Monday, November 8, 2010

Failure of Leadership

Last night, I failed as a leader.

We had a new recruit--a melee dps--who was friendly and eager to fit in with the guild.  He had been open, talkative, willing to share pictures on the guild forum, and so forth.  Perhaps he was trying a little too hard, but at least he was trying.

This weekend, he decided to post on his usually dead class section of the forum with some information on tanking.  One guild member almost immediately followed with something to the effect of "Haha, dps player teaches you to tank."  I recognized that as a juvenile response, but sometimes forums are like that, so I didn't worry about it.

What crossed the line was when that guild member and one other harrassed him about it in guild chat.  Right away, I whispered the first instigator, telling him that at least the recruit had posted, and if he wanted to teach it, he could post, himself.  He did not respond to me, although he did stop typing in chat.

Where I failed was in not calling out the harrassers publicly in guild chat.  If I had done so, the recruit would have known he was not alone, and it would have set an example for any other guild members who might feel inclined to join in the harrassment activity.  (I suspect there may have been more which I did not witness.)  The message would have been clearly sent that harrassment of other members is not tolerated in our guild.  (As we are stating in our policies.)  In trying to be sensitive to the feelings of the wrongdoer, I failed to address the needs of the harrassed.

This is something for which I should have drawn from my experience as a mother.  When one daughter gets upset at another and puts her down, especially in front of other other sisters, I do get on her case in full hearing of all, for similar reasons.  The girls need to know that denigrating a sister is not tolerated, and the sister needs to know that Mom is defending her right to be treated fairly.  (Any root issues are addressed separately.)

But recently, there was a misunderstanding in guild by which I allowed myself to be hurt and become a little gun-shy.  I was afraid of appearing over-bearing in trying to encourage members to be courteous with each other, and so I did not do as much as I was first inclined to do.  This was wrong of me.  I needed to get over it and recognize that what is right to do is right to do, no matter the reactions of other people.  (Hey, I'm a Mormon; doing what I believe is right despite the reactions of others is something I have had to live with my entire life.  You'd think I would be immune by now.)

Shortly afterward, the recruit left the guild.  While I understand the first few weeks in a guild are a trial period, intended to allow both the guild and the recruit to decide on the fitness of the match, I feel I could have done more to help this recruit integrate into the guild.  I especially regret having a recruit leave under the cloud of mistreatment from other guild members, as it is a point of pride that our guild habitually treats members with patience and courtesy.

Leaders must have the courage to stand up and be ready to take bullets, if necessary.  I did not, and there was a price paid.

To the credit of the initial instigator, he did return to the forums and delete his post, as well as apologize to the recruit who had left.  This was good on his part, and shows his heart is essentially in the right place, but the damage had already been done.

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