Leadership this is a topic that has been debated poured over and analyzed since humans decided to gather together and do stuff. I am not going to attempt to boil the ocean here, but I will write a good bit on topics of purpose, people, goals, and success, while having fun along the way. In my experience these areas are the most fruitful to focus on when leading a raid.
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves." - Lao Tzu
When you sit down to plan a raid or just toss together a pick up raid a great raid leader will ask themselves, "why are we here and what is it that we aim to achieve?" The simple answer is we are here to raid this zone, beat these mobs, and get loot. But the essence underlying all these goals should be what is important to the raid leader. People play these games to have fun, pure and simple. If you were to ask me what the most important job of a raid leader is I would simply say "To safeguard the FUN." Granted, you still have to keep the force moving, maybe call some timers, and be prepared with your game plan but, If your raiders are not having fun your missing the mark and in my opinion, failing as a raid leader. The exciting challenge comes with figuring out how to do this.
Hey, guess what your leading people, all be it virtually but they are after all people on the other end of that wire and not Barbarians or Wizards. I know news flash right, this seems so elementary but, it always amazes me the number of folks that play Everquest II that seem to forget this. It is important to understand and employ a bit of the old deplomary here and there being mindful of the fact that your raiders deserve your respect until they have lost it.
The people factor permeates almost every aspect of raiding. It can effect group dynamics, preparedness, motivation, moral, and much more. It is good to know who your dealing with so you as raid leader can put the right teams together and set the proper goals to achieve success.
Goals are, in most cases simple for a raid. You need to beat that next mob in the progression and provide your raiders with the opportunity to win awesome loot. How you go about this is a topic of strategy and covered in this section off the Raiding 101 page. At a less macro level people have personal goals such as parse larger numbers, learn how to develop strategies, play a role in the raid, or garner a social outlet. These micro goals are of paramount importance to ensuring that you are providing a fun experience for your raiders. Take the time to sit and talk to your raiders over VOIP or during an instance run. Listen to what they are asking for and seek to provide them with an avenue to explore what ever aspect of raiding they fancy. It is an undeniable truth that not everyone is good at everything, so be sure to set expectations should they prove to be poor at something like, calling timers. Do not let them flounder, give them an out and let them re-evaluate whether they are still interested in what they asked for. The salient point here being, understand your your raider's goals and they will slay dragons for you literally.
Success comes into play in a few different ways. You should encourage and reward folks in your raid force that exhibit the drive to succeed, taking it upon themselves to be prepared when they login to raid. Likewise you must have a firm hand when ensuring that folks who do not choose to strive for success are being given the opportunity to change their focus. When the situation calls for it, you must be prepared to have the conversation with those folks when they are not stepping up.
We all know games are games and life is life. Life is greater than games and that is OK, but you as the sacred keeper of "The Fun" need to remember your the leader. You are the one who needs to make sure that folks who are not aligned with the goals of the raid force are handled accordingly out of respect for those folks who put in the time and effort to succeed. This is an unsavory business indeed but again your leading people and they are all different. It is perfectly OK for your raiders not to want to put out a great deal of effort but it is not ok for that lack of drive to hold back the 23 other people from their hard earned success.
The final but most important aspect of success is, you must be succeeding. No one will play on a loosing team for long. Regardless of what the details of your failures are the simple truth of it is if your not beating the content and making progress its your burden as leader to bear. There is absolutely no wiggle room here, you must build a winning team.
There are a number of other things as a raid leader to keep in your war chest many of these deal with mechanics, tactics, logistics, and strategy all these are covered in their respective articles off the Raiding 101 page. These are part of your job as the raid leader although in my opinion are the business of management not leadership.
You will need to:
Why, with all this hoop-de-lah, would any sane rational human want to undertake the endeavor of leading raids on a voluntary basis. Make no bones about it running a raiding organization is hard work. It takes lots of time and a cool head to get 23 people to voluntarily spend 15 plus hours a week getting together to fight virtual content for gear that will be useless when the next update/expansion comes. So why do it you ask, lets harken back to the original goal of the raid leader FUN.
I have heard it said a million times "it just a game" and I will say this. NO, its not just a game the game is a construct through which we garner friendship, success, and fun. So a game in the most literal sense of the word it is indeed, but there is far more to it than that. For those of us who see the reward in doing this, it all boils down to this...
It is time to raid, the team you put together rolls into a zone that is very tough to beat, ready to win. Your force has worked hard to get geared up, the strategy and tactics are as solid as your going to get. The fight begins, things are rough but your team pulls out all the trickery they have at their disposal to keep going. When that mob falls at the raids feet for the first time and the hooping in hollering in VOIP is deafening because you just won. You can sit back and smile, knowing you lead your team to their victory.
|ZAM credits Ghosts of the Jaggedpine & MMO-Strategist for the original information in this guide.|