A popular topic on WoW-related Twitters this week is whether it’s viable to have one person be a combination of healing and raid leader. I admit, I sort of giggled. I’m guild leader, raid leader, healing class leader (or would be if our healers weren’t all little anarchists who dislike authority — for which I love them dearly), and quite often top of the healing charts. And it’s not because I’m some kind of amazing multitasking super gamer, trust me. The keys are delegation, trust, and triage.
A couple of jobs ago a boss told me a very wise thing: don’t be afraid to hire people who are better than you. I followed that during my brief stint in middle management, and I definitely follow it with the guild. I have people who are better than me at most things — making strategies, mathcraft, creative solutions, tanking/DPSing, mods. There are folks on my team who are far more vigilant about stuff like proper flasks than I would ever think or care to be. I know my strengths, which are good people skills, good critical thinking skills, and solid attention to detail. Beyond that, why not employ people who are better than I am?
During a raid, for the most part I leave many things to their respective geniuses. Sure, I’ll go into a new boss with what I believe is the best strategy, but after those first couple of attempts, I’m quite open to input and people know it. As raid leader, a big part of my job in our guild is simply to be the critical thinker and, yes, decision maker. I sort out the ideas and details coming in from people who are more clever with strategies and observations than I am. “If we tank him to the side we’ll get fewer bots.” “The rogues are a little slow on DPS tonight.” “Elementals are easier if we tried this…” I read everything, decide if we should do it, and then lead appropriately.
That’s not to say that I don’t try to keep my head on a swivel and watch how things are playing out, but wearing so many hats means that things will run smoother if I also rely on others to help.
Which brings me to the next issue — trust. This may come as a shock, but I can be a bit of a control freak. (Ha ha ha!) One thing I have had to learn as a simultaneous guild/raid leader and healer is to trust others to help. For example, my good friend and fellow officer bugged me for months to let him handle the looting and bidding on raids. Eventually in a fit of being overwhelmed I relented, and having that extra time during loot to handle raid issues has turned out to be a huge boon. As another example, If I am particularly swamped I trust the healers to sort their crap out because they are adults and awesome players and they should know to do that.
(My guild is much like Dueg’s old one when it comes to healing assignments. Our motto is “heal things, don’t die”, and it works for this outstanding team. They are smart, funny, care very much about healing, and little wingnut individuals, each and every one of them. My only regret about all the things I do on raids is that it keeps from chatting with them more.)
Finally, triage. Don’t worry about what isn’t important. If people whisper me ideas or strategies, I very rarely ever whisper back. I just use them or don’t. Any whiners of any sort are immediately told to save it until after the raid. Any non-raid tasks are just ignored. No, I am not guilding your alt while I’m in Ulduar. Semi-important things get passed to officers to handle. And woe betide anyone who whispers me mid-raid about recruitment. We have a saying in the Cats that goes “Send ‘em to Blas or Kinch”, our two notoriously cranky officers, and mid-raid applicants go STRAIGHT to them with a vengeance.
So by working with your own strengths, and relying on others to fill in what you’re missing, it’s possible to wear many leadership hats at once and still get things done. Good luck!