Saturday, January 17, 2009

Raid leading

Many people who do not work in a management position think that being a manager is a great job: You get to order people around to do all the work you don't want to, and on top of that you get paid better. In reality simple economics tell you that companies wouldn't pay somebody more money, if they didn't expect him to do something not everybody can do well. Management is hard. And being a raid leader is a management position.

I was reminded of how hard raid leading is last night, where we had the usual chaos setting up the second raid night of the week. Some people have IDs, but not everybody who was present during the last raid turns up for the next, and you don't necessarily have exactly the right number and best class composition available to get everyone into a raid. Last night was especially bad, how do you raid with 18 people? And the raid leader trying to sort through this apparently was bombarded by some of the less mature guild members with various requests, like some guy not wanting to raid with a specific other person, or similar nonsense. And at some point he just cracked, threw in the towel, and left the raid. We still managed to get the raid together, and even did the guild's first Sapphiron kill, but the mood was definitely strained. Although I was more lucky with loot this time, and got the token for the T7 chest, I found the raid less pleasant than the previous one, where we all were just having fun and didn't get any epics.

You need quite a thick skin to be a raid leader or manager, and there are lots of soft skills involved getting it right. You *can* manage a herd of unfocused individuals into a focused raid, but it isn't easy. As I do manage people at work, I got a bunch of training courses, and read lots of books; all of which helps, but in the end one needs some natural leadership as well. A typical raid leader might or might not have the natural leadership, he probably didn't get any training to do the job right, and he usually isn't even paid for the work he does. Rather lousy job, if you ask me. So here I'm shouting out a special thanks to all raid leaders out there, who are doing their best to handle lots of difficult situations to get their guilds to advance through the raid content and make everyone happy. It isn't easy, and your hard work is appreciated, even if you probably don't receive enough thanks for it.

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