Monday, April 7, 2008

What Makes an Officer?

I know lately I've been asking a lot of questions on my blog, so I hope you'll forgive me for asking for your input yet again. This time, on another matter of relative importance: officers.

I used to be the Druid CO of No I In Alliance, which converted to Roll For Blame under new management. I stopped being "Druid CO" and was suddenly just an "officer." Then there was a lot of switching around, and a lot of the old officers are no longer officers, and there are new officers, and now new people up for the position of officers. It is...awkward, to say the least, to have once had an outlined purpose and now not to. It makes it confusing, to me, just what officers are being promoted to do.

Right now we have seven officers, not including the guild leader. Two more people are up for consideration as officers, simply because they asked if they could be officers. We have two relatively new officers who were appointed, but they did not ask. They were simply brought forward on the guild leader's decision that he wanted them as officers. This is fine; I think the two of them are great people and will be great officers. However, I don't think I know what being an officer entails anymore.

Both of the people asking to be officer just recently came back to the game, though they've been good friends to many people in the guild for a long time. One doesn't have a level 70, though I don't think that's required to be an officer. One has offered to make a guild website and help organize raids (though as far as I know all our officers have been doing a great job organizing raids, so I want to hear what she thinks we're lacking and how to improve). What I don't understand is why people feel they need the officer position to help out.

Is it so great a thing to have the "officer" tag that you feel you must petition for it before working on a guild website? Or putting forth ideas on how the raid setup could be better? Why is it so coveted? I don't understand, but maybe it's because I've never not been an officer. Since I came into WoW, my first guild was with friends, and they made me an officer, and then when we merged with No I In Alliance I was made officer again, to help ease the transition and because the guild leader thought I had good character and I knew my class. In Roll For Blame I kept my leadership position because I was active and helpful and people looked up to me, and also partly because, I feel, the new guild leader felt challenged by the fact that some people wanted me to be the new guild leader, though I've never done anything to try and stage a coup, and have supported him as best I could.

I suppose it boils down to this:
  1. We have seven officers.
  2. These officers don't have outlined responsibilities so we, as officers, pick up duties as we see fit.
  3. I think nine officers is too much.
  4. I don't understand why people need to be officers to help out the guild in a way they think is needed.

I probably need some perspective, and I hope you all can provide it, because I'm in desperate need. I don't understand, and lately I feel like the minority in the guild leadership position when I speak. However, they're also not explaining themselves beyond "I like her" or "I think she'll make a good officer" when I want to know why and what for.


Hershey said...

I understand your confusion. One of my guilds made it a point to promote everyone to officer as soon as they dinged 70. This, of course, meant too many chiefs and not enough little indians, thus leading to the guild blowing up.

I've always been confused why people are so concerned with promotions. As you stated, you don't need to be in a position of authority to help out. And should a promotion be desired, helping out will usually lead to getting that promotion anyways.

Boyd said...

While it doesn't bother me much, I think we've got too many officers in my Alliance guild. Over 10% of our members (accounts, not toons) are officers; the GM adds them at a whim. Yup, with just over 120 accounts in the guild we've got 14 officers (that I can think of off the top of my head. There may be more that I'm just not thinking of).

But then, all we can do is /ginvite and promote/demote below the officer level, and no one has any designated responsibilities. So it really doesn't get in the way.

Rhoelyn said...

I think it really falls on your guildmaster to define his / her officer roles. In our guild, we have a 'Council' of a few all-around officers and then a few specifically-defined officer roles, which are newer. The Council was from our smaller days, and we all kind of just ... took on whatever needed doing. Now that we're trying to graduate to the higher 25-man content, we've started to realize that we do need some better-defined responsibilities. Our newest officers are our Webmaster (including updates and news), and our Recruitment officer.

Already, these two have proven to be much more focused and approachable because of their definition.

So, I would say that you really should work to define roles for your officers. That way, you can also push the question of whether or not you really do need two more. Is there a job for them to do?

Even if your guildmaster says that s/he doesn't need the better definition, it will help your members to know who to go to for a certain need. Want something from the bank? Mail the Bank officer. Want to get your friend a guild trial? Mail the Recruitment officer. It's clearer and more friendly to have the roles defined, and it also helps to avoid anyone stepping on someone else's toes.

Best wishes,

Alyse said...

I hope I can post here, even though mine isn't a WoW blog.

I understand your confusion, i'm right there with you.

Bell said...

@alyse - Aw, of course you can post here. Anyone is welcome to.

tessy said...

Just some thoughts here…

Are there any extra privileges that make people want to become an officer? Priority to loot from raids, opportunities to use things from the guild bank when they want, or anything like that?

Of course you shouldn’t have to be promoted to help out your guild, but maybe some people feel that the promotion to officer is some sort of official recognition of thanks from the guild, that you are being publicly tagged as a very valued guild member.

But being an officer usually entails a lot of work too, much more than people usually realise I think, so maybe you should explain to those asking for promotion that it is not just about bossing people around ;P

As for the numbers of officers, 9 officers, all doing the same things, may be confusing both for themselves and for the members since there might be very conflicting ways of doing things between them

But if they have more defined roles regarding what they do, 9 may not be too much. Some in charge of giving newbies access to guild forums and help out with voice chat settings and what addons you would like them to have, some do the recruiting and interviewing and inviting of new people, some handle the raid leading and related issues, some handle the guild drama and conflicts that arise in the guild.

This will make it easier for new people to ask the right person when they have a problem or question, and the formal title of officer will make it easier for the officers themselves, being officially trusted with decisionmaking in the guild.

There can be different tiers of officers too, maybe just 2-3 with invite and promote/demote rights, and then 2-3 that raid leads.

In my old guild we were 5 officers including the GM. We had no defined roles, and since 2 of the officers were rarely online it fell to the 3 of us that usually were logged on every day to do all the guild administration and the raid leading, and it was a lot as we were recruiting to be able to make 25-mans. I did not want to raid lead, but when I was the only officer online, I felt I had too to keep our guild members happy. Things like this eventually led to me quitting the guild because it was constantly more work than play.

With hindsight, I can see that out guild would have benefited a lot from having more officers with more clearly defines roles.

Sorry about the long comment, turned out more wordy than I planned :-)

Stobnor said...

I think the question to ask yourself is:

"Why is 9 officers too much?"

Does it lead to confusion? Or does it dilute the "specialness" of being an Officer?

Tied to that is the question "What's special about being an Officer?" What extra can someone do, or is it just the "badge"?

Just my two-penneth...

Bell said...

@stobnor - I don't think there's too much overly "special" about being an officer. If I look at it, it seems rediculous that you can almost field an entire Kara team with the officers (and you could, too, since we'd have the dps, heals, and tanks. The officers sort of turned out that way). I'm not looking to exclude people, and I've said to the GL that if he has a good reason for wanting them to be officers, I'm not standing in the way. I just want to hear a reason, especially when some of our officers don't really have much at all to do other than to occasionally say "I agree" or "I disagree" with something someone puts forward. For me, for a group of officers to work, we need to have a goal, a purpose. IMO, a lot of our officers lack that, including me at times.

Stacey Triplette said...

My guild went through a merge in Dec/January, and one of the things we wanted to change was the duties of officership. In the two founder guilds, the title of officer was more or less a vanity position and people did whatever they wanted. Now, our seven officers have a number of concrete responsibilities.

Here's what we do.
1. We have a weekly meeting on Sundays (capped at 90 minutes now, but they used to run 3-4 hours when we were setting up the merge) to discuss guild policy, problems, raids for next week.

2. Each of us has an individual task. One of our officers (a second-grade teacher) nurtures the casual players in our guild and arranges heroics. One of us is the raid leader. I do raid healing assignments/research and also recruiting. One of us does the website. Another works with our loot system and any disputes about that. Another writes and edits guild-policy posts. Another organizes guild PvP. These tasks are not of equal magnitude, but everyone does something specific. That's key.

3. We are all really active on our guild website and we respond to our members' concerns quickly and thoughtfully. Website QQ gets into our meeting agenda, and we address it the next weekend. Sometimes the answer is "no, we can't honor your request," but the fact that we at least think about it keeps the guild happy.

I advocate a small number of officers with defined duties. If someone doesn't have the time for a weekly meeting, try to get them to see that they ought not be an officer.

We also have some stellar members who organize things.
One of our members organizes and raid leads our weekly Karathon. Another runs and organizes our heroics. A third handles ZA. Get people used to the idea that you don't have to be an "officer" to do things for the guild. What the officers are really there for is to make policy and handle complaints. None of us are particularly beloved, because we often employ the stick more than the carrot, but we are a very effective group.

Brent said...

One thing an officer "gets" is the prestige of being an officer. In a former guild the trick around that was to create a "Veteran" rank, between members and officers.

People who were Veterans were considered to be your "go to" person for general stuff, and the officers had defined roles.

Bell said...

@brent- we actually have a rank like that, but apparantly some people aren't satisfied with it. However, right now it looks like my other officers have backed me up, and we're not getting new officers any time soon.

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Garumoo said...

Unfortunately, I have seen cases where attempts to "do stuff" by a non-officer leads to reprimands and worse. Dysfunctional, but true.

The worst case I saw had the officers refusing to help out the rank and file, usually with the line "we got to 70 by ourselves, you can do the same" .. and then getting uppity when the rank and file decide to organise a guild run of some instance because it wasn't "official".