One of the things that has always really impressed me about WoW is how it can bring out extraordinary leadership abilities in people. Having to coordinate anywhere from 10 to 40 people with their different schedules, raid wants, and personalities is a tough job, yet the leaders in my regular raids handle it all with aplomb and have taught me (or in some cases, confirmed what I’ve already discovered/suspected) a few valuable lessons along the way:
- Always keep a good sense of humor. Things are going to go wrong. A lot. People aren’t always going to do what you expect or need or want them to do. Neither are bosses. Keeping a sense of humor and remembering why we’re here – to have fun while accomplishing specific goals – can make the difference between an upbeat run and a slog you will spend the rest of the week trying to forget. It can also relax raid members so they can focus on their job instead of worrying about drama and tension.
- Yelling accusations in vent or on raid chat doesn’t help anyone – it just makes people think you’re kind of a jerk. The raid leaders I’ve worked with have (almost) always kept it together, even when they’re really, really frustrated. The few times I’ve heard angry accusations flung around (more likely by a raid member), it’s never improved raid performance at all. In fact, it generally results in unhappy raid members and insecurity in the one being accused, which leads to a poor follow-up performance.
- Remember that we’re in this together. No one can kill Yogg-Saron by themselves (unless they were this guy) – it takes a team of people all working together and doing their part. Each raid member contributes to the whole, and the raid leaders I follow always acknowledge this by thanking and congratulating the group for our achievements. (Likewise, raid members need to return the favor and thank their leader both by words and actions – being on time, fully prepared, and ready to roll!)
- Life isn’t always fair, but we should do our part to try to make it as fair as possible (subtitled: “Don’t be a sore loser!”). Having a fair loot system that everyone agrees to which also makes sure that everyone who participates has a shot at something is important. Knowing when to roll on items – yes, the spellpower and spirit are amazing, but no, trees don’t need hit rating…don’t roll! – and honestly congratulating those who beat you when you do roll on items reduces resentfulness, encourages team spirit, etc, etc.
- Tomorrow is another day. This fight is not our last chance to win, to accomplish our goals. This is not our last opportunity for amazing loot or the last chance to kill Kologarn. There will be other raids. Having a bad day? We all have bad days. Sometimes coordination just doesn’t work out. Sometimes fights just don’t seem to click. Sometimes it takes four wipes to kill a guy you one-shot the week before. There are tons of variables to each raid (many of them things most raiders will never know about) starting with the raid leader but ending with each one of their raid members. Be patient and remember that we are all working toward a common goal and even if we don’t achieve the fullness of it we hoped for today, we can try again tomorrow. (Or next week.)
While I was aware of many of these lessons before I started playing WoW and raiding, it’s encouraging and gratifying to see them amplified every week in the group-wide efforts our raids undertake. What have you learned as a raid member or leader that has proven valuable to you inside and outside of WoW?