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Posts & articles that have helped thousands build performance through pragmatic leadership.

4 Important Leadership Lessons From World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft (WoW) is a computer game that allows players to band together to complete missions and defeat shared enemies.

Groups of players, or guilds, operate within a semi-rigid hierarchy. There’s a leader who makes strategic calls, there’s a warrior whose responsible for winning hard fights, a healer who ensures everyone is alive, and so on.

Frequently guild members get together and organize raiding parties. It’s dangerous work,  but it pays great dividends. Successful raids equal more experience, loot, and weapons upgrades.

However, getting raids right is something WoW guild leaders have a hard time doing. There’s not only complex strategy to consider, but the varied skills and personalities of other people in the guild.

I’ve never played WoW before and I only know this much because of Jocelyn’s interesting and well-written  blog entitled: Effective Habits of World Class Guilds. In her blog she proposes four key things every guild leader should remember when they want to conduct successful raids.

I’d argue that her four rules would help leaders in all industries.

I didn’t understand a lot of the WoW lingo, but I did understand the underlying leadership lessons.

Below, I’ve done my best to translate Jocelyn’s four Wow guild leadership rules into language non-gamers can understand.

1. Do Your Homework & Predict Problems

Jocelyn has done her homework and she realizes that a lot of raids don’t do well because certain players don’t attack effectively. I won’t get into her explanation, but she states emphatically that “raid leaders should request” that certain team members be wary of common problems and be positioned to cut them off before they ruin the whole raid.

All leaders should have team members briefed of potential problems and should plan accordingly.

2. Keep it Simple, Without the Ego

In a raid you can use symbols, flares, or markers to indicate your progression and your actions. A lot of guild leaders and members don’t deign to use them because doing so make them look an amateur player. Not so, Jocelyn argues. Markers are key to keeping a guild organized and guild leaders shouldn’t be egotistical and avoid them because they may be perceived as a “crutch.”

Leaders need to put ego aside and pursue simple strategies that work. Just because something is complicated, doesn’t mean it’s better.

3. Don’t Rely on Talented Rookies

Guild leaders, Jocelyn maintains, shouldn’t ever put a new guild member into the center of the action. Even if the new guild member is talented, putting them in “the most critical” spot in the game can ruin a raid. People, even talented players, can make mistakes. New members need to train before they can take on key roles in important raids.

Leaders shouldn’t assume new hires can be instant saviors. They need time to learn how to work with everyone–no matter how talented they are.

4. Be Brave & Don’t Apologize

Guild leaders have to organize a group of people online for long periods of time. This can be complicated, especially as some people have errands, jobs, etc. Jocelyn argues that guild leaders should give breaks–but be very clear as to when they are. Next, she says guild leaders should cut people who can only take part in half of a raid. She says it’s difficult because it steps on people’s feelings, but it’s necessary to keep the guild focused and punctual. This is important because a punctual, tightly-run, guild will attract new and stronger players who are mature.

Leaders have to make tough calls if they want to get something done. It’s hard to herd cats, but by setting a clear schedule and sticking to it ensures that good work will get done.



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