Premier Judges are both the top and base of a pyramid of leadership in the Judge Program. They are very visible leaders in the program, charged with leading important projects and activities, head judging large Competitive-level tournaments, team leading at Professional-level events, as well as being a hub for information and expert advice toward non-certified and certified judges in broad regions. Premier judges also serve as the sounding board for new policies being considered for adoption, lead in implementing and disseminating new information to the Magic: The Gathering™ community. It is through a high degree of ability demonstrated in many key qualities that Level 3 judges are trusted to lead in this dynamic and impactful role.
Qualities form the foundation
As a new Level 3, you have just gone through The Level 3 Advancement Process, a process that asks you to develop a number of skills and behaviors. These qualities are not arbitrary ideas purely designed to test your work ethic and commitment – they are a standard of performance which you are expected to maintain and grow from as a Premier judge. It is vital that you continue to self-evaluate, to ask for and give feedback so that you can continue to grow, and in turn help others around you grow.
Keeping the sword sharp
Maintaining your skills and expertise is an important aspect of regional leadership. To that end, there are several behaviors that Level 3 judges adopt to continue development post-Level 3.
- Every block set release, Level 3 judges are asked to take a brief Rules Update quiz, which highlights both changes in our documents as well as more challenging, yet relevant aspects of the game.
- Each year, every Level 3 judge is expected to submit information about their event participation and project involvement at a variety of levels to ensure activity/visibility consistent with regional leadership.
- Level 3 judges are asked annually to write a complete self-review, analyzing their personal performance in each of the Qualities of Premier Judges.
Thoughts to keep in mind
Upon Level 3 certification, stepping into such a visible and broad role as Level 3 can be daunting or overwhelming, even for the most prepared individuals. Here are some thoughts to consider as a judge new to regional leadership.
- You are not expected to be perfect. You are expected to continue to be the expert and leader you demonstrated through your checklist and panel, but you are not expected to be perfect.
- You have an awesome team of other Premier Judges supporting you that believe in who you are and what you are doing. Ask for help, learn from your peers, and adopt best practices from others.
- Surround yourself with great people. Are there Level 1 judges that you believe would make terrific Level 2 judges? Are those judges ready now, or with some coaching from you could they be ready to take on that role? Remember that as you have just been promoted to regional leadership, more area leadership is needed to take on the responsibilities you had as you take on a different role. Your leadership will be most effective by empowering others through education, delegation, and management to promote their growth and development as judges.
- Is there a project that you have wanted to develop or an area of the program that you have observed needing development or improvement? Consult other regional leaders, gain insights and advice, and lead a project to promote growth there.
- There are so many aspects to this program that sound exciting and have significant needs that it can feel taxing, especially if you over-commit by trying to take on more activity than you can afford. Add events, activities, and projects, but keep in mind your personal needs so that your activity level is sustainable. One of the biggest challenges to Level 3 is balancing what you do to maintain expertise, contribute both at events and outside of events, while continuing to enjoy and love being a judge.
The role of Premier Judges is an amazing experience, but it comes with greater pressures, challenges, and commitments than many other roles in the judge program. Remember that you have an awesome team of Level 3 judges, your Regional Coordinator, and all the judges in your area to support you and what you do. Keep in your heart the responsibilities and qualities you have committed to maintaining and upholding, and through your work and leadership continue having fun and loving what you do as a Premier Judge.
This page written by Steven Briggs