Leadership styles

As previously discussed, a leader is necessary for a raid. Without a leader, a raid won’t exist and even if the raid exists, it won’t be really successful. The leader is in charge of the group and is responsible to set out the goals and to make sure the group will achieve these goals. Unfortunately a leader needs influence: A leadership can only exist when the members are accepting the leader.
Members like to be directed by the leader and won’t feel the burden of being responsible for the whole group. Members also likes to get some feedback from their leader to get a better feeling for their work.
The leadership can be leader-centered using only one main leader or it can be used a shared leadership with several leaders. There’re many ways to lead a group and even if every leader is different and has an individual style of leading, there’re existing four general leadership styles:

Transactional leadership: This leadership style works by pointing out the requirements to achieve a certain goal and maybe setting out some rewards by accomplishment.

Transformational leadership: This leadership style works by focusing directly on the team members. The leader influences and motivates the members in a direct and charismatic way and cares about every member in his group.

Heroic leadership: This leadership style works mainly with a leader who feels superior to his subordinates. The decisions of the leader are based on his broad knowledge. Members of his group are fearing to fail because the leader will blame them.
The heroic leadership can be seperated into two sub-categories: autocratic and coercive leadership. The autocratic leader likes to have the full control over the group. He makes decisions without asking his team members and likes to give direct orders. The coercive leader demands from his team members total engagement and the will to do everything they can to achieve a certain goal.

Post-heroic leadership: The post-heroic leader wants to share a bit of the responsibility. He likes to inspire his members to learn, to gain more knowledge and to become better in what they are doing. The leader likes to discuss solutions with his team and supports innovations.
The post-heroic leadership can be seperated into two sub-categories as well: democratic leadership and shared leadership. Democratic leadership works by discussing possible solutions and giving his members a voice in decisions. Shared leadership allows the members to engage in the tasks of the leadership.

The best leaders are able to use these four different leadership styles and to switch between them according to the specific situation they are in. Sometimes shared leadership is appropriate: It gives the group the opportunity to gather different ideas and approaches, how to solve a certain problem. The members feel integrated into the whole issue solving process and they get a better impression of the situation they’re in. The main disadvantage of this style: it’s not very direct. If a decision needs be made in a short amount of time, this style isn’t the right way to go.
Fast decisions can only be made by few or only one member. If needed, a leader should be able to decide on its own and to push through his decisions. In this case, he should switch to the heroic leadership style. As a heroic leader, all the decisions are made by himself and he can directly advise his members to do a certain action.
Unfortunately the heroic leadership has its main disadvantage by being superior to the other members. They have to accept the decisions made by the leader and have to follow his instructions, even if they’re not agreeing with them. In stressful situations this style could solve issues. Whereas using only the heroic leadership style can cause some moral and motivation problems among the members.
The leader even can’t just rely on a transactional or transformational style. The leader should take care of all his followers but also be able to set out goals and to make clear what he’s expecting from his team.

Leadership styles – Roundup

All the four leadership styles have some advantages and even some disadvantages. A good leader should always have an overview over the whole situation he’s in to have the opportunity to change his leadership style to handle the situation properly. Just keeping one leadership style can cause severe problems. At least the leader should be able to push through his decisions without ignoring the opinions of his fellow members all the time.

In general, I also like to answer user – in this case your (!) – questions. So, if you’ve a question about the whole topic of raid-management, just write me an e-mail (questions[at]learning-by-gaming.net) and I’ll do my very best to answer them.

Siewiorek, Anna; Gegenfurtner, Andreas (2010): Leading to Win: The Influence of Leadership Styles on Team Performance during a Computer Game Training, in: ICLS ’10 Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences – Volume 1, pp. 524 – 531.

Guild-management: Basics

This article is mostly based on the management features and options used in World of Warcraft, but the core concepts should be appropriate for any other guild based MMORPG.

Member: World of Warcraft offers a rank based member management. The guild master can create several ranks with different rights. It’s an important decision which rights are assigned to which rank. It’s important as well to decide how many different ranks the guild should have. Fewer ranks gives the members the feeling of being equal and reduce the impression of „important“ guildmates, who have more rights than others in some ways. On the other hand are a lot of ranks useful for a better distinction of the guild members. The final decision should reflect the general orientation of the guild.
In most cases, it comes down to this question: Are all the members equal or should some members – like raid members – have more or other rights than non-raiding members? Some of these decision are based on the decisions made in the raid-management, too. Therefore guild- and the raid-management should match the ranks in the guild with the positions in the raid.

Guild bank: World of Warcraft offers a guild bank, which allows every member to store items and gold. The main purpose of the guild bank is a general storage for the exchange of items among guildmates. The stored gold can be used for repairing or can be spend for crafting materials or something else the whole guild or the raid benefits from. The guild bank privileges can be assigned via the member ranking system as well.

Examples: A guild, which is formed around a raid, has several positions. These positions should be found in the ranking system as well. In this scenario, there should be a leader rank, an officer rank, a regular member rank, maybe a trial rank and maybe a non-raiding member rank.
The raid-leader should have all available rights. The officer rank depends on the duties assigned to this position. Should the officers be allowed to invite or remove members from the guild? World of Warcraft offers also a guild wide officer chat – should only the officers or everybody are able to read this chat? The officer chat might be used for loot distribution discussions if the raid uses a loot council.
The other ranks should be handled the same way. Think wisely about the tasks and the benefits a particular rank should have. This is mostly important by assigning the guild bank access rights. How much gold can a particular rank spend for repairing? Who is allowed to spend the gold for repairing? Who is allowed to take items from the bank?

A „fun“ guild is a little bit more open minded. The members are just playing for fun. In general, all the members are equal. A differentiation like in non-raiding and raiding personal would be disproportionate.
The only important thing for all the member is being in a guild, playing together with other people and have fun. All these member should be equal. In this case, the guild should use only one member rank and maybe an officer rank. The officer should only be used as a deputy guildmaster.
In some ways a trial rank might be appropriate, if all the other member should have a look on the new member, if he/she fits into the guild.

These are only two examples, but every guild is different. It’s important to figure out which system might work for your own guild. The examples should just be seen as some guidelines how a proper guild management can be approached.

Guild-management: Basics – Roundup

For guild master there are two main features to handle: The ranking system and the guild bank. The ranking system is used to manage the members by giving them some privileges in the guild and access to the guild bank. The guild bank is used for item and gold exchange among the guild members. The access level of the guild bank can be managed via the ranking system as well.

In general, I also like to answer user – in this case your (!) – questions. So, if you’ve a question about the whole topic of raid-management, just write me an e-mail (questions[at]learning-by-gaming.net) and I’ll do my very best to answer them.


Wohoo! Achievement unlocked: „Write 5000 words“

Next up: More reading and even more words!

Writing progress!

Writing progress!

Introduction: The need of a leader

Welcome to the third episode of my Raid-Management Guide. This time, I’ll explain why some sort of leadership and management is needed.

The last two parts were about a general overview. In these two parts, I highlighted already some indications why a leader might be appropriate in such an environment: The need of coordination and the need of management. This part will take a closer look at these two needs.

Coordination: In a raid environment, nobody is playing alone. To be successful, there is always a need for some other people, who are online the same time, who are pulling together and who are making a commitment to the same general rules.
To achieve such coordination, there’s a need of a person in charge. A leader, who can set up a raid schedule, writes out some rules and gives everyone the same goal.

It would be very difficult to create a raid without a raid schedule. If there is only one member missing, you’re probably not able to raid. Without such a schedule, nobody knows when a raid starts and ends and it wouldn’t be possible to have everybody online at the same time. A raid schedule is a great tool to get all the members in line and get them online at the exact same time. Such a schedule works a little bit like a rule or a guideline. But this rule needs to be written out by somebody.
The raid schedule is a great tool for the raid preparation as well. Most of the raids have more member than they actually need because often somebody has some more important duties to do and won’t be able to participate in a certain raid. In this case some kind of rotation is needed, so that every member in the raid gets the same amount of raiding time and the other members are able to raid even if someone is missing. To get a rotation working, there’s a need of decision making who will be benched and who will participate in the raid.
-> need of decision making and need of rules

After setting up a schedule, the next thing that is probably needed are some general rules. Without rules, everything would end in chaos. Rules are more guidelines for the members to know, what is expected from them and what they can expect from the raid. Rules can make clear how important it is to show up at raid time. They solve loot distribution issues by giving a standardised way how the loot will be distributed.
The rules should be appropriate for the desired raid environment. A „fun“ raid might have some general rules to get rid of the most common issues like the loot distribution, whereas a „hardcore“ raid might have strict rules, which are declaring what everybody has to do and how to perform.
-> need of rules

The last important thing about coordination is getting the raid to pull together. Everybody needs to know the exact strategy the group is using to kill a certain boss. At least somebody needs to decide which strategy might be appropriate and makes sure, everybody in the raid is up to it.
-> need of decision making and need of instructing

Management: As mentioned before, a raid without member won’t work. This leads to the need of some sort of human resource management. If there is a lack of a certain position (e.g. tank), than some recruitement is needed. If people don’t show up to raids, somebody is needed to get this issue „fixed“.
Generally speaking there’s a need of a person in charge who takes care of every member in the raid, keeps everybody up to the recent tactics and makes sure everybody are following the rules.
-> need of management and need of human resource management

The need of a leader – Roundup

A raid has the need of coordination and management. The coordination part can be seperated into: the need of a raid schedule, the need of rules, the need of instructing and the need of decision making. The management part is about making sure everything runs smoothly. Management includes a huge part of human resource management as well.
These two needs lead to only one thing: there’s a need of a person in charge, who does all these things. Without having one dedicated leader, it would be very difficult to keep a raid working, because the list of the needs demands a person who is in charge: a leader.

In general, I also like to answer user – in this case your (!) – questions. So, if you’ve a question about the whole topic of raid-management, just write me an e-mail (questions[at]learning-by-gaming.net) and I’ll do my very best to answer them.

The first step is done

Nothing much to say. I just decided to create my word document for my master thesis and wrote already 245 (!) words. I think, it could be quite interesting, if I’m keeping track of my writing progress. Or I just present some summarised statistics after I finished …

The beginning of my master thesis

The beginning of my master thesis