Thursday, May 12, 2011

Managing vs Mothering

Things have been crazy for me as this is the first week of a new project. Thus, I am now traveling weekly to Winston Salem, NC which is only 70 miles away from my hometown of Chapel Hill. After 3 and a half years of consulting, this is my first assigned project to my home state! Woot. Sweet tea FTW! Grits FTW! It's also interesting coming back to an environment where it's not unheard of (and not meant to be sexist) to be called sugar or darlin' or hon.

Anyways, there are a number of teams at this client that are being managed by respective project managers. The other day we were having a conversation with our project executive and he was giving us his take on some of these project managers.

He talked about how he has project managers and project mothers. His managers keep people on task and get things done. In contrast, his mothers lead their teams by being sensitive (and perhaps sometimes too sensitive) to individuals. His mothers want everyone to hold hands and cross the finish line at the same time, whereas his managers don't manage around feelings or personalities as much and don't care whether someone crosses the finish line before someone else.

I thought it was an interesting concept. It also reminded me how Jess and I have run things in our guild. Jess is the project manager/guild manager. I am the project mother/guild mother. I guess this isn't a huge surprise since when I was trying to organize a guild run of ZA/ZG the other week, I got a whisper of "Yes Mom" the exact same time from Kal and Lorosia.

I think I've already mentioned that for a while now there has been a ongoing guild joke that once a ready check is instituted, the tank often asks something like "And K? Are you really really ready?" Because I have a tendency to yell "Wait!" on vent even after a ready check has passed.

I should really log what a typical raid looks like for me from a whisper conversation standpoint. It would be quite amusing I think to myself and my guildies to see what my laptop screen looks like at times. Mmmm... I need to remember sometime to screenshot some of the crazier whisper times and share them later after blurring the specific names and convos.

But if I think about a typical raid, I will end up exchanging whispers with at least 7 or 8 folks. Now yes, probably 2 or 3 of them are smaller one-off whisper conversations of just a couple lines. Then I have 3 or 4 of them that are shorter whisper conversations that come and go throughout the raid night. Then I have about 2 conversations that are pretty constant throughout the raid night.

But this means that over the course of the raid, I have 8 tabs of separate conversations with guildies in my WIM window. Now I'm not complaining because many of these conversations are conversations that I initiate in order to check in with friends and be a mother and maintain relationships (which is just a really nice way of saying I am nosy and want to know what people are doing).

However, the interesting thing is when something in the raid goes less than expected. Let's say we are having a hard time on a boss or having an off night. Or we find that some strategy is not working and we need to switch our strategy to make sense for us. These sort of suggestions or conversations tend to all funnel through me.

I then add what I want to add, ignore what I want to ignore, add personal observations about people or current emotions/feelings (which are often my perceptions based on what I know about people and having ongoing conversations), then forward a consolidated lay of the land to Jess.

So when I say to Jess something like "I think we should put X on Y and do A, B, C", that came about through 3 or 4 whisper conversations. It's just interesting to me that I am the filter for Jess. But this is why half the time when I am the slowest on ready checks or slowest on running back after a wipe. Because I'm whispering!

So give me a break guys! I'm busy mothering!


  1. Omg I missed the days when I did this in Molten Core soo much. Everyone was in vent or teamspeak back then, and I was the person in chat and making sure people were being herd. It's hard to get herd with 40 people let alone no one reading what in the chat. Somehow the GM stopped and listened to me even though I wasn't an officer just friends with his GF.

    I still do it to a lesser extent, but there is not as much whispering going to me from the raid I'm in. I really miss it. I still relate chat messages to vent because for whatever reason people never seem to check chat while they are talking. I also really miss friends I used to chat with while raiding, a lot have gotten busy with real life =/

  2. K, why is it that when you say that you're the mothering type, all I can think of is a "Mommy Dearest" scenario?

    /ducks and runs.

    Miss you all!