Attachments [Leading A Guild]
Posted on Thursday, June 18 2009 @ 04:07:50 Eastern
The following article is taken from my website. However, I'd like to offer GR the opportunity to critique it as necessary. Its a post about how you can make attachments between guild members forcibly form. Take a look.
Recruiting is easy. Provided you follow one of the many recommended techniques in the article and use your own skills effectively, the people that you want to join should come flooding in. Its a simple process and this explains why the shittest guild on your server is still able to get members. The most difficult task you’ll face with new recruits is trying to get them to form an attachment to the guild. When people have a connection to a cause they feel strongly about, or a group of people who are worth caring for, they are more likely to contribute and fight for that particular set of ideas. Attachment has been used as a technique to secure bonds between people for thousands of years, and still applies to family units today – right from birth. One of the key ideas behind a child establishing such a connection with a mother is that the former can provide for the latter during her old age. With the advent of retirement homes, this relationship has really turned into a one-way street, namely with the mother caring for the child during the early years of its life, without any real return later on.
Should you expect some sort of material payback from members once a connection has been established? That’s up to how you feel. Depending on how nice they are, you may receive gifts of gold and a selection of valuable items. Then again, most members will do nothing more to show their appreciation than occasionally speak in guild chat and show up for raids or other events. You must understand that, although you’ll try to create positive feelings between everyone in the guild, all members will react differently. Some people will perceive themselves worth more than they actually are, and consider simply logging on each day to be a privilege to you. Others will see being in the guild as a great pleasure, and freely give up their time and gold at any opportunity to help you out. Usually, if people have not had to go through some sort of application process, they’ll act the first way. Consider that you’ll get stubborn or more willing people no matter where you go. Even if you’re in the strictest and elitist guild on the server, be assured that there’s likely to be a few kind-hearted souls in there, but also some people who will turn up just for raiding. People like to think they’re unique and display behaviour that hopefully make us believe that they are. Despite this, there are still some strategies you can apply to get everyone involved and rooting for the guild.
Not sure what this picture has to do with anything, but I thought LAG needed some more sex.
The first step is getting members to relate to you. When they join, it’s likely they’ll have just been forced into a new community they know nothing about. Their only friends in this brave, new world will either be their referees and friends already in the guild, or you. Building a connection immediately is essential, as its within the first few days of joining that they’ll build their impression of the guild, and decide if they wish to stay or not. If you are not clear on the goals of your guild when initially recruiting, it is likely that new members will find themselves joining under incorrect perceptions. When finding that they want something from the game that you can’t offer as a guild, its likely they will quit regardless of how deep the connection you build with them. Prevent this from happening by the main points of your guild’s overall plan transparent to any new members.
'Right folks, we attack Durotar from here, here and here.'
'Sir, that's a picture of England and France.'
Don’t be afraid to approach people individually. This attribute will prove its worth when it comes to actually applying the following steps, but always bear in mind that it’s better to approach people separately, in private, than within full view of everyone else. Not everyone is as self-confident as yourself, and bringing unnecessary attention to people who don’t really like it. Discretion is always important. Whether you’re disciplining someone, or giving them praise, there is no reason to make it a huge thing that involves guild chat. Certainly, it’s one thing to make an example out of a situation, but its another to go through the process every time someone pisses you off, or does the opposite. Embarrassing someone in front of the guild, no matter what the reason, can bring negative results.
Making large gestures of love to all new guildies may seem like a good idea, but sometimes a more subtle approach is needed. Try some of the following strategies and see how they work out for you.
Send them gifts.
When someone is performing well in a guild, or simply seems to have settled down well, its good to send them gifts. Don't shower them like they're the son of God, but sometimes an appropriate, charming item in the mail will really cheer them up. Yeah, they can probably use the guild bank to draw something out at their convenience, but giving them something directly with no need for any implied repayment helps reach out and connect with good members.
Cut down on ‘grats’ spam.
Initially, wishing someone congratulations when they level or gain an achievement will seem like a great way to promote positivity. Too much can cause the opposite effect, however. Some people don't like to be embarrassed by people commenting on every little thing they achieve and others may find it annoying that someone is praised for reaching level 10 on their alt. You may not totally condemn such behaviour, but I'd definitely promote cutting down on it.
Don’t be afraid to make nicknames.
Avoid patronising nicknames, like calling someone of a low-level 'n00bie' or 'lower' or something. For your officers, maybe even branch out into calling them based off their playing style, personality and class. 'Snake' would fit really well with someone who is sly and manipulative, or just likes Metal Gear Solid. 'Lion' for a natural leader who displays loyalty to the guild, or they may even just have bushy hair. You can read as far into this as you wish. In the end, giving nicknames make you seem playful and helps your members simply like you more. Just draw a line if people start calling each other negative names with no real explanation.
Remember that the ultimate goal of all this is to build up an open, community atmosphere from the word go, without having to reduce yourselves to team-building activities (a la Severance). I encourage you to try all of the techniques listed, but sometimes a member will simply not catch on and invest themselves back into the guild. I guess the best you can hope for in this situation, is that they eventually change their minds over time and fall in love with the guild naturally. Just bare in mind Eleanor Roosevelt's famous line, 'Don't spend major time with minor people'. Learn to judge if people can be bribed into being committed to your guild and leave them alone if they can't.
The final tip in this section is about what you should be feeling. Although a good guild leader will go to just about any lengths to get their members friendly with one another, it is important he or she never becomes too attached to one particular individual. Think of this mindset as the 'Nursing Home Manager' complex. Pretend you're actually running a centre for the very elderly or terminally ill. Yes, make their time as thoroughly enjoyable and comfortable as possible, but always remember that they can be taken away at any moment, either through their own choice or powers beyond their control. You should always mourn the passing of an officer or active member (and even ask them why they left), but learn to simply not worry if a randomer leaves and refuses to comment on exactly why. Sometimes people are just arseholes. Do worry if people begin leaving in their droves. You should actively seek out the problem and find a solution immediately if this occurs.
Never react in a way that could potentially harm the reputation of your guild further. If you take some time to gather your thoughts and approach the leaver with respect and compassion, its worth the delay. However, if your blood just boils in the time between them leaving and you questioning them, then I encourage you to make any post-guild conversation as brief as possible, or don't have one at all. Sometimes its better to simply let go than to satisfy your curiosity. Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things.
Creating some sort of relationship with all guild members is essential if your guild hopes to survive in the long run.
Approaching people to get them involved on a personal level is more effective than constantly broadcasting the need to communicate with each other in guild chat.
Shitty gifts are better than no gifts!
Shitty nicknames are not better than no nicknames!
Pointless 'grats' spam is not really that productive.
Have your members be attached to you, but remember the 'Nursing Home Complex'; they could be taken away at any time.
As we've seen in the 'Professionalism' article, being indifferent is better than being a flaming ball of rage.
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Raider Mentality [Leading A Guild]
Posted on Thursday, May 28 2009 @ 07:33:33 Eastern
This post is also taken from my new blog. I thought it wise to publish it to GR to get some feedback on its content, to see what makes people laugh, and to see if people are offended by the huge assumptions I make. :P As usual, it focuses towards the MMORPG player (WoW specifically) but see if you guys enjoy the guild anyway.
The mind of a typical raider has always been stranger to that of a normal player. Not in some deep, Freudian way by which their desire to possess mighty swords is symbolic of the fact their dad threatened to cut off their penis at a young age. Rather, they have different priorities than the rest of the playerbase. Usually, their lives are fairly unfulfilling. They may be employed, but their jobs are boring and lifeless. They seek satisfaction through teaming up with like-minded, competent individuals so they can work together towards a goal they all share. When anyone starts raiding, they get a huge rush of adrenaline, but that wears off over time. The most enthusiastic raiders retain this feeling. Is it because they are yet to accomplish the same sense of accomplishment in real life? You may wager so, but that way of thinking leads us down some very dark paths indeed. When we begin to judge raiders as lifeless loons who can only get off by fighting giant vaginas, then what does that make us guild leaders? I like to think we're a breed of folks who are driven purely by the need to be productive and help others. Then again, others may perceive us as insane control freaks who need to exercise our need to dominate on strangers. Despite me being against stereotyping, I tend to do it a lot on this blog. Just understand that good raiders are essentially different to your average bloke off the street.
GIANT VAGINA, EYEBALL, OR AN OLD GOD? VOTE NOW!
For a start, you'll never really find a raider on the street. Given the choice, most people would stay in and do a few instances than go out for a random walk, especially considering what sporadic weather we've been having recently. This doesn't mean that raiders don't have lives. Most do, but they seek self-satisfaction more than your average human being. This means that whatever they do, its probably a means to an end. They are powered by a natural drive to achieve, which is something all guilds should look to capitalise on. I've spent more than seven thousand words talking about how to motivate your members, but these guys only need a specific goal to get themselves in the mood. That's all you need. Give them the gear and tactics, shove them in a dungeon, and they'll plough through it in no time.
This is a 'Raider'. He's angry because you play a Paladin, DON'T YOU!?
Or so you'd think. In fact, these folks are more likely to squabble over the basics than your average player. Take a look around your server. How many raiding guilds are there? Fifteen? Twenty? More? How many are actually making progress at a substantial rate? Five? I will never say that the people who join these establishments are not true raiders at heart, but they seem to lack the brain capacity to really put their dreams into reality. I know I always insist that you should never encounter such idiots in your own guild if your screening process is fine enough, but always prepare for the worst. Their mum could have filled in their application form for them, and their dad could have fluked his way through the TeamSpeak interview. Hell, most guilds only have one of those types of recruitment routes, so its statistically likely that you'll end up with a total moron once in a while. Identify and kick. Just don't assume that someone who makes a mistake is likely to cause more trouble. You should know when someone is constantly buggering up and how to get rid of them.
'THROW MOAR DOTS!'
Even folks who have proved themselves to be able in the past may turn out to be tossers once they join your guild. We all know the guy who is just a little too hardcore. If they were a Pokemon, they'd be Gyrados; angry and overpowered. He knows all the tactics and is more purple than a gay rights parade, but is all too quick to remind the rest of the guild of his awesomeness at any opportunity. Its almost as if he's sacrificed part of his humanity in exchange for being a pretty good player. Some people refer to blokes like this as cocks. Others call them dedicated. I brand them as unproductive. When you end up having to sacrifice morale for these blokes, then kick 'em out.
'Oh no! Its a raider with a huge ego!' 'GIVE ME PURPLLLEZZZZZ!'
Once your guild has been going a while, you'll realise that a natural hierarchy develops within the raiders. There's the lower tier of players, who you drag along to Naxx to gear up and get them used to a raiding atmosphere. Then there's a middle tier, where members have some decent epics and know the tactics on most bosses. Or claim they do. These people should make up the majority of your guild, and the skill and gear of the people you recruit should scale with your progress, in order to sustain progress. When you get people joining who are above the current bar standard in your guild, you encounter problems. They are used to raids that probably don't wipe as much as you do and have grown accustom to members who know exactly what they're doing. Some of this higher tier are polite and sympathise with the woes of a growing guild. These kind-hearted souls will stick around to help your own guys get up to his standard and therefore improving everyone's lives. Unfortunately, most of these more experienced players will simply leave when they realise you can't keep up to their high expectations. You must stoke the fire that warms the heart of every raider, but the more progress they've made in the past, the more coal you're going to have to pile on those flames. Otherwise, they'll proudly point out how superior they are to you and abruptly leave. You don't gain anything out of that, so avoid recruiting people from the higher tiers unless you're very close to their level of experience.
Story of my sex life.
Utilise the natural drive that all raiders have. Once the ball starts rolling, it will take a very long time to stop. This means you must be dedicated to such a cause from the moment you down your first boss. Get into their hearts, and inspire them to fight using their heads. These people are probably just like you, so tie in your own goals with theirs and bond together to make progress.
Raiders are special. Not in a retarded way; they're just passionate about what they do.
They may be a tad sensitive about why they raid. I know a couple who argue all the time, but work together perfectly if you stick them in front of a large monster. They use it as a way of bonding. Or taking out their frustration. All the same, best to keep out of such complicated psyche.
Be wary of the occasional idiot slipping into your ranks. When you spot one, kick them.
Fend off people who consider themselves too good to be in your guild. Their constant whining will do nothing but drag morale down. Its never worth the slight hike in DPS.
Collect momentum. Sometimes a successful guild will continue to motivate itself, given the right circumstances. Good vibes are all you really need.
[Mad props for the images go to: BossKillzahs, this fan site, this other fan site, these Pokemon fanatics and this.]
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Professionalism [Leading A Guild]
Posted on Saturday, May 9 2009 @ 09:56:33 Eastern
Hey. Over summer I intend to finish off my new project. Its a blog about guild-leading, something I did a lot of back in the days when I played WoW religiously. While the site is no where near completion, I figured I may as well share a teaser with you guys here at Game Revolution, and grab some feedback about the content. The following chapter in particular deals with how guild leaders must remain professional and indifferent as possible when dealing with the affairs of their members. Hopefully you'll find it a good read, and remember to leave feedback! Enjoy!
You are not a rock star.
Until your guild is the best in the world, you have no right to act like you are God's gift to WoW. In fact, if it was the best in the world, you would have certainly realised that there are better things to worry about than how big everyone thinks your e-penis is. Having an ego made of glass is not productive. Neither can you start crying when your guild doesn't follow you to the ends of the Earth/Azeroth simply because you demanded them to. Believing that people should respect you without giving them a real reason to first is selfish, unrealistic and immature. Displaying such characteristics will only attract idiots to your guild. No one wants that.
There will be a time when you can snap your fingers and your entire online member-base will come running. Expecting such behaviour off the bat, however, is foolish. Dealing with people online is a lot different to managing them in the real world. There's a reason why popular retail brands have terrible conversion rates when it comes to Internet sales. There's a reason why Downing Street ban people from making comments on all their videos on YouTube. People are not harder to deal with online, but definitely different. On our planet, people are motivated by factors such as money and self-gain. Companies keep their employees in check by providing these elements, in return for productivity. What are you offering people if not money? Initially, nothing. With nothing to restrain people, they go crazy. Consumers won't buy from brands online if they're less expensive in the shops. Self-proclaimed political pundits will take full advantage of anonymity and will say exactly what they feel about the government, so long as they don't show their face or real name.
Would you be able to get half a million signatures from people off the street? No, because the everyman in real life is a coward, or would simply think you're nuts. Online, however...
There's a point to all this. You can't simply pay people gold in order to get their loyalty. Believe me; I've tried. Even relying on epic gear to keep players in the guild will not be enough sometimes. What happens when summer hits, and people start to go on holiday? If you have no other hold over them, then the people who stay around to play WoW will look elsewhere for raiding fulfilment. By the time the rest of the guild returns from sunning themselves in different parts of the world, there won't be enough members left to continue raiding. Well-run guilds take measures to negate such downturn, like recruiting excessively before summer, or officially declaring raiding over until September. However, at the end of the day, you're going to have to use innovative techniques to get people to stick by you. Being in a guild is never perfect for one hundred percent of the time. Its part of your job to keep people by your side, even when things are looking shitty. Its an art.
It starts with being professional. A lot of people say that you shouldn't treat leading a guild like a job, and be as casual as you want with members. I'm not saying act like an emotionless psychopath. You'll find that I recommend communicating and bonding with your guild on a very regular basis. Simultaneously, you must work hard to remain aloof from any drama that may personally affect you. Getting involved with things on a private level just so you can satisfy your bleeding heart doesn't help anything. If you're angsty, go make a blog or listen to My Chemical Romance. Lashing out just because someone has attacked you or one of your friends will do nothing but worsen your own reputation. When people start seeing you as a crazy megalomaniac who will do anything to protect his or her ego, you're screwed.
I'll apply this to a specific example. About a year ago I was leading a rather successful guild on Defias Brotherhood, EU. In the space of a month we'd accumulated over one hundred and fifty members and had really good vibes going on. One day, one of the founders decided to quit, with her last words in the chat being, 'I don't think much to this guild TBH'. Then she left, for no apparent reason. This particular female never really said anything much and only turned up to the occasional raid. All the same, when she bailed so abruptly with such a vague explanation it made me angry. 'Why!? Why!?' I'd ask. 'Why did you just leave!? If you don't explain yourself, then we can't find out what's wrong with the guild!' She ignored me and I never got to the bottom of why she quit. It infuriated me, though.
Arguments can occur over anything and everything at any time. Stay cool and keep indifferent.
As a result, I came off as an incompetent, out-of-control arsehole and made my guild look bad as a result. I shouldn't have cared that much, but I did and my clinginess led to me being silly. I'm not saying never care when someone quits, but if you don't get a response, then it doesn't manner. Always opt to cut your losses and save face over pursuing a pointless line of enquiry. Frequent open discussions with your guild should highlight any issues your members have. Running after members who have just quit is not going to get you any answers, which means trying to talk things through with them only spawns confusion and frustration.
The key thing to all this is staying laid back. Do not care about petty incidents. As Erik Von Markovik says in The Mystery Method, 'keep telling yourself that it doesn't matter. Soon enough, you'll start believing that nothing is ever 'a big deal''. Whilst TMM deals with picking up women, some of the content covers coping with rejection, too. Managing such behaviour is a key trait of staying in control, as you'll find yourself facing situations revolving around different types of rejection daily. Just tell yourself that its not a big deal, and it won't be.
This is Mystery. He may look a bit weird, but fits a typical 'guild leader' archetype. Not only is he highly successful with women, but is also able to command legions of men, too. He has a calm, laid back personality which subtly requests respect, rather than demand it without earning first.
Professionalism is a form of damage control. If someone pisses you off, the last thing to do is act like an amateur and react negatively. Cool off, admit that something has gone wrong, and move on. Getting hung up on insignificant people is never the right way to go about things. If someone is pissing you off in your guild, then kick them. Offer a brief explanation before or after you boot them out if you wish, but stay calm. I'm all for people letting their own personality shine through, but if you're a hot-headed moron who accuses everyone else of being wrong and blows your top every time someone says something against you, then guild leading is not, and will never be, your forte. We all have our bad days sometimes, but that should never lead you to taking out your anger on others at the slightest provocation. A good leader knows when to go outside and get some prospective, and went to sit down to do their duty.
Staying cool and dealing with drama will allow you to disarm any situation. Ideally you don't want to kick everyone who starts causing trouble, but you really shouldn't be recruiting such immature idiots anyway. Performing in such a way will not necessarily guarantee that people will fall in love with your guild, but it will certainly buy you some respect and encourage them to act in a similar way. In later chapters, I'll discuss how you can get people to come to you with their problems before they even consider leaving, but for now keeping a clear head and an ego that actually reflects your position in the world will help massively.
If this strange clan can hold together in Dalaran's Underbelly, so can your guild. Just take it easy and keep to the right mindset.
This is all about setting an example. Having a positive-yet-realist attitude will allow others to follow suit. Keeping your nose clean and your allies happy will encourage your members to reprise such sentiments. On the flip side, don't go cybering in Goldshire or lashing out at random guildies. Not only is being caught out on such occasions embarrassing to you, but you're also giving your members permission to do similar things that could be harmful to your guild's reputation.
Rise above petty people.
Don't act like you're the leader of Ensidia; you're probably not and your guild is most likely still wiping in Naxx. Its fine to have ambition, but that doesn't mean you should act like a dick.
Don't act like you're a fifteen year-old who hasn't got more pressing issues in his life than crying over people who insult him online.
Know how to stay in control of your own emotions. When you're easily angered, its difficult to diffuse other people's anger.
Respect for you is going to be one of the key motivators for people to stay in your guild for the long haul. Managing member affairs successfully is a great way for you to gain respect.
Set a good example.
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