So you want to be a GM? (part 3 of 3)

You can read the first and second parts of this series by clicking the links.

Last time I wrote on the topic of being a GM, I closed with saying that I wanted to talk about guild requirements. In the intervening period of time, I thought: Self, don’t be such an effing windbag. You’re getting far from the point. And that was already covered in Part One where you said to really stop and think about all the structure a potential GM might want in their guild.

So, we’re not going to talk about that or anything else after this topic:

Other Leadership in the Guild

Officers. Do you need them? Do you want them?

Again, this is all going to be very dependent on your personal situation. Are you envisioning a big guild with a lot of people on at all hours of the day or night? Will you have really strict rules about your bank or raiding practices? Do you just feel that there are areas of guild management that you don’t have any particular skill or inclination to handle? In short, is there any area that you think you could really use a person that you can trust to fill in some gap or perform some specific role?

If you can think of something, then congratulations, you could probably use an officer or two.

Three rules of thumb that I’ve learned over the years are these:

  1. You should be able to have a specific and measurable assignment for an officer for the officer’s position to make sense to everyone. If no one can say what that person is an officer for, then you don’t need them. They’re not doing anything to help you.
  2. Less is more. Being too top-heavy with three officers for every one guild member is senseless.
  3. The person who is an officer should be in the position because they are good at their job and active in carrying out their duties. Promoting your closest buddies just because you like them best has great potential to breed resentment among the rest of your guild. Especially if it’s very obvious that your buddy has no business being in charge of making toast, let alone leading a guild.

An officer by any other name is just as awesome

I suspect there is a certain amount of people having officers in WoW because it’s the accepted paradigm. And officers can absolutely be valuable people to have, but I don’t feel they are a formal requirement.

I’ve talked a bit elsewhere on this site about my own guild and a bit about how we function without officers. We also just got away from a brief period where we did try to have officers, only to find that it didn’t really work out for our situation.

But this is not to say that we don’t have people doing important things in the guild and helping me out in various ways. One special rank we have is Short Changers. They help me out with the bank, mostly so that people can get things out of restricted tabs even when I am not online.

But then there are the people who don’t have titles of any sort but who perform invaluable service to me every day. Some of them are obvious, like the two fine gentlemen who raid lead. But there are less obvious roles out there as well so listen closely, because this is something every GM needs and shouldn’t live without.

A GM needs someone to support them in ways that don’t have hard definitions. I’ve always had one or two of these people, sometimes with titles and sometimes without. In my former guild, I had two Co-GM’s. And they kept me on track. I filtered everything through these two guys. I valued one of them for his obstinacy in challenging me on 95% of what I came up with, playing devil’s advocate until I could defend my idea well enough that he had run out of things to object over. The other was my voice of logic, the sane and reasonable one who anchored me when a situation would have me overwhelmed and thinking with my emotions rather than my brain. They were absolute treasures.

I think every GM needs at least one person who can be their sounding board. Someone to challenge whether they are making a decision in the heat of the moment that they will probably regret or to shed an impartial light on a situation that the GM is too close to. Or maybe even, sometimes, just a person who can listen to the incoherent rantings of an overstressed mind (not that I have ever ranted or been incoherent, of course) and volley back some sympathy and suggestions on what to do.

This person or people don’t need a title, though I do think Co-GM was a good one for someone involved in such a task, but either way, if you want to be a GM, you should have one. Or many. I’m always collecting such useful people to bounce my ideas and thoughts off of, and am so very grateful to each and every one of them. Particularly the ones who aren’t even in my guild, but who want to see me and my guild succeed.

In closing

If you want to be a GM, take some time and do some solid thinking and research about what might be entailed. There are plenty of other bloggers out there who are also GM’s and many of them far more experienced and wise than I am. Vidyala, in particular, is one that springs to mind when I think of other folks I know who sometimes blog about their leadership experiences.

Ask a lot of questions to people who are already doing it. I’m not shy about sharing my mistakes. I’ve made tons and I if I can help someone else not make the same ones, then mission effing accomplished. I’ve found great support from many other people around the blogosphere and no one has ever laughed at me to my face over some of my dumber questions and notions.

Go forth with confidence! Not because you’ve read these lame-ass guides, but because if you have a passion and a drive to do a thing well, you will see success!


So you want to be a GM? (part 3 of 3) — 5 Comments

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