Recently two blog posts caught my eye: Matticus' A Night in the Life of a GM, and his inspiration, Aunaka's post, What a Raid Leader's Day Looks Like, Now, I am sitting here actually hesitating at my keyboard because I am afraid I am not going to strike the right tone. Last year when there was a leadership crisis/vacuum at my place of employment, one of my beloved colleagues was describing a world by which we don't have ineffectual bosses, but true leaders. Currently at work, I think I have a boss, not a leader, yet. Bosses are under a lot of pressure, and use any tool they have to get their employees to do more, more, more. This has never been truer in the workplace--do less with more, and smile about it. So when you leave behind the workaday world, and log onto some nice, satisfying play time, what does motivate all sides of a team to work together?
Okay -- before I go on: the position of a large guild as Guild Masters and Officers is a thankless job. It's lonely at the top. I get it. I've been in positions of leadership before, paid with love, stale coffee and Hershey bars, and not much else. Guild Masters' currency is as varied as the motivations for becoming a GM, I am sure, ranging from fair-trade professional skills to world-wide renown, fame, glory and whatnot.
But good leadership, solid leadership, isn't just about longevity or boss kills. I look at Navi's posts on her raiding experiences and guild, and see a fun, close group. I suspect, and I know this is where folks will disagree with me, that who I am in real life hurts me. (Cross-dressing rogue agrees with me, and told me never to tell anyone who or what I am.) Most folks want a single or childless player, one who's been playing since the beginning. In other words, no one wants to play with a 'mom' type. Hell, most of you don't want her as your Facebook friend, so why would you play with her? And like any social structure, there are unspoken rules, and once again, these rules spring like a bear trap on unsuspecting paws and tails.
Off to the 'net to see what others have to say about the qualities of a leader:
“The boss drives group members; the leader coaches them.
The boss depends upon authority; the leader on good will.
The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.
The boss says ‘I’; the leader says ‘we.’
The boss assigns the task, the leader sets the pace.
The boss says, ‘Get there on time’; the leader gets there ahead of time.
The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.
The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.
The boss makes work a drudgery; the leader makes it a game.
The boss says, ‘Go’; the leader says, ‘Let’s go.’“
– Author unknown
Posted on Business Balls
and this is TLDR, but caught this gem:
Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they'll be a part of it. As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization's goals, truly enjoy what they're doing and (of course) know they'll share in the rewards.
Does this mean I have a hankering to be a guild master/raid leader for a team? That old adage, if you want a job done right you have to do it yourself, eh? Well, I don't believe that. I know that many can carry the torch in a functional environment. I've seen it, and hell, even been a big part of nurturing it. I am often that voice that advocates for rational, reasonable, and logical considerations. Unfortunately, this voice comes with breasts (those do get in the way sometimes) and life experience, and when the 'man' voice says it, it gets listened to. Like I've said before, I work predominately with women, and many women do not trust others of their own gender, which is a damn shame. The point is, I wasn't trying to be the leader, just a peer. Bossy is as bossy does, I suppose.
I've said this many times: there is nothing wrong with being in a group where everyone fits in, is the same, has the same values, goals, etc. But lately I've been thinking, what would my 'club' look like? What would be my dream team?
Well, Xak was one of the best raid leaders I have encountered: calm, funny, and smart. And always respectful and appreciative. Kaylyne is a smart, funny, player, and one of those women who is inclusive and rocks the game, and is competitive enough to be fun; I wish JD and his lovely Mrs. Amateur would play MoP--their attitude about bopping in a raid and keeping it "laid back" is superlative; I wish my buddy Turk had time to put together a raid team--maybe in the future. But for now he mostly PUGs stuff, and has put his family first. Go figure. This group would include anyone who wants to check out end-game content. But many of the ones I could play with have other things to do, as do I, so I'll just have to be patient, PUG, and plant witchberry seeds.
Since my dream team is just that, a dream, one thing I will keep in mind for the future are the most important qualities of all: that clear vision and communication -- ah, that is the mana from heaven. And that is where being a GM/RL is the most thankless: how do you actually tell people bad news? How do you tell them good news? If someone tells you they misunderstood or didn't hear, do you blame or fix? Are you making assumptions, or are you treating loyal players as peers?
My new boss is someone I do have faith in. She's already shown a few times where she's refllected on some snap judgments and corrected them, or misunderstandings. These always comes from concise communication (something I can do, but always need to work on), and good listening skills--a small feedback loop of "this is what you said, and this is how we can solve it; what ideas do you have?"
And after all--it is just a game. If I actually wrote what a "day in the life" was like for me, and the people in my world, well,
I'll just keep that to myself.