way to lead a guild. In fact it's not leadership at all -- it's tyranny. His attitude will drive people out -- even people who want to try 25 man raiding. When every decision is unilaterally his, sooner or later that's going to chafe.

It sounds like he is done with casual raiding and wants to become a serious progression raider. That is his prerogative, but he can't transform the entire guild to suit his preference. If he no longer wants to be a part of a casual raiding guild like yours, he is the one who should quit, not you.

But you won't convince him of that with mere conversation.

Data is your friend

Before you have this private discussion, take polls. Talk to members. Find out what your players really want to do for the remainder of Mists. The guild should head in the direction that the majority prefer. No radical shifts should take place unless members are asking for them.

Once you've gathered this information, you can approach your co-GL and prove to him one way or another whether the 25-man plan is likely to be embraced. If you've been a casual raiding guild thus far, I imagine there won't be overwhelming support for that.

25-man is intimidating. If you've been a casual guild in the past, the pressure in 25-man raiding may not suit your raiders. This is not an easy transition.

Also, is your co-GL willing to raid lead the big group, or is he expecting someone else to do it? I've led raid groups of all sizes in WoW and I can tell you that 25-man raid leadership is a very different experience from 10-man.

If your guild is up for rolling the dice on the bigger size, there's no harm in trying it as a noble experiment. It sounds like it's going to be a long road for you guys to get there in any event. It's not a bad goal to strive toward, and with the lack of 25-player guilds out there you might have better luck recruiting by thinking big.

But if there's no support for larger raids, your co-GL has to acknowledge that it's the wrong way to go. If he won't see reason and at least consider other officers' and members' opinions, then you can leave with a clear conscience. I imagine a few people will follow you, too.

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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