Guild Chat: Wrestling with guild permissions and controlling leaders

    
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Pull up a pew and get comfortable, dear readers: It’s time for another advice-filled installment of Guild Chat, my own little corner of Massively Overpowered in which I join forces with the MOP community in order to tackle some tough guild dilemmas. Pushy leaders, drama llamas, and raid team friction are nothing when we pull together to tackle the issue! The topic at hand this week comes from a reader called Nathaniel who is stuck between a controlling guild leader and a roster full of potential that is getting tired of being denied the perks of guild membership. Let’s see if we can’t alleviate Nate’s woes together.

For the full problem, see Nathaniel’s submission below, and don’t forget to add your two cents to the comments section.

I’ve had a problem with my guild’s leadership and permission structure for a while now, now players are getting tired of excuses and want it resolved, so I thought I’d get your advice. I don’t want to say what game I play in case my guild work out that it’s me contacting you (some of them read Massively), but in my MMO of choice guild ranks matter. We’re locked out of content because not enough people have the correct permissions to make groups for guild stuff. We don’t have guild housing yet because of it but my guild want it and will leave without it. Since I’m an officer they ask me to do these things but I can’t because of the leader. How can I talk the leader into releasing control a bit by giving me more access to this stuff? She is not online much and can’t be bothered running stuff, so I don’t see why she won’t let other people do it.

It sounds as though your guild is in quite a sticky situation, Nate, but I think I can help you navigate safely through the problem without rocking the boat too much. I don’t have much information to go on from your submission, but it sounds as though your particular guild leader uses guild ranks ineffectively, perhaps even using them to mark friends or veteran members out rather than using them for clean guild management. Without knowing what game you play, I can’t go and check out the specific access requirements you mean, so I’m going to go out on a limb and base my response around my MMO of choice, Guild Wars 2 in the hope that the conclusions I come to will be readily transferrable to your game and guild.

Understanding the basics of guild ranks

First thing’s first: Let’s look at some typical guild rank permissions that make sense for certain guild members to have access to, depending on how your guild is set up. Since you expressed an interest in guild specific content, I’m going to presume that you play a game in which guilds have missions or guild PvP that you can only run if you are a certain rank or have certain permissions. In GW2, the guild permission options are as follows:

guild permissions

 

As you can see above, the guild leader must decide which ranks have control over guild functionality, administration rights, and banking functionality. When I design ranks, I would base those permissions on the role I’ve asked the guild members of each rank to fill and whether or not those permissions are required to reasonably carry out that role. To break that down further, I expect invitees to get acquainted with other guild members and feel able to contribute where they see fit, so I might grant them permission to deposit gold and items in the guild stash. I’m not likely to grant any more permissions than that because I don’t expect anything more from invitees.

On the other hand, my officers are expected to help organise and run guild events, manage the guild if I have to be offline for extended periods of time, and distribute guild assets where necessary. It only makes sense, then, that I grant them the permissions necessary to carry out the tasks I have given them, otherwise I make them useless. In the case above, we have general officers that manage all kinds of activities, so the officers are given a very wide range of permissions that is almost equal to the leader permissions in order to fully manage the guild even in the absence of the leaders.

Rebalancing your guild ranks

guild ranks

It sounds as if your guild’s officers aren’t able to effectively carry out their duty because the permissions they have been granted don’t meet the expectations of their role in the guild. Perhaps you need to have a chat with your guild leader to remedy this, but perhaps the expectations of the main roster are too much. I don’t have the specifics about what type of guild you’re in, but there can be cases in which the guild members are not on the same wavelength as the leader when it comes to the direction the guild should take.

The best way to determine the real root of the dissatisfaction is to compare each guild rank’s permissions to the role the guild leader assigned to that rank. Can everybody contribute fully in the capacity set for them by the leader? Are all bases covered by the ranks in your guild, or are there certain roles that your guild requires that aren’t represented? If the ranks seem fine on the surface but you’re still having problems, perhaps your guild and its leader aren’t on the same page in terms of direction and the issue won’t be solved by simply adjusting permissions. If you spot a problem with people being able to fill their specific roles, however, then the guild leader needs to modify permissions.

Dealing with a controlling guild leader

guild fight

The first step to take whatever the cause of the current frustrations is to have a frank conversation with your guild leader. I can see hints in your submission that the leader may already be aware that the guild’s members aren’t happy, so I suspect you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t wish to hand over control or who has no idea that she’s hogging power in the first place. I’ve written an entire article on this topic, but there’s specific advice that could be useful in remedying your particular issue. Firstly, remember to do your homework before you approach your guild leader. What specific content is being barred from your members, and what permissions must be changed to fix that?

Once you know precisely what you’re asking for, you need to decide what ranks require the permissions you’re asking for. It won’t help your case if you ask for the lowest ranks to have access to more than they’ll likely need for the members to fully engage with their role in the guild. If you need someone to run content, that’s more likely to be someone the leader trusts and has promoted to officer rank, for example, and those who need to grab materials for raids could be given a specific raider rank that has higher bank access permissions than other members so that she doesn’t need to open the vaults to all members. Plot it out on paper if the changes are significant or complex.

If the changes you’re suggesting are particularly drastic, you will have more success if you break it down into steps. Determine what permissions or rank changes are most pressing and make your case. If all else fails, change up your tactic and tell the guild leader that she’ll have happier members if she either adapts to demand in the way you’re suggesting or runs the content herself. Leaders have all permissions checked as default, of course, so you can always tell her to step up to demand if she’s still unwilling to share the “power”. She might be unaware that she can share the responsibility, especially if she’s never entrusted her officers with much before, so show her that you’re proactive and willing to do the legwork and she could surprise you.

Over to you!

I really hope that breaking down the specifics and doing the legwork for your guild leader will change your experience and will enable you to fill your role more effectively, Nate! What do you think, readers? How would you tackle a guild that’s lacking structure? Do you have anything to add to my to-do list, or an entirely different approach to suggest? Add your ideas to the comments below to help Nathaniel with his dilemma.

Thanks to Nate for his submission! Don’t forget to send in your guild dilemmas for future editions of Guild Chat.

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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BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

Tina Lauro BritoBruno Shadowpeixera.2918
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Polyanna
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Polyanna

You always have the option of simply forming a new guild yourself and inviting everyone who wants to defect. It’s not the nicest option, but where the guild leader is AFK and won’t let go, it may be the least worst thing you can do and still keep people more or less together.

If Nathaniel’s question is about GW2 in particular, at least the game makes this a very easy thing to do, since you now can freely multi-guild and anyone can start a new guild on a moment’s notice for 1 gold. If the old guild does not have a guild hall yet, then at least the sunk cost in upgrades is relatively minimal at this point, so people may more easily accept that the only viable solution is to move on to a new guild with saner rules.

Tina Lauro
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Tina Lauro

Peregrine_Falcon Tina Lauro Estranged  Well, leaving is the only route if a frank discussion doesn’t help matters, but I wouldn’t jump to it without at least trying to improve my current guild first. I guess I get comfortable in my guilds and don’t like to up sticks without a fight ^.^

joshua12jd
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joshua12jd

I think this is a point that most guilds get to. When one leader gets comfortable with their role, they also dont understand that if life or personal reasons dont allow them to play much, then they should hand over the leadership to those who are around more and willing to put in the work to let the guild thrive and grow.
Guild leadership is about service to those under you and control is needed only to keep things “fair” for the majority. 
I would suggest talking to your guild leader and “BOLDLY” standing up for the membership base. Because you are also in leadership you are a defacto representation of those members as well. 
If the guild leader is unwilling to supply the members with what they desire in the guild, then honestly, speaking truthfully (been playing games for 15+ years) you will lose those members. 
So you have two choices, stay and fight it out and try to reason with the current guild leader. Possibly create a guild meeting where the leader must let the members speak openly.
But if the leader wont change, either decide to stay or leave with those who share a common goal and try to make something new.
Just remember, guild leaders are there to service and provide for those under them, it comes with the mantle of leadership. Otherwise, its just a hobby for the person in leadership and that does a disservice to those involved.

alexjwillis
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alexjwillis

Thankfully, I’ve found GW2 to be pretty friendly for issues around permissions, and the multiple-guild-representation options really make for a stress-free environment when it comes to getting away from your frustrations. (The less said about exclusive-representation guilds, the better.)
But I don’t think ANYTHING comes close to the frustrations of working under a paranoid or reluctant EVE Online CEO. Can’t open any containers, can’t use stations, can’t buy anything on market with corp dollars, can’t research…etc.

Craywulf
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Craywulf

Grouping trumps guilds, especially if it’s a regular group. Some guilds get too big for their britches and lose focus. If you’re being denied basic guild functionalities then you’re not really in the guild, you’re just bystander or cheerleader. So I agree with Estranged, focus on having fun by playing with a group that respects the guild for what it is. A guild is not indentured slavery. A real guild is about sharing the love for the game and helping each other succeed.

Radfist
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Radfist

There are always issues handing over guild leadership.  If you want to be the leader, start your own guild and invite all those friends and guildies that you know are currently disgruntled.  If you are talking about GW2 (which you seem to be based on the points raised) you don’t even need to leave your current guild to do this.

Estranged
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Estranged

schlag sweetleaf Hey, if the GM is Picard, no such problems!

Estranged
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Estranged

Peregrine_Falcon Tina Lauro Estranged Yes, to address both of you:

Addition by attrition works sometimes.  The ones that are OK with letting an absentee Guild Leader control their fun need to stick with that person and let the go getters get going.  

Yeah, it may have something to do with being a man.  I have no patience for drama.  Give me a small group that has a like mindset.  That mindset could be to just have fun with no schedules.  Could be to have static raid times with backup slots.  I like one raid leader that is able to be a strong manager during said raid and can take off that hat afterwards and relax.

schlag sweetleaf
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schlag sweetleaf