The Level 2 Team Leader Certification

Introduction

In order to advance in the judge structure created by the redefinition of the Judge Program named the “New New World Order” we’re proud to present the Level 2 Team Leader Certification (TLC). This is an evolution of the previous Team Lead capability check Level 3 candidates had to obtain during the process of certification.

The TLC has been developed with the following goals:

  • Provide more consistency in the evaluation of the candidate.
  • Increase the participation of the L3 shadowing the candidate within the team.
  • Allow the Level 3 candidates to have more than a single time experience Team Leading before making Level 3.

Before going into details, let’s have a look at what the Official Resources site says for the information on this TLC:


What is the Team Leader Certification?

A judge with this certification has proven competency managing teams of judges in Competitive and Professional events. Judges with this certification may be chosen to lead teams on Day 2 of a Grand Prix and it is recommended Level 3 candidates lead a team more than once before they test. Due to the larger scale and increased difficulty of a Grand Prix Day 1, Team Leading on Day 1 of a Grand Prix is still reserved only for Level 3 judges.

In order to acquire this certification, the candidate must prove his or her ability to successfully lead a team in a Competitive or Professional event. The candidate must accomplish the task assigned to his or her team; must efficiently communicate with the Head Judge, other Team Leaders and his or her team; and must build the team spirit inside his or her team.

This will be evaluated by a Head Judge of the Grand Prix and the Shadow L3 in the candidate’s team, together.

Requirements to apply

In order to apply to be evaluated for the TLC the candidate must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Must be a Level 2 judge, in good standing, for at least 6 months.
  2. Must have scored at least 80% on a Level 3 Preliminary Exam in the last 6 months.
  3. Have already been in each of the following teams at least once: Paper, Logistics, Deck Checks (Any event with a dedicated team of 3 or more members is valid, but Grand Prix experience is recommended).
  4. Must have acted as Head Judge or Team Leader for at least 3 Competitive (or higher) REL events, managing at least 2 other certified judges.
  5. Must have acted as Head Judge for at least 10 other events (any REL).
  6. Must demonstrate communication skills sufficient to act as a Team Leader at the large, international scale, such as Grand Prix events. Must understand English well enough to be up-to-date on official documents.
  7. A Level 3 judge must verify the above requirements with the candidate and contact the Head Judge of the event to recommend the candidate is tested at that event. This recommendation has no specific template, nor should it be long. It just needs to state:
    • 1st) the requirements above have been fulfilled, and
    • 2nd) the recommending Level 3 believes the candidate is ready to lead a team.

The process

The evaluation of the candidate will be performed by both:

An Evaluating Burgundy judge: Can be any judge from the Grand Prix Head Judge group wearing burgundy on the Day 2 of a Grand Prix. Each Burgundy can only evaluate one candidate at a time as full dedication is expected for this process. In an event with multiple Head Judges each of them can evaluate a different candidate. Each candidate must be assigned to a specific Burgundy before the start of the day. The Evaluating Burgundy judge must belong to the Grand Prix Head Judge group in order to be entitled to grant this certification.

A Shadow L3: Any Level 3 judge can perform this role. This Level 3 judge must be in the team the candidate is leading. The Shadow L3 is expected not to take over leading but observe and evaluate the candidate. The Shadow L3 is not expected to mentor the candidate during the evaluation, but is encouraged to provide feedback and mentoring afterwards. The Shadow L3 must intervene and take the necessary actions to prevent serious damage to the tournament. If this happens it probably means the candidate has failed the test.

The team led by the candidate must have a specific task the candidate has to manage properly and it should be visible by the Head Judge. Paper, End of Round and Features are recommended teams. Deck Checks is not recommended due to the low interaction with the Head Judge, “Float” teams are not recommended because they don’t have any specific task. Logistics is not recommended due its complexity in Limited events and its lack of tasks in Constructed. The Head Judge is the ultimate authority to determine what team is valid.

At the end of the Swiss portion of the event, the Shadow L3 must fill in the appropriate section of the the Team Leader Certification feedback form and then the Evaluating Burgundy fills in the other section.

Using this form as a guide, the Evaluating Burgundy has to decide if the candidate receives the Team Leader Certification. The Evaluating Burgundy is encouraged to seek advice and additional information as needed.

The Evaluating Burgundy must provide feedback to candidate regardless of whether he or she obtains the certification. The Shadow L3 is encouraged to join the feedback debrief.

The expiration of the certification

Once a judge has demonstrated the skills to lead a team efficiently, practice will ensure that the skills remain fresh. As long as the judge does one of the following each year after gaining the Team Leader Certification, that certification will remain valid:

  • Lead a team with 2 or more other judges at a Competitive REL event or
  • Head Judge a Competitive REL event with 2 or more other judges.

Every January, starting 2018, the judges with the TLC will complete a form indicating the event matching that criteria they judged and the certification will be automatically renewed.

The evaluation

The Head Judge of the Grand Prix is the ultimate authority to evaluate each quality. The following lines are intended to provide guidance and consistency on the evaluation, but reality is much wider than anything this guide can contain. A candidate is expected to be successful in most of the following qualities to pass the TLC test, but may pass even with an score of “insufficient” in up to three skills at the Evaluating Burgundy’s discretion. A candidate deficient at any of the skills has failed the TLC test.

Task preparation:
Is the ability to anticipate and prepare the necessary elements the task of the team requires. This includes, but is not limited to: pairing board location, asking the necessary information from the Head Judge, Tournament Organizer, coverage, etc. Inform the judges of any procedure the team is responsible for, etc.

Deficient: is a candidate who starts working the event without prior preparation of the task.

Insufficient: is either the candidate who shows up in the morning without preparation but manages to prepare the necessary items for their task, or the candidate who planned before the day of the event but fails to prepare the things he need on site before the event.

Successful: is the candidate who plans and successfully follows the plan for task preparation.

Excellent: is the candidate able to prepare the task as you could expect from a senior Level 3 judge.

Success with the team task:
Is the ability to successfully manage the task assigned to the team and the unexpected events during the day.

Deficient: is a candidate who needs the Shadow L3 intervening to prevent serious damage to the tournament.

Insufficient:is the candidate whose team performs their tasks poorly, or misses some important steps on his or her team’s task.

Successful: is the candidate who performs the team task in a way that you will trust the candidate (without any more training or experience) to lead a team without supervision.

Excellent: is the candidate able to perform the team task as you would expect from a senior Level 3 judge.

Delegation:
Is the ability to assign tasks that require some degree of decision making to the appropriate team members.

Deficient: is a candidate who leaves his team unattended to do a task that could have been delegated to other team members, or who assigns a task to someone unable to complete it.

Insufficient: is a candidate who exhausts him or herself by doing lot of minor things that he or she could have delegated to any of the team members or who delegates a task but gives deficient or insufficient instructions.

Successful: is a candidate who makes an appropriate use of his or her team members.

Excellent: is a candidate able to delegate as you would expect from a senior Level 3 judge.

Event overview and feedback:
Is the ability to view the global picture of the event, detect deficiencies and suggest improvements.

Deficient: is the candidate who never provides any feedback about the tournament to the Head Judge.

Insufficient: is the candidate who provides poor or incorrect feedback about the tournament to the Head Judge.

Successful: is the candidate who brings up to the Head Judge some useful information or accurate event observation, even if, for whatever reasons, the candidate’s suggestion can’t be implemented.

Excellent: is the candidate able to improve the event as you would expect from a senior Level 3 judge.

Team Building and Mentoring:
Is the ability to make judges in the team feel welcome, have a nice experience during the day and help them to become better judges.

Deficient: is the candidate focusing exclusively on his or her task without caring about the team’s well being, or hardly even speaks to his or her team during the day.

Insufficient: is when the candidate’s only social interaction consists of very basic and standard interactions such as “introduce yourselves” or “work in buddies,  is only able to provide basic and generic advice to their team members.

Successful: is the candidate able to have his or her team members thinking “I enjoyed the day. It was great being in the X team”. The candidate will likely have enough material to write 1 review.

Excellent: is the candidate raising the team spirit as you would expect from a senior Level 3 judge.

Communication:
Is the ability and willingness to efficiently pass and ask all necessary information to and from team members, fellow Team Leaders and the Head Judge. It is also the ability to listen to the suggestions brought up by others.

Deficient: is the candidate limiting his or her communication to direct instructions without any explanations (note that this is acceptable at some urgent moments, but must be later addressed). It’s also deficient if the candidate is dismissing the suggestions from the team without considering them, or fails to provide important information to the Head Judge.

Insufficient: is the candidate giving unclear or insufficient information to his team, or acting on his or her own in a situation that should have required the Head Judge’s intervention.

Successful: is the candidate able to pass and receive all necessary information to and from team members, Team Leaders and the Head Judge.

Excellent: is the candidate communicating with the team as you would expect from a senior Level 3 judge.


Welcome back! Now let’s cover the transition from the previous system to the TLC and let’s review the philosophy of the requirements to apply.

The Level 3 checklist and the transition period

From the release of this announcement the Team Leader capability check is no longer available, but you can get the TLC from now on.

Any Team Leader capability check obtained prior to this change still retains its 36 months validity.

Philosophy of the requirements to apply

1) Must be a Level 2 judge, in good standing, for at least 6 months.

If you just made Level 2, don’t rush. Focus your energy and enthusiasm into learning what being a Level 2 is. Get in touch with your regional community and share your ideas with them. Apply to a Grand Prix or two; see what happens there, how people work there.

In other words, observe how others lead before attempting it yourself.

2) Must have scored at least 80% on a Level 3 Preliminary Exam in the last 6 months.

As Team Leader in a Grand Prix you are going to be allowed to handle the most complicated policy rulings, such as backups, and game losses. Therefore you need to know the rules quite well.

3) Have already been in each of the following teams at least once: Paper, Logistics, Deck Checks.

In order to lead a team you should have a basic understanding of the task and goals of the main teams you may find at any tournament. This experience doesn’t need to be in a Grand Prix (although that’s it’s recommended). The team must be at least 3 people to be considered a team for the purpose of this item.

4) Must have acted as Head Judge or Team Leader for at least 3 Competitive (or higher) REL events, managing at least 2 other certified judges.

Before you test to demonstrate you’re able to lead a team, you must have some experience leading where you could have trained your skills and prepared for the test.

5) Must have acted as Head Judge for at least 10 other events (any REL).

Even if the set of skills needed to be Head Judge of an event is not exactly the same set of skills required to be Team Leader, there are many overlapping skills. The experience as Head Judge will guarantee the candidate has a good understanding of the tournament procedures and event global vision.

6) Must demonstrate communication skills sufficient to act as a Team Leader at the large, international scale, such as Grand Prix events. Must understand English well enough to be up-to-date on official documents.

Well… you need to communicate with your team members, other Team Leaders, the Head Judge, maybe the Tournament Organizer. Right?

7) A Level 3 judge must verify the above requirements with the candidate and contact the Head Judge of the event to recommend the candidate be tested at that event. This recommendation has no specific template, nor should it be long. It just need to state 1st) the requirements above have been fulfilled and 2nd) the recommending Level 3 believes the candidate is ready to lead a team.

Before you contact the Head Judge of a Grand Prix to request the Team Leader position:

  • Check you fulfill all previous requirements.
  • Then contact your local Level 3 judge and/or a Level 3 you recently worked with and ask if he or she believes you’re ready to take the TLC test.
  • If the Level 3 believes so he or she needs to write a short email to the Head Judge saying so.

If the Level 3 you contact doesn’t recommend you for the TLC test, you’re allowed to ask a different Level 3. But it is strongly encouraged for you to listen the feedback and reasons the first Level 3 has to not recommend you for the test. We’re sure that will help you a lot to become a better judge.

If you don’t know or haven’t worked with any Level 3, feel free to contact Alfonso Bueno to find the way to evaluate you online and recommend you when you’re ready.

Thanks for their amazing collaboration to:    

Carlos Rada
Daniel Kitachewsky
Dustin de Leeuw
Hans Wang
and all Grand Prix Head Judges

This wouldn’t have been possible without you!