My Ideal Guild Officer

I went to respond to Alas’s post and I realized I was going to go off on my own long-ass tangent about generalities and shit that pisses me off, so I decided to post it here.  What I THINK a guild officer should be.

1. Officers need to be motivated by the desire to help others, not themselves.  You should not become an officer because you will be able to get guild invites without that annoying wait or because you won’t have to ask others for guild bank access.  You should not offer to be a raid leading officer to ensure your raid spot.  You should not become an officer because there’s a policy that you personally hate and you want to campaign to change it.  It’s not about you.

2. Officership is a job, not a perk. It’s not an honor bestowed on you because you’ve been there a long time or because of your good looks and charm. It’s not recognition of your awesomeness.  It is definitely not a reward.  It’s a JOB. That doesn’t mean all your game time should be eaten by officery crap. But it does mean that a certain portion of your game time will be.

3. Officers need to be online often. Even in a casual guild. If you can’t do that… it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or that your opinion matters less than everyone else’s. It just means that you shouldn’t be an officer.

4. Officership should not be 4 lyfe. We get into the trap that officers serve until they decide not to. Because of this, there’s no regular reevaluation of whether they want to continue being officers. In a democracy, a politician comes up for reelection and has to decide whether he or she really wants to continue. It’s better to have reevaluation at a designated point than for an officer to continue until he or she is totally burnt out.

5. Officers need to lead by example, and then some. If you step out of line even a little, everyone is going to think it’s ok. If the guild rules say “show up to a raid 10 minutes early”, you need to show up 15 minutes early. Don’t be the guy missing a flask or an enchant.

6. Officers should identify and, if possible, fix problems. If you don’t like something, if you think it’s wrong, weigh in. In a previous guild, I found an officer had applied to another guild and stated as a reason for wanting a change the failing raiding program of the current guild. The officer had never mentioned the raiding program to the other officers or the GM. There’s no excuse for QQing about policies that you don’t even attempt to change when you, as an officer, do have the power to change them.

7. Officers need to abide by guild decisions, even if they don’t agree. You wanted to do free rolls but the GM and other officers decided on suicide kings.  It’s ok to say that you disagree with the decision, even publicly.  It’s not ok to run your raids as free rolls. You need to abide by the decision that the guild leadership made.

Comments

My Ideal Guild Officer — 30 Comments

  1. Some people need this stickied to their monitor. I had a couple of officers in previous guilds who ticked every box of how NOT to behave… glad I’m not there anymore! It took a while, but I realized that whoever said that too many cooks spoil the broth was very right. Too many officers is usually a sign that some of them don’t do anything (except maybe stir shit up).

    • I think “too many officers” is a problem in a lot of guilds. There just isn’t enough work for them to do, so they lounge around and see officership as a status symbol. I’m not sure what the perfect “ratio” is between officers and members. Ideally you need adequate officer coverage so all the stuff gets done and there’s no burnout… but not so many that it becomes topheavy.

  2. I am so, so glad that you posted this!

    A couple of things that I personally related to or see a bit differently (though in a positive way).

    Regarding #3, I actually feel sort of the opposite, at least in regards to the GM. To me, the sign of a great guild is knowing that you do not have to be there to monitor it and babysit your members at all time. I was in a guild where my GM lived in Japan, for work and he was known for taking an entire weekend off – that’s Saturday and Sunday. The guild didn’t implode or fall apart. The officers had a fairly regular presence during that time and we were all OK.

    I would be more worried if the officers (some of them) or the GM couldn’t afford to leave, because everything would crumble in their absence. That would have to be mighty stressful for them.

    I particularly related to #4 and #5, as I have seen situations where both took place. If you have officers not showing up for raids or performing poorly when they do, they are setting an example that you too can not show up regularly and give it your worst when you do and all is right in the world. And by performing I don’t mean topping meters and such. I mean doing the right things. Having the right enchants/gems, not standing in stuff, knowing the encounters. If I have to do it, that means they should, too. Nothing is more of a slap in the face than seeing that is not the case.

    Even worse is when the GM refuses to do anything about it. I think that’s terrible for morale to see such poor performers and poor examples held up to an officer position. I think GMs should also realize that these people can be replaced and often times by eager guildies willing to do the job.

    Again – great post and thanks for writing it up! :)

    • I agree that delegation is hugely important. That the GM should be able to take a week or weekend off and things don’t fall off the rails. However, if you have someone with a severely constrained play schedule, like under 5 hours a week, that person probably should not be an officer. (Or, I should add, could be an officer in charge of the website, for which in-game presence is not needed.)

  3. That’s so accurate. I’m essentially #2 in our guild, I handle guild relations and keep an eye out to make sure if there’s something going on, we can be productive about fixing it.

    So many people don’t realize (or care) that there is a good amount of commitment to being an officer.

    I work my butt off behind the scenes, and on raid. I honestly feel I get people to listen when I need to take them aside, as they can see I’m working hard to help us all out.

    Do I get sick of it at times? Hell yes. Do I feel pride when I can help someone struggling to turn it around and be able to contribute, and enjoy raiding? That’s a big hell yes.

    My GM said to me last night that he would be screwed without my help. That was such a nice compliment… my feeling is I’m just doing my job. :)

    • That’s great that you can do so much without being the actual GM. The key to avoiding burnout is to try as much as possible to distribute the workload evenly so that everyone has a job, but nobody feels overwhelmed. And yes, it is a TON of work.

  4. Well, that was one reason I started helping; he was getting burned out. We are good about delegation and he’s always willing to listen to suggestions.

  5. Re: #2, I was once in a guild where the officers did nothing (intentionally) and wannabe officers did all the normal officer stuff (raid leading, website, bank management) because they were hoping their efforts would get them a spot as a kick-back-relax-officer. And more often than not it did. It was SO backwards. Before I left there were more officers than members, which was entirely ridiculous.

    I do agree with your #5, although I think it should be taken with a grain of salt, your officers are still people. Every so often they are still going to come home from work with a splitting headache and send their flasks to their bank alt instead of their raiding main and not realize it until first pull. :P Those things shouldn’t disqualify you from officership unless they’re you’re MO more often than not. A simple, “Oh crap, guys, I mailed my flasks to my alt instead of my main! I’m sorry I was so unprepared, it won’t happen again.” is also being a good example. Raiders ought to know they can mess up sometimes and the sky won’t fall, so it’s safe to just *admit* the mistake and move on sans crazy excuses and blame.

    • Oh yeah. Officers are human. But I’ve seen officers be in INSTANCES at raid time and casually say “oh yeah, hang on, 5 mins” and then want a summon after raid start time. Well… guess who was doing that same crap the next week? Everyone else.

  6. On the “job” part, I see it more like volunteering. If you don’t LIKE to do the work, and just see it as a job you’re not getting paid for, you’ll get really miserable really fast. It’s like volunteering: getting involved with something you really enjoy and doing with a great team are the whole point of doing it.

    And on the status thing, I know what you mean, but as someone who has become my guild’s logistics officer (and sometimes guild mom) while not being an officer (only raid/BG/role leaders get real officer status) or as someone who was once the unofficial 2nd in command in a guild, I can testify that doing the work without the status becomes very draining. You have to jump through hoops to get anything done, no one knows you’re the logistics person, so they always go through another officer and messages get messed up, you witness everything but need to ask permission to give any input and so on. You basically end up feeling like cheap labor.

    • You absolutely need the authority to go with the job. The two go hand in hand – they HAVE to go hand-in-hand. I agree that it is incredibly difficult to get stuff done without the support structure and power of actually BEING an officer. If you are an officer, you can’t sit around and NOT do a job, but if you are not an officer it is equally difficult to try to do an officer’s job.

      I’ve done the cheap labor thing. It sucks. And then, when something in your realm of responsibility comes along and the officers whisk it away and declare it to be a decision for the officers to which you are not privy – it makes you want to slap someone.

      • I think sometimes not having the authority is a problem in that often you don’t need the authority and it’s just a mental stumbling block put in place by jobsworths. I was more or less an officer long before I took up the post and was able to get things done because I’m quite naturally bossy and loud. Then again our officers at the time were quite relaxed and willing to put up with the harassment in exchange for not having to deal with organisation.

        Perhaps Ophelie would have found less trouble had she not been as humble…

        • Eh, it works for a few months when I just do tidbits here and there, but whenever I get continuously involved in a guild and feel looked down upon by the other officers, or treated like cheap labor, I just get burned out and have to leave.

        • Eh, it works for a few months when I just do tidbits here and there, but whenever I get continuously involved in a guild and feel looked down upon by the other officers, or treated like cheap labor instead of a teamate, I just get burned out and have to leave.

  7. I still disagree with you and ATT on #4. Evaluation should be constant for all membership levels, but I believe that there is too much chance for someone who makes large contributions in quiet ways to be overlooked and end up being voted out of a leadership position when those evaluations are linked to a general referrendum.

    And as for burnout – this shouldn’t be an issue if you have an effective officer team. That officer should be adult enough to say hey, I’m getting burned out and need a break and the others should then be willing to pick up the slack until they are either reenergized, or until that person realizes that it isn’t going to come back and step down on their own. Then again maybe that’s just me giving people too much credit for maturity…

    • See, I think something has to “happen” for a person to say “you know, I want to step down.” However, if the person has to “reapply”, it makes him say to himself “do I want to still do this, or do I want to quit?” Basically making continuing service an affirmative choice rather than retirement the affirmative choice.

      • I can understand that, but my concern is when you have someone like officer Bob, who has very limited game time, but does alot of out of game work, like maybe a liason with other allied guilds and also website maintainence. Vital functions, but ones that go almost completely unnoticed by the rank and file, so when the time comes for that reaffirmation the masses are unlikely to reaffirm Bob because they don’t see all the work he is doing. So then Bob is upset because all the work he did was not appreciated and the work he was doing now won’t be done as well, at least not initially, while it’s being transitioned to others.

        • But I’ve also seen it where some officers become inactive without notice and then all the decision-making bogs down because we were waiting for a consensus that couldn’t be reached due to people being unavailable.

          imo the responsible thing to do is let everyone know you can’t be available for a bit and accept that stuff is going to go on without you.

  8. Well said! Too often you see people who get the “officer” tag and think they’re shit no longer stinks because they can see the ochat now. In reality, being an officer is certainly work…but it can be rewarding IF YOU ENJOY IT. Some people are meant to be officers and some people are just meant to be awesome guild members. It’s up to you and the GM/leaders to determine which category you fall into.

  9. I almost agree with everything you said in the main post. Almost.

    I agree that being an officer is not about you. It’s about the guild. If your being an officer does not halp the guild in some way, then you should not be an officer.

    I agree that being an officer is “like” a job. It’s not actually a job, but it’s like a job. It is not a perk. It is not a guaranteed raid spot. It is not a title to flaunt in front of your friends. It’s a responsibility and it should be taken seriously.

    I do not agree that officers need to be online often. I agree that SOME officers need to be online often. I agree that being online to help sort out issues and to answer questions and to invite that alt is important. I agree that there should almost always be someone online with an Officer title. I do not believe that each and every officer should be online at all times. Though, each and every guild is different, and some guilds could use their officers being around more often. those are probably guilds which I would not want to be a part of.

    I agree that officership is not for life. If an officer stops helping. If an officer stops acting like an officer it is very smart for the other officers to look at the situation and make a change. Whether it’s a change in personal life, or a change in guild policy which has caused the change in officer behavior. The remaining officers should look at the situation and either fix the issue, or remove the failing officer.

    Officers definitely need to lead by example. Looking back at my comment on not always being around. An officer who is not around all the time should NOT be given a raid spot over a member who is around all the time. Simple.

    Officers need to identify the problems and deal with them, I agree with this. hen the officers or any single officer stops doing this, there needs to be a change. Becoming complacent is bad. Guild situations are constantly changing and the officers need to adapt and react. When they stop doing this, guilds explode.

    Your # 7 is My #1. Officers need ti abide by Guild policy even when they do not agree. This was Rule #1 in my first “real” guild, and we lived by it. The officers need to show a unified front to the guild membership. If there is dissent in the officer ranks, there will be dissent in the guild membership. Guild members will not respect an officer corps which cannot agree with itself.

  10. This is one of them posts I’ve been wanting to do forever because some officers clearly don’t know what they’re doing in that position. And neither do I. But you basically wrapped up my thoughts here. I especially agree with… aw heck I especially agree with them all. I’ve had officers, plenty of them, who don’t do anything except assume that they’re special. I usually don’t mind officers getting extra goodies like special loot (fun stuff from lk chest comes to mind) or guild repairs or whatnot, because some officers actually bust their ass fixing the forums, guild bank, whiny guild members and whatnot. And then you always have a couple who are there mostly because they seem to know the guild leader, have no idea whatsoever and never lift a finger for anyone. Ok, I am trailing off into a nerdrage here so I’ll just leave it at this ;)

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  12. Another excellent post XD

    I think points 4,5 and 6 are definitely things that get overlooked often. Especially point 4, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a guild in my (admittedly short) experience that regularly re-evaluated officers – with the exception of my current guild but only in so far as class leaders I think, usually done each major content patch.

    It’s times like this when I am very very greatful for my guild; many people think it has some harsh rules for a sort of casual but not really casual progression guild – rules that have kept me out of raiding for the last year cos of interwebz instability – but I wouldn’t change them. They have kept many a drama king/queen out and kept all our guildies very very happy and it’s all down to the enormous amount of effort put in by our officer corps.

    • What I meant for reevaluation is not that the GM or powers that be would evaluate the officer’s performance in a FORMAL way, but more like a self-evaluation by the officer, and that the officer would have to make an affirmative choice to “reenroll” in the officer corps. It’s the difference between a service that bills your credit card every month without you ever seeing it versus having to write a check every 6 months and thinking long and hard whether you want to write that check.

  13. I agree with your points and also some of what’s been elaborated on by other commenters. I think a big part of guild-leading is to know where you end and the guild needs to begin – knowing your boundaries is just as important as being active and dedicated within your role. I’ve always reminded my fellow officers that we are not babysitters – if you’re too good in your role, you allow people to become lazy and that’s never good in the long run.

    what i would stress in your list is that a good officer knows how to compromise and choose the lesser of two evils. many times the choices before you aren’t ideal.
    connected to that is the willingness to put yourself on line and be ‘unpopular’ if need be or do the jobs nobody likes to do (like removing a member or trialist).

    and another important point for me is that officers need to be replaceable: not in the sense that they’re as ‘good as anyone’, but that they do not create a guild structure for themselves where everything falls apart without them. it’s the sort of ‘ego trip’ some leaders enjoy, but it’s no service to your guild if you hold all the strings and nothing works without you. good guilds are never about 1 person alone. :)

  14. Interesting post and one that’s giving me food for thought at a time I’m musing over the topic of officership. I’m not an officer in my guild, but the topic has been broached recently and there are some officers that favor me getting promoted. Trouble is, I’m not sure of my own mind. I hate drama SO VERY FREAKING MUCH and my friend (a higher up in the guild rankings) knows this and has advised me I’d be better off not being an officer because then I’d know what ‘goes on behind the curtain’ so to speak. But I don’t know if my friend is considering the other side of it: I feel I have several qualities that would go well with officership such as maturity, a calm, cool head and being a constant Devil’s Advocate. I don’t desire the glitz and glamor that goes along with being a super special officer, but rather, I’d feel more entitled to give my opinion and try and bring problems to the officer core to fix because that’s my job, gosh golly. I’ve joked I consider myself the Guild Cheerleader, because I always try and bring the fun and positive to a raid/instance. But do I need to be an officer to do this? I don’t want to upset the status quo and I’m happy the way things are, mostly. There are enough officers right now, I don’t want to insist I get a promotion and end up just looking pretty with my shiney new title and talking in /o.

    /end ramble

    Anywho, good topic! Off to do more thinking….

  15. Some very good points, and I agree with all.

    I think in my guild there’s a certain amount of well-fare officers that were just given the title because they’d “been in the guild for a long time”. To me, that’s not what an officer should be. That’s what you’d have a special Senior Member rank or similar for.. you don’t make them an officer.

    We have officers who have the title, but no responsibilities.

    I tried gently suggesting to our GM that maybe we should give every officer some responsibilities.. he sort of laughed at me and said “I don’t think they want any”.. which kind of has me fuming, cause if they don’t – they shouldn’t be officers.

    But I’m ranting.. long story short – awesome post and I wish I could rub my GM’s nose in it.. or less aggressively said; I really agree :)

  16. Agreed. Though I would disagree mildly for #7 if it’s not an “official” (as it were) guild run. If an officer decides to put together a raid group who’ll run an older instance that the guild isn’t running officially any more (or, in the past, putting together a 10-man for the instance your 25-man guild runs, just for more achis/rep/gear/wtf-ever), the officer should get to decide how things will work. I mean, I’m not an officer, but if I were to put together my own raid group raiding something that our guild hasn’t reserved the lockout for, I would not do rolls based on our guild policy, even if I WERE an officer. Our guild uses EPGP for loot rolls. That’s the policy. My personal policy, at least with my guildies, is to ask who it’d be an upgrade for, and have those people roll.

    I mean, that’s just one little aspect, but in my opinion, a personal run is different than an official guild run, and whoever organized the run should be allowed to say “we’re having free roll” or “I’m going to be loot master and give stuff to the people for whom it’s the biggest upgrade” or whatever. Since it IS a personal run, people can say “oh, well, never mind then” and leave without fear of it affecting their guild raiding position.

    • Well, I think officers have to be very careful about organizing unofficial runs and be very very clear with everyone that that is what they’re doing. Otherwise it just leads to loot drama and heartache.

      • I agree – unofficial runs can turn “elitist” and create a subclique within your guild if they are longstanding and exclusive.