I am a female player who really enjoys raiding. I am also an under-officer in a large non-raiding guild. As you know, this game is dominated by guys. I’m finding it hard to maintain my “serious raider” and “officer” role with my “fun, friendly, chipper guildie” role. I find that I get unwanted comments that are of a flirtatious nature and I don’t know how to “combat” them without losing something in the process. Any advice?
An Officer and a Lady
Dear “Officer and a Lady”,
I have seen your problem before, and it’s a painful one. How do you balance a friendly, caring attitude toward your guild-mates while appearing as an assertive, competent woman? It can be maddening at times, and I’ve been there. I hope some of my advice can help you out a little.
First, try and be a compassionate leader when dealing with the guild-at-large. Show that you do care about what is going on with them, and that you are there to help them with their problems as they relate to the guild and the game. This will establish you as a caring leader. By the same token, however, make sure that you are fair and firm in your enforcement of guild policy, and make sure that you keep up-to-date on all of your guild’s policies and procedures. This will establish your reputation among your guild mates as someone to be respected, and as an authority within the guild. To recap, your “guild reputation” is now one of concern for your guild mates, but a firm and fair authoritarian among your fellow officers.
Secondly, there will be times when you have to deal with guild members on a one-on-one basis. This is your chance to reinforce the reputation you’ve established with the guild as a whole. Think of it like this; you have established yourself in a certain manner, and this guild member is coming to you because you have a reputation as being gentle, yet knowledgeable and fair. Treat the one-on-one interaction in the same fashion. Listen to the guild member’s problem, weigh the issue, and give your thought-out answer. If you don’t have the answer, be informed about who does have the answer, and try to point them in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to delegate or hand off a problem to your fellow officers; that, too, shows a level of confidence and assertiveness. You have the confidence to hand off the problem to someone who understands it better than you do, or has more information than you do, and you don’t feel any “less” about yourself because you had to do it. Basically, you’ve got to have the self-confidence to admit when and where your knowledge fails you.
So, now that you’ve asserted your authority to the guild as a whole and to a single guild-mate, what happens when the “unwanted comments” and the “flirtatious comments” that are unwanted happens to come along? Fall back on your assertiveness that you’ve developed in other, more mundane situations. Treat it as a problem from another guild mate. What would you tell a fellow female guild mate who came to you with this sort of problem? How would you handle the “offending guild member”? Treat this situation, where you are the offended guild member, in the same fashion. Don’t allow the fact that this member is saying these things to you color your reaction to the situation. Retain your caring, fair and firm attitude (even though it may be hard to do). Your reputation will only grow by handling the situation in this manner.
As far as maintaining all of these in a raiding situation, well, I don’t have much advice for you there (as I haven’t raided much). All I can suggest is that you maintain the attitude that you’ve developed in your role as a guild officer, and that you assert yourself as a viable member of the raid; try and keep them from thinking of you as “that girl” and get them to think of you as “our healer” or “our tank”. Be knowledgeable about your role, strategies, raid rules, and all aspects that affect the success of the raid. Make yourself an asset because of your abilities rather than their assumed liability because you’re a girl.
I hope this answer has helped, Officer and a Lady. This is how I’ve dealt with these issues in the past, and I’ve had (if I can say so) quite a bit of success. To some extent, you have to sort of set aside your sexuality and gender in order to become the reliable, informed officer your guild may need to help lead its members. Don’t sacrifice yourself on behalf of the guild, but rather make it a non-issue. However, don’t be confrontational about it, either. Your success is completely dependent on your how well you can manage your emotions and reactions, how you present yourself, and the image you put forth. Here’s hoping that you find success as well!