Handling Criticism as a Guild Leader

Today one of my long time guildmates sent me a whisper.  He didn’t agree with how I was recruiting for our raid groups.  He felt that the players that were in our community were not well vetted, which is true, they are not since I have the link to join posted on public forums.  I’m not looking to create an exclusive club with a whole list of criteria from the get go.  I would find myself saying no to people all day and not growing our ranks.  What if I told a player “no” based on their lack of raiding experience and they ended up being amazing?  A good resume does not mean that the player is going to be great.  People lie all the time and tell us what we want to hear.

This type of criticism is not uncommon for a guild leader.  There is always people that want to tell you how to do things.  I have one time that stood out as a clear, what not to do to keep your guild alive and healthy:

It was the first couple weeks into Wildstar.  We had started strong and were currently sitting at the #5 rank for the entire world for boss kills.  One big problem was that the #1 guild was on our same server and provided extra pressure to catch up to them and surpass them.  This was because we wanted to be the best, and so did the majority of our guild members.

There was a lot of complaining about how we needed to change and improve or people would leave.  The loudest critics came to me and said, we need to do XYZ in order to succeed.  They offered to help, so I promoted them to officers so that they would have the authority to make the changes that they wanted.  Or maybe I promoted them to shut them up, or so they wouldn’t leave.  The later two were the wrong reasons.

So the loud critics didn’t make any changes and continued to complain and now when they were complaining, they were doing so with the Officer title.  OF course maybe part of this was because they realized how much work is involved with leading a successful guild.  The continued complaining created massive problems with moral for a large chunk of our members.

It all reached a boiling point when one of our long time officers sent me a message that they were done with all the stress of trying to be a leader in the guild and that they were going to join the #1 guild in the game.  When they left, so did 30% of our members.  We were a broken group that lacked the ability to complete the content that we were clearing just the day before.  All of the venomous talk of how bad everything really got in my head and stressed me out.  I didn’t even want to play the game anymore.  This experience had sucked all of the fun right out of it for me.

Cancerous members like these may have good intentions, but when they start stirring up crap with rumors and complaining all the time, it’s time for them to go.  You may end up losing a player or two in this process but most likely your guild will remain intact.  Don’t promote your biggest critics to officers in your guild.  If they already don’t agree with you, its more likely that they’ll work against you than with you in the future.

After the experience of trying to allow people to do more and help out and having it backfire so badly, I am leaning towards trusting my gut.  I’m not going to create a perfect place for everyone, its just not possible.  Since I’m doing the bulk of the work getting this thing off the ground my instincts tell me to just keep doing what I’m doing and know that I won’t be pleasing everyone and they’ll move on to green pastures.  The goal is to create a place where I’m still having fun and not burning out form all the stress of trying to please people.

6 thoughts on “Handling Criticism as a Guild Leader

  1. Sometimes I wish people in my guild would treat this like a “job” and me like their “boss” but I’m not paying them so I guess I can’t really fire anybody 😀 I know all suggestions are meant with good intentions but they don’t see the whole picture like I do. Thanks for stopping by Alli

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  2. In my 5,6? Years as a guild leader, well looking back I always seemed to find myself running things. So 9 years. I have had many what the actual….. moments. I’ve seen children behave more maturely than adults. I’ve seen guilds fall apart, watched the good and the bad. And now? It still bothers me at times, but I don’t lose sleep over it any more. It’s not worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m trying to keep things in perspective and remember what the past has taught me. Above all I’m making sure that I balance the leadership stuff with having fun in the game. It may sound selfish but burnout has been my biggest enemy in the past.

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  3. It is such a tough balance to maintain as a guild leader of a raiding guild. I used to be a guild reader of a social guild, and where that is not easy either, taking that step and making it into a raiding guild is a whole other aspect of the game. Often, mixing those two is incredibly hard to master.

    Few realize the work a guild leader and officers are doing to keep a guild alive, until they try it themselves.

    I always live by the, if you want to hand out critisism, be constructive, and always, always have ideas for improvement then. It is so easy to just say all things wrong with something. It’s another to look for ways to improve and how to get there.

    Off-topic and sorry I could not let this one go, it is quite unlike me, but; I truly dislike the word “Cancerous”, when used like this 😦 Though I totally understand what you mean with the description, that they are more or less descructive to have inside your guild (Sorry my main language is not English)

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    1. I’ve only really lead guilds that raid and most of the time only been a member of guilds that raid. If we weren’t raiding we would be playing in a small group perhaps in the same guild, more often or not we would be in separate guilds.

      Leading a guild is a lot of work, but I find it rewarding. Thanks for sharing your perspective it’s great to know how others have functioned. It’s crazy, but I haven’t really talked to a whole lot of other guild leaders about this type of stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

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