Monday, June 2, 2008

A story about leadership

Yesterday something happened to me, that gave me an insight about what good raid leading is about. It's really nothing fancy, just a small incident, still I think it's important because I honestly believe that successful raiding isn't just about knowing the boss strategies by heart, bringing the best gear and then nuke the hell out of him. To be successful you've got to care about details, grabbing every single opportunity for the raid to improve.

This is the story:

We were in SSC and had just downed Lurker, now we were on our way to Karthress. Generally we were doing pretty well this night, working our way through the trash at a decent pace. Then it happened. After sheeping a mob I took one step in the wrong direction on a platform and tumbled into the water. I could only ask another mage to take over the sheep while I desperately looked for a way to get up again. A good thing was that the water didn't seem to hurt me anymore. Still I drank one of the water walking elixirs you get from the fishing quest, so I could concentrate on finding a ramp, rather than on swimming (on which I suck). But it was all in vain - as usual I had no sense of direction whatsoever. Finally I saw some kind of ramp which would bring me up a level but how could I know it was cleared up there? I certainly didn't want to pull some unnecessary trash.

Then I heared on vent that the fight was over - they were preparing for the next pull. I acknowledged I still wasn't up, could I possibly get a summon from one of the warlocks? They gave it a laugh (while I was actually pretty annoyed with myself) and started the procedure. But then it came from a co-leader of the raid: "No, don't!"


This made me a little worried. OK, it was really stupid to fall down like that, but wasn't it a bit harsh? Should I be condemned to stay down there, spending the night fishing instead of raiding? Was I so useless that the raid didn't need me anymore?

Then I saw him. The guy who had said "no" was suddenly right beside me, he had jumped into the water.

"I'll show you the way. Follow me" he said.

And so I did, up from the water, and we arrived back to the raid halfway through the next pull, so there was no big delay because of our little trip.

The point in this little story is that he actually grabbed the moment. To be honest it could very well happen again that I'll end up in the waters of SSC, even though I'll be more careful from now on. But the next time I'd rather die than be summoned - I've been shown the way and damned it if I won't find it again.

Raid leading isn't just about sorting things up at the boss fights. It's about grabbing the moments when they're presented to you, to get every opportunity you can to make your raiders improve.
The guy's pretty new in our raiding team and I asked him about his experience as a leader. It turned out that he had lead raids for at least half a year before TBC. I wasn't the slightest surprised.

"I love to lead people" he said, simply.

And I knew he told the truth. To know your way in the instance, to know the encounters - that's basic and something you can just expect from someone leading a raid. But to be a really good raid leader, who makes the raid go further than anyone had thought from the beginning, to make wonders happen - I think it takes something else. It takes talent, it takes hard work and it takes passion. You've got to love to actually lead people.

And you've got make the raid learn from everything that happen - even from small mistakes and trivial mishaps.

Thank you for the lesson.


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