A good raid leader is the glue that holds together a raid, but the position entails juggling a great many things all at once to ensure a successful raid. A trustworthy assistant -- or several -- to whom the raid leader can delegate various tasks can considerably lighten that burden and make the raid run much more smoothly.
The Assistant Raid Leader is the raid leader's right hand elf. Often, the ARL is the good cop to the raid leader's bad cop, or vice versa, providing carrot or stick as necessary to keep morale high and the raid moving. The ARL frequently deals with unruly raid members, quelling arguments and keeping order so that the raid leader can maintain his focus on the raid's momentum. The ARL is also normally a role leader.
Role Leaders: most raids have a role leader (either de facto or de jure) for each of the roles found in a raid: tanking, healing, melee DPS, and ranged DPS. The role leaders need to know the relative strengths and weaknesses of their troops and the classes they play, to make appropriate decisions not only about which classes to assign to a given task, but also which players are best able to handle that task. This means getting to know, even better than the raid leader (and, in some cases, better than the players in question) the playing styles, predilections, and capabilities, of all the players for whom he or she is responsible. It is helpful, though by no means required, if a role leader is also a leader in terms of whatever he or she is supposed to be doing: top of that class/role's damage meter, a scary-good healer, and so on.
The main tank is normally the tanking role leader, and assigns tanking targets, assesses positioning, coordinates healing with the healer leader, and frequently determines DPS order in multi-target situations.
The healing leader handles healing assignments for all the various healers in the raid, in coordination with the tank leader. As before, knowing the strengths of both classes and individuals is key to performing well in this role.
The melee and ranged DPS leaders help the raid leader in assigning DPSers for multi-target encounters, and coordinate utility roles (kick/stun rotations, use of healing-reduction debuffs, crowd control, and the like).
In all cases, raid assistants should be making the raid leader's life -- and therefore that of the rest of the raid -- easier, not harder. A raid leader and an assistant who are constantly at loggerheads are not going to do that, and will simply generate more stress and friction, which a raid trying to progress simply does not need. It therefore behooves a raid leader to carefully choose his assistants not only for effectiveness in role, but for maximum compatibility, since high morale is a great boon to a raid.
The single most important principle of leadership in this context is do not argue in front of the troops. This creates an unnecessary amount of friction and encourages arguments between raid members and raid members and leadership. Raid leaders and their assistants will disagree, for all the many reasons people disagree with one another. The important thing to remember is to keep those disagreements away from the raid in general: discuss it in whispers, or in an officer channel, or after the raid has concluded. While it is ongoing, present a united public front to keep distractions to an absolute minimum.
The interaction of guild leader and raid leader, if they are not the same person, should follow those same guidelines: the middle of a raid is not the place to have policy discussions, and wherever possible, should happen before or after the conclusion of the raid.
Hay. Not sure if it is too late for this. But we have also identified a crowd control role. Someone that is responsible for making sure all the CCrs have their targets targeted. Assigns out symbols etc. You can usually roll this up with the main assist (not listed but probably belongs under the dsp roll).
Are there any plans to address roles such as a "Main Assist" or other functional roles that help a raid to perform? I know many raid groups who operate with a standard player (based on class or skill) from whom the rest of the raid should follow when targeting through multi-target situations. It may be helpful to address useful strategies, tactics, and even addons that help to perform the roles mentioned in your article.