Stop! Before You Hire Another Manager Read This

It may be part of a growth strategy, succession or to resolve conflict in a team because the last guy screwed up – but whatever it is, adding a new manager to the team can be very much a storming process.

We take a look at some of the issues you may face and give some insight into how to go about making management change a smoother process.

1. Understanding the additive effect

When recruiting a new manager you want it to have an additive effect. This is the measurable boost that occurs when a new intervention pushes things in the same direction as an earlier one. Interventions aren’t additive when they work against the first effect, or when they are simply redundant and the time and resources spent on them yield no greater effect.

So whatever your reasons for adding a new manager you need to plan it to be additive and in order to do this, you need to make sure you have really explored all the avenues with your existing talent.

2. Uncovering latent management talent

It might not surprise you that many new management posts are created as a reaction to events without real insight.

And this goes back to a problem that many companies have in the way they target managers and drive them. Managers are often told what to do and the targets they need to hit. Maybe you should start by saying this is the goal or objective that we want to exceed.

Management books always tell you to develop SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, Time Bound). Agreed, they are important, defined in this way, but are they also limiting because you set the goal to the business ‘average-benchmark’ instead of to meet the talent of the person?

Here’s the thing. When employees use their strengths they are better engaged and perform better.

Before advertising a new management position check the latent talent of your existing managers. Ask them their opinions. Ask them what they like doing best and how they believe more could be achieved.

You might uncover skills that could be used more widely

I recently ran a workshop where we had the consultant engineers of the whole company (admittedly a small company) and asked them about the skills and experiences they have that are not being marketed and sold by the company at the moment. We soon built a list of 10 new services we could be offering and talking about.

Why not try the same exercise with your managers and ask what else they could be doing. 

3. Introduce stretch goals

We all like a challenge. But SMART goals are not always stretch goals.

You’ll find inviting managers to add a stretch goal will hone their own skills and it may revitalise them and the way they behave. It might make them reorganise how they do things and how they delegate in the team. This could introduce a top-down ripple effect into improving the performance of a wider group. 

4. Release more time into the management team

A great interview question, we’ve found is: “Teach me something.” Note it’s not tell me something, it’s teach me something. Introducing a culture of everyone teaching will actually aid you in preparing for and managing delegation.

Asking someone to teach you can be an eye opening experience. How many managers do everything the same way? Teach another manager how you manipulate your spreadsheets to always have the best reports. Ask another manager to teach you about staff motivation, doing things, better quicker or cheaper.

5. Hire and find natural talent

Who you name as a company manager has a ripple effect on everything else. Bad managers drive talented employees away, damaging customer relationships.

6. Talented managers attract and engage the most capable talent.

The key to hiring the right managers is to select candidates based on their ability to inspire employees, drive outcomes, overcome adversity, hold people accountable, build strong relationships, and make tough decisions based on performance rather than politics.

Have you found in the past you hire a manager because they ‘have been in the industry or the company’ so long, the time means they must be good? Just writing it down makes it seem even more ridiculous.

And when you do recruit ask them in the interview to ‘teach’ you something. Remember you can’t read a CV to find a real manager.

While it might seem obvious that companies would select and develop employees based on their having the natural talents to succeed in particular roles, the reality is that candidates are more often chosen based on generic achievements such as education level, technical skills, and past work experience.

The culture fit has to be right, will they engage with the organisation, will they commit, do they aspire to be a manager and a leader and do they have the ability to manage (rather than the ability to just do their last job)? 

7. Succession

And no, your best sales person is not necessarily your new best sales manager.

Look for the management talent. Yes, some football teams have the best player as the captain. And yes, you’re not a football team.

For example, sales is sometimes a single performer task – it’s not always a team effort. Your new manager has to be a leader.

And a good manager is someone that people are willing to follow – not the guy who barks the orders.

The person that inspires, the person that is engaging and helps others achieve more.

So do yourself a favour. Promote people internally in the business because they will be good at the job, not because they have been there the longest, not because you like them and not because they are your best performer.

8. Use data to aid better decisions

Have you ever noticed that when you go into a Waitrose, everyone has the same friendly, open approach? They seem to be of a certain kind. Well they are.

You can teach hard skills like what to do and how you should do it. You can’t teach attitude and engagement.

Every employee applying to Waitrose goes through a psychographic test to analyse ‘fit’. You can take the same approach to test candidates and their suitability, or you can buy many solutions off the shelf, which help uncover traits and behaviours and attitudes or even logic and reasoning assessments.

9. Create a robust criteria for hiring

  1. What do you want the additive effect to be and how will you define and measure it?
  2. Review all your team KPIs and see how you can introduce stretch goals
  3. Ask have I explored all the talent we have now – can they be engaged and inspired to do more?
  4. What are the traits and behaviours of the manager you’d like – and test them to demonstrate they have what you need
  5. Define your criteria for a successful manager
  6. Use data or at least a criteria to help you map and score candidates
  7. Lastly – remember you’re interviewing them – a. let them do the talking and secondly, b. Don’t manipulate them into to being who you want them to be – to make them fit because you’re running out of ideas.

Have you recently hired a new manager? Tell us your experiences and share you ideas.

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