At the company I work we faced the task of assigning two new managers for a group of consultants that were without a manger and also had grown too big for just one person to look after their needs. Traditionally this was done by our CEO and some other managers who looked for someone in-house by talking to people they thought were suitable for the job or sometimes by looking for people from the outside. Historically this had sometimes worked well and other times not so well.
This time we thought we should try something new. Why not let the members of the group choose?
Our process looked something like this:
- We informed the group of what we were about to do and why we were doing it.
- We created a form with Google Forms that was sent to all the members of the group. It contained these two questions:
- Would you be interested in being the new manager for this group? (yes/no/maybe – tell me more)
- Who do you think would be suitable to be the next manager?
- After everyone had answered we gathered up the results and started talking to everyone who had given a “yes” or “maybe” answer to the first question. During that meeting we discussed their view on leadership and the challenges they saw from their point of view. We also answered any questions about what having this role would mean.
- We selected two candidates based on the number of nominations (this was the main thing we considered) but also looked at their view on leadership.
- We split the group mainly based on the nominations but we also considered social connections and other similar factors.
- We then talked to all the members of the group individually and asked them if they were happy with their manager to be or if they wanted to belong to the other group. If someone wanted to swap we let them without any questions asked.
- We talked to the new managers and told them what the groups would look like and helped them get started.
This process became quite lengthy but the really great thing about this approach is that we have eliminated a lot of risks involved in a change like this. The new manager was instantly accepted by the group and the managers knew what they were getting themselves into and knew that they were accepted in their new role by their group.