Last night at 8:45 pm, which is about 45 minutes into our raid, we had a 3% wipe on Nefarian. I thought to myself “great! New strategy seems to be solid, just need to give the kite tank a few more pulls in phase 3 with this strategy and we’ve got a kill, no problem!”. Famous last words. For the next two hours we were plagued with mistakes, disconnects, game freezes at the load in screen and other miscellaneous unfortunate things – basically you name it, we had it.
Somewhere about 11:15 – I lost my patience with the raid.
I had tried to stay calm. I had tried to stay collected. I had tried being nice. I had tried talking through what went wrong calmly. But mistake after mistake started to wear me thin. The clock ticking down to the end of our raid started to wear me thin. We weren’t failing because we couldn’t do it, we were failing because collectively we weren’t focused and we weren’t performing. And after one very unfortunate missed interrupt in phase 2 that wiped the raid – I unleashed on the raid.
Not one individual person, I very rarely single anyone out. But the entirety of my wrath was put forth at the team as a whole. And you know what? The next pull was an unfortunate 12% wipe when the kite tank died. And the pull after that netted our kill.
Now, personally, I feel that yelling at the raid is generally an ineffective method of leadership. I hate doing it. For days after I employ the roaring “get your shit together folks”, I second guess if I was out of line and if I couldn’t have managed to motivate the raid by using some other means. Not only that, but generally people (including myself) just don’t like to be yelled at. To be fair to myself, I probably yell at our raid as much in one year’s time as some guilds do in one week’s. But that doesn’t really change how I feel about it.
After the raid last night, I was bemoaning to one of our raid members how yelling at the raid makes me feel pretty awful. I told him it pretty much hate feeling that I have to do it, to which he honestly responded “I hate having to listen to it” but also followed it up with “but I’ll be damned if you can’t get people fired up”. And there is some truth to that statement. Generally after I holler people seem to put it together, get focused, and we get shit done.
But it’s my thought that the raid shouldn’t need to take that course of action. I am of the opinion that our performance shouldn’t decrease to the point that I feel the best solution is to turn into a Drill Sergeant that would make Private Pyle look like he spent a week at Club Med. There have got to be better motivators than that.
As I am sure is common with many raids, we have a tendency to get sloppy the later in the raid night it gets. We lose focus, people get tired, and as a team our performance often starts to decrease. Last night when we got to this point, and before the raid felt the wrath of Gunnery Sergeant Beru – I asked them “what do we need to do to motivate you?”. And we were met by silence, with one person typing out “shrug”. Hell, if my players don’t know what motivates them how in the hell am I supposed to figure it out?!
Ever since then I’ve been thinking. “What is it that motivates raiders to perform?” What is it that keeps people focused as the clock ticks closer to the end of the night? I’m sure that there isn’t a “right” or a “wrong” answer for this, as everyone will be motivated by different things. But to be an effective leader, you’ve really got to figure out what it is that really keeps your team focused.
You see, while there are easy ways to evaluate your performance as a player, there aren’t as many easy ways to evaluate your performance as a leader. There isn’t a WoL that tracks “your speech motivated 18 of your 25 raiders” or tells you when you “stood in the bad” by making a terrible call. As nice as that would be, the only thing that really provides you this data is feedback from your raid team. And after a particularly rough night, I do query a good number of our raid team to get their feedback on what they feel worked and what didn’t. But I pretty strongly believe that you always have room for improvement and growth as a leader, just as you do as a player, and I am always looking for more creative ways to keep people engaged and focused during a raid.
As such I am extremely curious, when it gets down to that 11th hour, what motivates you to keep performing your best? Does a good yell kick you in the ass? Do you prefer a William Wallace-esque motivational speech to really get you fired it? Do you prefer a cold, passionless, analytical breakdown of each mistake? If you are a leader, how often and when do you pull out your yellin’ guns? What generally leads up to feeling that you need to get your raid in line with a good holler? And on that token, do you feel that yelling at your team is effective? If you frequently employ that as a method of motivation – do you feel that it starts to become more and more ineffective?