Guild Chat: Taking down the dominant guild leader

    
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Welcome along to Guild Chat, our comfy place for discussing all your guild dramas in a fun, frank, and empathetic way. You know the drill: Together, we’ll get to the heart of readers’ problems, helping them make the most out of their guild. Take a seat! Just pop that old suit of armour onto the floor… there you are. Now that we’re all settled, let’s have a look at this edition’s hot topic. This time, we’re going to tackle a question submitted by Samantha that asks for our help in dealing with a bad egg that’s holding her guild back. As a nice little twist, the player in question is her guild leader, and Sam’s fellow guildies are starting to feel weary with all the friction too. Read Sam’s question in full below to really get to grips with her gripe, and don’t forget to offer her a helping hand in the comments.

Hi Tina! My guild issue is pretty serious. Everyone in my guild likes each other and is close, except for my guild leader. It started off that it was only me who didn’t like the leader, because of how controlling he is, but other guild members are taking notice now too. The problem is that he needs to be involved in everything and keeps overriding everyone else and causing drama.

For an example, one of the other officers decided to run an alt character raid on Sundays when we didn’t raid on our mains. Because the officer didn’t ask the leader, the guild leader was really mad, saying that the officer had no right and that Sunday was deliberately a day of rest to stop raid fatigue. He demoted the officer and penalised everyone who signed up. Everyone else was happy with the optional Sunday, but he didn’t listen.

We don’t want to leave the guild because we have good progress, we all really get along, we don’t want to lose anyone by making our own guild, and the leader is a very strong raider. He is nice when we don’t talk to him as a leader; it’s only when he gets abusive with his authority that we have problems. Everyone is scared to tackle it in case they lose their raid spot or get kicked. We just want him to tone it down and let stuff happen if it’s what the rest of us want. Can we do anything to save our guild? Help! – Samantha / Sam

Never fear, Samantha! By the time we mull over your issue, you’ll be able to make a new man out of your guild leader and restore the balance to your guild. This is a fantastic question in that it highlights just how destructive one unchecked personality can be in a guild. I get the impression from your message that your guild is quite cohesive despite the leader’s exuberance in asserting his authority to establish his dominant position in the guild, with good progress and relationships between the players.

I just want to reassure you before I launch into potential solutions that your guild is totally salvageable, so don’t fold just yet. There are plenty of steps you can take to rein in his dominant personality type before it gets to the point that you all need to jump ship. Let’s start to unpack those options so you can determine if any of them will work for your guild leader, but first we should look at dominant personalities and how it fits your description.

Guild Chat, gorilla twoDominance, in terms of personality, is a trait that involves forceful, assertive, and confident behaviours. Dominant characters such as your guild leader can resort to intimidation or all out bullying to maintain control or get their way, which sounds just like what was happening with the demoted officer scenario you described. What I want to highlight, however, is the dominant personality type’s propensity to be helpful to the group since competency reflects on his or her usefulness to the collective.

Your guild leader sounds like an intimidating character with a knack for bluntness, which then in turn creates unnecessary conflict and drama. If he hasn’t felt some frustration himself, I’d be surprised; in his mind, however, he may perceive the problem as the fault of everyone else, and great ideas like an alt raiding group get lost in sacrifice to his ego. He won’t realise that his strong personality is at the core of each issue.

The dominant type is easy to spot, especially in this case. The need to control every scenario and assume that commanding role, combined with his gutsy decision-making and directness, paints your guild leader with all the markings of this personality. So far you’ve experienced really only the negative side of leading and raiding with a dominant personality, but I’ve a few tips up my sleeve for harnessing your guild leader’s strong personality for the benefit of the guild.

Guild Chat, ESO prying for change1. Have a frank discussion as a guild

First things first: You need to organise an opportunity to discuss your guild leader’s personality and how it is affecting your guild. If you don’t usually have regular guild meetings, the officers may want to ask him to call a special meeting to discuss the guild’s progress and perhaps look at some guild maintenance tasks too, which will allow you to then use the meeting as a platform to bring up the issue. Let the guild leader do the organising here: If the officers try to call the meeting on their own, you could be in for another tirade when the topic comes up.

Preface the discussion by recognising the work the leader puts into the guild and you’ll be on a much better footing to talk about the recent clashes. Chances are that he’ll thrive on the praise, and if you skip that step he’ll never look inwards or really hear what you have to say. Once you’ve solidified his leadership position by giving specific praise where it’s due, you can then bring up the big ol’ elephant in the room.

Keep your wording brief, direct, and specific for the best impact. Dominant personality types aren’t going to care so much for anything fluffy or vague, so my advice is to get to the point quickly. Mirroring works quite well because these strong characters tend to appreciate their own approach more than those of others, so really get on his level. A clever way to frame your unease might be to explain that your guild first and foremost needs and trusts in his leadership but that certain decisions of his make the guild a tough environment to be in and the resulting fallout needs his attention.

Guild Chat, tera guild rank king panda2. Put the guild leader on the spot for a change

Your guild leader will have been placed firmly on the spot if the guild meeting goes as I expect it will. This will work in your favour: You need him to change, and he’ll be wanting to reassert himself right about now. Listen to his take on events with empathy, asking him throughout for his solutions. Don’t back down at this point, but rather guide him into charting a new course for himself.

You may well have a leader in denial on your hands, so be prepared for this face off and keep firing off examples in your assertions. For example, if you point out that he comes across as ruthless and controlling, mention that you see that in how quickly and decisively he demoted that officer for enacting change.

Follow this up with a question to keep him looking inward, diminishing his opportunity to lash out at those who are speaking up. Something like, “We weren’t happy with that call. What else could you have done to deal with that?” will challenge him into rethinking his leadership. Dominant people want to be helpful and effective, so give him the opportunity to be just that.

Guild Chat, wildstar group3. Follow through with your new-found voice

Now that you’ve attached the reins firmly to your guild leader, it’s time to pick them up and help him drive the guild more positively. Don’t constrain him too much in the specific sense, but rather give him the broad strokes of the changes your collective would like to see made and allow him to enact it in whatever method he desires. He’s not going to change his personality, so this is going to be an ongoing dynamic.

As a collective, your guild will need to remember to mirror, deflect and challenge just as well as your dominant leader does, otherwise the benefit of your hard work will soon be lost as the balance shifts back to where it was. When he oversteps, it needs to be pointed out swiftly by everyone involved so that he doesn’t have the opportunity to walk all over a more passive guild member in his natural forcefulness. You might initially encounter resistance, sulking, or an increase in friction before things get better. Stick with it and don’t accept anything less than is fair. Keep the praise up as he finds his new path, focusing on how much more smoothly things run when he works well with the collective.

Guild Chat, happy guild4. Step up to your responsibilities too

Keep things fair on your end as he works to fix things by not referring back to historic instances of bad leadership that predate the guild meeting when he gets overzealous. Remember that the guild as a whole allowed him to run away with himself in the first place, so you need to step up to the plate here too so he gets a good chance at a fresh start. Don’t let him feel unappreciated, unsupported, or undermined; any of these feelings will challenge his dominance, and he’ll them flare up to regain that sense of control.

Offer to help with leadership tasks and readily accept the tasks he assigns if it’s reasonable to do so. Clear your decisions with him, but don’t offer it up as a question: Change all “can I?” phrasing to “I am” and you’ll have his respect. This is a good tactic because you’re not inviting debate and you’re also keeping your leader informed of your activities so he maintains a sense of order. Don’t worry about seeming bossy: He’ll soon raise his objections if he doesn’t agree with what you’re doing. Good luck!

Over to you!

Guild Chat is made all the better by the additional input provided by Massively Overpowered readers in the comments. Have you had to tackle an overly dominant leader before? How did you do it? Let Samantha and me know in the comments. As ever, drop me an email with any guild-related questions you have and they might feature in the next edition.

Thanks to Samantha for this edition’s topic!

MOP’s Tina Lauro is on-hand to deal with all of your guild-related questions, queries, and drama in Guild Chat. Whatever your guild issue, she’s sure to have a witty yet sympathetic response. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
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Gamebunny
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Gamebunny

Omedon and now the mob will die cause they were not as smart as they thought they were.

MiguelACorrea
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MiguelACorrea

Zardoz1972 It is like this very often, You want a fun loving leader that listens and has activities join a nice casual guild, you want to be top tier, deal with it, you dont get to the top with hugs and bubblegum

Equilibrium31
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Equilibrium31

Mutiny I say!  Arrr…

Drakani
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Drakani

Oh yes, I’ve had a guild leader like this. We had about 7 active members, two of whom which (including the guild leader) refused to pug. One day I joined a 25 man Vault of Archavon raid. She saw me in it, and even after I explained it was the 25-man, she raged at me for being disloyal and ‘blowing my lockout’ on a pug instead of ‘saving it for the guild’. For a 25 man raid. Which we had never done before. And had no means of doing. *Because there were 7 of us and our guild didn’t pug.* ಠ_ಠ

RagnarTheDrunk
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RagnarTheDrunk

Tina Lauro I didn’t know that they told women’s minds about mirroring. Color me impressed at your restraint! lol :)

Derping_Dave
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Derping_Dave

I think your guild leader didn’t like the officer he demoted, the unscheduled without permission alt run was just an excuse. My guess the former officer and GL have clashed before over guild runs and the GL saw this alt run as a challenge towards his leadership. The statement of people being afraid of losing their raid spots and the GL afraid of guild success without his presence speaks directly to the GL being a bad egg and needs to either needs to take a break or be broken.
I’ve played every major mmo released in the last 15 years as a “hardcore raider” in several of the most popular games. Unless your guild is going professional the whole point of playing games is to have fun. The point of a guild is to have people with similar goals a safe and fun place to interact within a game and if your fortunate a place where friendships are found that continue beyond the game.
One person should never be the key to success (or failure) in games as in real life the best teams have interchangeable positions, someone has to lead but only when others are willing to follow.

daikatan4
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daikatan4

I had the same problem in my first kinship. A group of good and same minded people, led by a strong willed Dictator. 
The kinship lost all the oldest players and ended. Most of the people left the game; some of us went to other kinships.

Gaming is supposed to be fun. We all  have daily jobs/school where we deal with difficult people: a boss, a teacher, colleagues. 
That is enough.

If you are not having fun, you must try to influence a change for the better, or just leave.

Sutter Cane
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Sutter Cane

A great leader delegates authority to management that is more talented than themselves in their area. 

A great leader facilitates.

wjowski
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wjowski

Garbage is meant to be disposed of, if you know what I mean.

Zardoz1972
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Zardoz1972

No idea what “Aryan” has to do with being an extrovert. But otherwise, by being an introvert you by nature shun the spotlight and direct action. That means you can not lead. How would you do it? Through an intermediary and behind a curtain? You break dominance by undermining power. But you have to have some type of confrontation. There is Leadership and there is Dictatorship. This is not about into vs extro. Your bringing your own issues into this.