- Qualities and Skillset of a Leader
- Being Prepared
- Managing Expectations
- Analyzing the Outcome
- Fixing Problems
- Learning Lessons
Qualities and Skillset of a Leader
The two most important qualities a Leader should have are
To be a quality leader you must display confidence in your abilties. Confidence, but not cockyness. You have to go into whatever you are planning to do with the confidence that you can and will complete it. Be able to reinforce the idea to others and make them also believe that you all will be successful. Going in with this attitude will be the first and largest step to completing your goal.
You also must have the patience to deal with defeat. Star Wars is a MMORPG, and because of that there are a very wide range of different quality players. You will have people on your team that are phenomenal, and you will have some people that will make you wonder how they even logged into the game. A decent leader will be able to recognize these different players and corral the better players for a successful run. A good leader will be able to instruct well enough to get the better players to make up for the difficiencies of the lesser players. And a great leader will have the patience and skill to turn those dribbling mouth breathers into fire breathing beings of destruction.
If you take the initiative to start a group to see through the end of whatever you set out to do, then you should be prepared and know what you are getting into. The people you recruit to do a Flashpoint, Operation or Warzone will expect you to know everything. They will expect you to tell them exactly what to do and when to do it. Great Leaders will do their research before hand, read guides, watch videos, and know the mechanics of fights before the first pull. If you do this ahead of time, the success rate of your group will skyrocket. You will be better able to prepare your group to handle the encounter, and through their success they will build more trust in you as a leader.
Simply typing into youtube whatever you plan on doing followed by "Guide" will bring up plenty of videos for you to sort through, watch, and learn what you need to do to win. Then you must be able to regurgitate that to the people you are leading. If you are running an Eternity Vault Operation(Raid) then jump on youtube and google and type in "Eternity Vault Guide." Find out who the bosses are in the dungeon and look up more detailed guides on that specific boss.
If you prepared for the raid correctly, then managing expectations should be fairly easy for you. Reading guides and watching videos will give you a great idea on which bosses are easier and which bosses are very difficult. You should let the people you are leading know this information also so that they will not get discouraged when you wipe to the really hard boss over and over.
When going into a raid, give a brief explanation on what you expect to get done. This will set a goal for the group and will allow you to change the perception of success with the group. After doing your research you may decide that the end boss of the place may be pretty difficult, so when you start the raid if you let everyone know you expect to get to the end boss and will pull him a few times to get a feel for the encounter then the success condition changes from "Beating the dungeon" to "Getting to the last boss." This here goes a long way into keeping moral high.
Have a scheduled time-frame for what you are doing and adhere to it strictly. Noone likes to feel like they have to stay up an extra hour for "just one more pull." If you schedule an Eternity Vault Operation for 8pm-10pm EST, then be early, start on time and end promptly at 10pm. If you didn't reach your goal, then do a quick debrief and schedule another time to come in and finish.
Also make sure you set aside some time to take a break during the scheduled time. In WoW, I would lead a group in a Raid for 3 hours and half way through we would take a 10 minute break. Sometimes you may want to do an extra pull or two, or maybe take the break early, but ALWAYS enforce a break. This gives people time to get away from the computer and reset and they will come back refreshed to be able to perform better.
Analyzing the Outcome
Now here comes the true test of a great leader. Are they able to recognize both exceptional play and faults in the group? Simply reviewing what you did and comparing it to your goals is just the first step. A leader should always ask themselves "What could we have done to make that go better?" Sometimes the answer is simply more experience with the encounter. If you hit an enrage timer or had difficulty dispatching a healer then you need to figure out how to increase the groups DPS. If you had some unneccessary deaths you need to evaluate awareness and the ability of healers. Even analyze the down-time you spent between pulls, could you buff and prepare for the next attempt faster? Getting in as many quality attempts as possible is a great way to increase your success over a period of time.
Once you have analyzed the outcome, and identified what could use improvement you can begin taking steps to making changes to benefit the raid.
If someone is having difficulty performing, the best option in the long run is to help them. Teaching them to be a better performer will not only help you take steps to your goal, but will give you a loyal member that trusts you know what you are doing. It will give others the confidence that you can overcome obstacles and will be able to help them when they need it too. Instruct them on where they can find information to make them a better player, guide them while they learn, and give them encouragement when they achieve a level of good play. You should praise in public, and critisize in private. If you see someone do something exceptional, point them out and say what they did well and others will try to mimic that. If you see someone do something stupid, politely tell them their mistake in private and if they continue to fail then you can address the situation in a public manner.
Do not be afraid to bring up your concerns about a persons level of play, so long as you are willing to help them get better. Mature players will not hold anything against you, and will thank you for wanting to help them. If you are unwilling to do this, then you will not make a good leader. If you have the confidence to share your skills then people will follow you.
If someone is a continued problem because of their low performance, politely tell them that in order to keep the raid successful that you must replace them. Let them know where they can go to practice and get better, and assure them that when they do they can come back and try again.
If you have a problem player because of their attitude, and they are hostile, simply remove them from the group. There should be only one leader in a group, and if someone has a dissenting opinion and is obnoxiously voicing it then simply remove them and let them start their own group. If you have done well to build yourself as a good leader, the rest of the group will stay with you and there will be plenty of other people willing to take that persons spot.
As a leader you must know that you don't know shit. Always be hungry to learn. Always be looking for ways to improve yourself. Always listen to the people you are playing with and hear their concerns. You are not infallible, you will have failures. You must be able to learn from these failures, and understand that you learn the most through failure. Anyone that has ever succeeded in anything has failed on it many more times than they have won. Take the lessons to heart, and do your best to better your play.
Do not be afraid to ask other leaders for their opinions or how they do things. The best performers share their ideas with others in hopes others will share ideas with them. Leaders should do the same.
If you have read through this entire post, recognize that you have the ability to do whatever you want in this game. Everyone in this guild is here to help you accomplish your goals. Not everyone will always want to do what you want to, but with enough people and with good enough leaders you should be able to find something fun to do. Just be persistent but not obnoxious.