Thursday, July 2, 2015

Guildleader chores - Trying to better teamwork out of a raid team and guild

My raid leader, Hwired, has been really tired lately and has decided to take a break from WoW.  You could see that he was winding down anyway - he wouldn't login till raid time, and when 6.2 hit he was not on in game at any time to do any Tanaan or shipyard stuff.  If you want your legendary quest chain done you need to do those things.

Who's going to direct this pack of wolves now??

There was a TED talk by Margaret Heffernan, "Why it's time to forget the pecking order at work".  It was the talking about chickens that fascinated me.


An evolutionary biologist wanted to study productivity so he studied groups of chickens (because productivity could be measured in egg production).  In one group, he just put 6 ordinary chickens and left them alone for 6 generations.  In the other group he chose 6 of the most productive chickens (superchickens!) and in each generation he only selected the most productive egg layers to breed.

What he found after those 6 generations was interesting.

The first group were doing well, healthy and egg production was good.  The second group, or the superchicken group, was very different.  3 of the chickens were dead because they'd been pecked to death.  Those superchickens had only achieved their success by suppressing the productivity of the other chickens.

It turns out that social connectiveness helps make a successful team.

A group at MIT studied this, putting volunteers into groups and giving them hard problems to solve, and the teams that were the most successful were NOT the ones with the highest IQ or had people in them who had the highest IQ.  The most successful teams demonstrated three characteristics.  The first one was high degrees of social sensitivity to one another. The second, was that they gave equal time to one another so that no one voice dominated.  And thirdly, they had more women in them. I think part of the third component is that women (as an overgeneralisation) do better in terms of social sensitivity.

I do feel that when we had some super competitive raiders within our team that the team in general did poorly.  They were like superchickens, pecking at the not-so-super members until they broke. There is no doubt that tension within a raid team does not create a productive environment.

One thing I like about our healers is that they tend to function as a unit than with individual heroes. For example, Kaillynn has never been a strong healer, but we helped her as much as we could, giving her advice on how to be better, always including her when possible, but still letting her know her limitations (H Blackhand, for example).  She has taken it all on board with grace and determination, and when she made her transition over to priest for the new tier because she felt she wasn't contributing, she has made a marked improvement.  Her healing is much better, even though she is 10 item levels behind the rest of us. Rag has always been a really strong healer, but he never throws the "I'm carrying the rest of you guys" line because we have always managed when he ISN'T there. Yuuda has also never had the attitude of an arrogant mythic raider, and knows that healer output depends a lot on what other healers are out there and the roles they play.  People comment to me sometimes about low healer output for certain people at certain times, but each healer plays a part in the healing, with cooldowns that need to be used at certain times that save the raid, not the actual numbers that they produce. I make a note of those things, yes, but raw healer numbers mean nothing when people are still dying from lack of heals.  We don't peck each other in the healer group, and hopefully that will improve healer longevity and productivity. Interestingly there are lots of females in that group.

The DPS are not quite as socially sensitive as the healers and often peck point fingers at who is doing lower DPS.  Low DPS does drag a raid down, but if there are tasks that certain people are doing that ends up decreasing their damage output that should be taken into account. There also tend to be more "heroes" in DPS but it speaks well for a team when those heroes are absent and the team manages to pull through and make a kill.

At present our two tanks are quite communicative and similar playstyles.  That works well for them as they function more as a team and less as individual superchickens heroes.

Leeroy Jenkins Chicken by Scott Derby
Making the effort to know each player makes a big part of having people feel like part of a team.  And guildies too.  Mctacky is a bit of a friendship bandwagon and Luxy chats to people who make the effort to chat to her.  And of course I am Ms Nosy and I will be asking all sorts of questions to get to know people better.  Individuals making the effort to get to know their fellow players plays a huge part.  Look at Brahski, for example. Unfortunately for him, the only person who knew him and talked to him was me.  He didn't make much of an effort to fit into the guild, hang out or help others, or talk to them.  He left one day because there was some tension in raid, but mostly, he didn't feel like he belonged. Other guildies wondered why he left, and found it strange that he went straight to another guild especially after we had spent time giving him tier, but in reality, he was just another number to the other raiders in the guild.  They noticed him when he was doing poorly but didn't notice him otherwise.  Koda also told me recently that she wanted to step down from raiding because she didn't really have any friends in the guild and she had been playing with her sister and her friends just casually and enjoying that.  I wondered if I had failed there - perhaps trying to include her more in things would it have increased her satisfaction in the guild?  The social connectivity is so important for holding a guild together and she is a lovely person - I could see why she felt isolated and I felt partly to blame. It's different from someone like Ultrapwnd, who is a lot more boisterous.  Not only is engaging in raid when he first came to the guild, but also is helpful, modest and willing to take on shitty jobs and at the same time forging relationships (of sorts) with other members of his class. The shamans too, in general, tended to be quite close together as well and they coordinate who will do the bloodlust and whatever other cooldowns they have. Both our warlocks are chummy and will pass on gear for the other and not peck each other to death.  I think that's nice, because that's social collaboration at its best.

To paraphrase Margaret Heffernan:  We need to redefine leadership and teamwork as an activity in which conditions are created whereby everyone can do their most courageous thinking together. Problems won't be solved if we expect it to be solved by a few superchickens.  You need everyone, because when you accept that everyone has value that will inspire the momentum from the team to get the best out of each and every member.

And I hope that we can try to do that in our guild.  I'm sure as hell going to try!

4 comments:

  1. Sometimes I think that meters, while not the *root* of all evil, don't help anyone. Meters are the reason DPS are reluctant to switch to adds, even though that is absolutely essential (well someone else can do it, I'll just stay on the boss, look at my peen numbers, tee hee).

    Every time a dps or healer performs a utility role, such as placing down a cc whirlpool, or decurses, or kites something-or-other, it cuts into dps or hps.

    In other words, the superchicken only looks super because everyone else is doing the real work that doesn't show up on meters (unless you're really digging through).

    I like your group approach where it's not so much everyone's individual contribution (meters-wise) but working together. Using a strategic cooldown at the exact right time can save the raid from a wipe the way that raw numbers cannot. And using a strategic cooldown when someone else uses one just because ... well because they're not coordinating, that is such a waste and will also cause a wipe.

    It sounds like your team is on the right track to playing smarter, not harder.

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    1. We do have a few exceptions, and that's always tough - huge output but ignore mechanics? The temptation is there to just let them be because they're doing good output but in reality it makes it just that much harder for everyone else and that little bit unfair.

      I have a few players who are great output and also great at utility. I wish I was one of those people - but everyone knows that it takes me just that bit longer than everyone else to get myself right for a mechanic and maintain the healing output I have when I'm not doing that role.

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  2. Navi, thank you for this post. The issues you addressed are ones I had suffered from in the past, and I am so disheartened that I am experiencing the cycle once again in my new guild for HFC. We are just working on H Arch and I found myself thinking once he is downed, I'd slink out - my job being done. At least with this post, you've changed my mind for the time being. I also think I'll have less pre-raid stress this weekend for our runs. :)

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    1. I am glad that it helped! I hope you down Archi soon - sorry for the slow reply, as I am still on holidays. Good luck and I hope your guild stuff works out :)

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I hope these comments work! Not sure why people can't comment lately, it makes me sad :(