Current Issue: Vol. 7-1 (03/09/2009)



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Life as a Guild Leader

Mediating Conflict

In any situation where people have different needs and motivations, conflicts will arise. Inevitably, the guild leader will be asked to become the mediator.

The toughest thing is playing mediator. A guild can become like a small community or a family and with that comes bickering and squabbles that can break up the harmony of the guild. It's important to be able to maintain peace and harmony among members so that fighting and bickering doesn't destroy the guild. People tend to leave if guilds if they get too 'political'. [UO, F]

For many guild leaders, mediating conflict becomes stressful due to their petty nature and the time it takes to resolve these constant conflicts.

The toughest thing about being a leader is people want you to solve their problems. You become their surrogate parent. It's analogous to running a business or any other organization in that respect. Actually helping them solve a problem or three is rewarding, but for me that pleasure is rapidly overwhelmed by the silliness of most of their problems. [Eve Online, M, 49]

However, there is an awful lot of hand-holding and personal conflict resolution that you have to do. I know, in my first guild, I would find myself dealing with interpersonal player problems for 1 to 2 hours a night. I knew it was time to change when I found myself creating an alt - just to play without guild headaches. [EQ2, M, 42]

These conflicts tend to be particularly stressful because of the existing friendships and ties within the guild. Because guild leaders are friends with many players in the guild, these disputes oftentimes involve one or more of their friends.

The toughest decision has probably been so far, was when a couple of my friends had a fight, and the fight went that far that the both members would resign if I wouldn't do anything about it. In the end I decided to boot the other member, mostly because of his way of handling things amongst the other players as well. [UO, M, 18]

the toughest thing for me is the Constant demand and pressure from guild mates, and conflicts between IRL friends and Friends i made in WoW. being the constant 'Anvil' those conflicts Hammer on can be a real Pain. [WoW, M, 24]

As several respondents noted, being fair and impartial was the most important aspect of mediating these conflicts.

Hmm the most valuable lesson learned... Being able to talk with all kinds of people, great communication skills really is the most important aspect of the leadership. Keeping the head straight when listening to people and solving their disagreements without getting personally involved. Actually my skills as a mediator increased a lot from being a guild leader. [WoW, F, 31]

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