The Western Alliance

Being an Officer

Published: Written by: The Western Alliance

Being an officer is made up out of two parts, duty and privilege.

The privilege part is simple, you get to decide how the kinship develops, what happens in the future, what members we recruit, and you have a direct line to the kinship leader.  You have influence, and you also have information not everyone has.

The duties of an officer can be varied, and undoubtedly some officers will have more than others. In general, I as kinship leader expect a few things from an officer.

  • Be active, in game and on the forums, don’t just check the forums every day, make sure you post something everyday, either an opinion on a new rule, or just to say you agree. In short, let the members see you are active, a kinship without active officers is doomed.
  • Be proactive, don’t just go along, think for yourself about the kinship and take initiative. It doesn’t have to be a huge job like redesigning the website. It can be something as simple as cleaning the kinship chests or starting a conversation with a recruit.
  • Be serious, there are times you need to be serious, take things serious. An argument in the kin-chat may be completely innocent, but others might be bothered, so speak out and tell people to tone it down if necessary. Don’t be afraid to exert authority when needed, but use it sparingly.
  • Be informed. This one is important, also the reason why you NEED to use the forums. You need to be informed about all the goings on in the kinship. You need to know if there is a raid that day, or if there is a fellowship planned later in the week for that book quest that recruit is asking about. You also need to be informed on all the procedures involved with recruitment, voting and administration of members and alts.

In short you should have read every sticky on the server.

June 8th, 2009

So you’re considering if you should run for an officer position?  Wondering what it’s like?  The constitution has a very nice sentence about it: The Inner Council of The Western Alliance is a group of Council Members who are actively involved in the day-to-day running of the kinship.

It’s a bit short and vague, but it is the truth.  As an officer you have the shared responsibility to run the kinship. How do you do that?

First of all there’s a number of regular tasks to be done.  For example I’ve been running the bank which during busy times takes about half an hour a week cleaning out mail and the kinship chests.  When it’s a bit more quiet, I’m finished in 5 or 10 minutes, but requires someone to check on it regularly.

Another job is interviewing initiates, which can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes to an hour depending on your style, the initiate and the available time. If you share the work, you’ll have about one initiate a month.

Second you need to stay in touch with the kinship, check the forums regularly but also join in on discussions. There’s absolutely no need to be online 24/7, but it helps to be in-game regularly and when you are in-game, don’t be afraid to use the kin-chat and join some of the events once in while.

Third remember that you are the one that’s supposed to make this kinship tick, so try to have an active attitude. Is a new member interested in running a fellowship quest? Help him/her to get the group together! No-one stepping up to lead the fellowship through a difficult encounter? Step up yourself! Someone polling interest in running an old raid? Encourage them to arrange it and offer your help when necessary. You don’t need to be an officer for this and for some people it’s their natural playing style, but as an officer you can’t always just passively sit back and wait for things to happen, you make them happen!

And fourth have fun! It’s great to meet new recruits in Bree in your shiny radiance gear and talk with them about slaying brigands and wolves. And see them watching in awe as you one-shot their most difficult foes after that. It’s also very nice to be able to make your ideas come to life, whether it is a nice event scheduler or a new look for the kin-house. And last you get to work together with your fellow officers in a different way then in a random in-game instance, you share the responsibility for the future of the kinship.

September 14th, 2009

I think it would be a fair assessment to say that I alone in the kinship have a unique perspective on what it is like to be an officer. I have served in every position I was eligible to stand for, including three terms as Deputy Leader and two terms as Kinship Leader. I am also one of only two members to have been made an honorary officer.

I am not going to set out a list of do’s and don’ts because everyone is different and what works for one person may not for another. Instead I am simply going to describe to you what I found good and what I found difficult.

The first thing I would say is that unless you really want to be an officer don’t bother. That may sound harsh, but to be frank it’s true. If you want to stand just to see what it’s like the position probably isn’t for you. The reason I say that is because it isn’t just about wearing the red shoulders or getting a little red flag next to your name. There is actual work involved. One of my greatest failings was biting off more than I could chew. Once the initial buzz of winning an election has worn off you are still an officer and expected to work.

It’s not hard work per se, but sometimes, if I’m being honest, you can’t be bothered. There’s admin work to do; there’s setting up projects and making sure they run smoothly; there’s meetings to attend, and occasionally the odd mini-drama or two.

One of the things I always did was speak up. That’s probably the single most important thing an officer can do. Never be afraid of voicing your opinion and if necessary bringing the Council to a halt to make sure your point gets across! Many is the time I have argued very long and very hard because I thought a particular policy was wrong. I didn’t always win, but I made sure I voiced my opinion.

You have to have a thick skin, especially if you are applying for a leadership position like deputy or the actual leader role. You are going to find people disagreeing with you and some will voice opposition to your plans or get into arguments with you. You can’t take any of this personally. When I was leader I had to take decisions that weren’t always popular and I took flak as a result, but as leader you have to do what is best for the kinship, not what is easiest for yourself.

At the same time you have to be able to admit when you are wrong. I made a monumental cock-up of being leader. I’d like to think that I started well in very difficult circumstances, but by the end of it I was grateful that Thor was taking over. I apologised for my failings in my last speech as leader and I think it helped me to realise that even though I had wanted to be leader for a long time, I was not up to the job.

Having said all that I did have tremendous fun! I had a wonderful group of advisors and friends who helped me immensely. I also got to serve the kinship and see my policies have a positive impact so that people could better enjoy the game. That really is a wonderful feeling and is the one thing I most cherish about being leader.

September 18th, 2009
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