I work for a small company (50 employees).  We are hiring a new middle manager to oversee one of our departments.  I'm on the hiring team and one of my colleagues who is also involved in the hiring thinks it is better if we bring in the new employee as a regular employee for several months so that the staff in that department- who might be upset that they weren't selected to be the manager- have time to get to know the new employee and respect them before we "promote" them to the manager position. We did allow anyone from within the company to apply for the position as well, so there has been a relatively "fair" process to examine both internal and external candidates.  

I think it's better to be clear from the beginning and start the new employee off as the manager but I'm trying to remember if there is a Pod Cast that addresses this issue.  The new manager might have to address jealousy etc if that ends up being an issue, but we shouldn't cater our company's need for a new manager to fears of unrest within the current department staff.   I need to have some practical wisdom to back up this opinion.  I've been listening to the Manager / Career Tools pod casts for a couple years now and I'm trying to remember of Mike and Mark take a stance on this issue.  I'd appreciate any feedback or thoughts. 

Thank you!

JohnHealey's picture
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Hey B Spradley 

It's better to have your first day as commander than your last day.  I recommend that the new employee start as a manger so they are seen as a manager.  I understand the pinch of someone new coming from the 'outside', and then building the relationship will take time.  Please see the trinity for how to resolve this process.  Totally understandable for you to want them to be one of the 'people' and giving them role power (even in a differed way) it will always make them separate, and representive of the company.  This does speak to a more implied issue of if the manger doesn't know the weeds of the job can they manage?  Well the president doesn't know federal tax law, and some football coaches have never been players.  It may be good to address this common misconception if you think it's relevant with the manger and let them deal with it through their leadership.

For the future it may be good to think about how to make employees effective managers from within (I am sure you have already thought of this).  Industry grows and so do productive professionals.  

Let us know how it goes,

My best,


520 313 2738

gehrhorn's picture
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Bottom Line up Top: I think this would be worse than bringing them in as Day 1 manager. If I were inclined to be upset that a new manager was brought in from the outside I would be apoplectic if a peer was brought in from the outside and promoted in short order. 

You also risk losing the new person. I applied for a IT Security Manager job at a company. They said, "we don't think you're ready for that [they were wrong], but we'll offer you Senior Security Engineer." I took the job. I liked it and I was good at it. A few months later I saw a "can't pass it up" job posted. IT Security Manager, high-tech firm, good employee reviews. 3 miles from my house, etc. I applied for and got that job. When I put in my notice they said, "you're on track for the job you applied for and more." Had I received the job I applied for at company 1 the job at company 2 wouldn't have even been on my radar.

I think the podcast you're thinking of is called "The Dangle". It's from the perpective of the candidate. The crux of it, as I recall, was "don't evaluate a job based on what's dangled, evaluate it based on what's offered". So if your candidate is a MT listener the promise of, "we may promote you to manager soon" won't be effective. (I listened to this a while ago and may be a little foggy. I'd recommend giving it a listen yourself.)

Good luck!


mrreliable's picture

Agree with previous comments. I see no upside to bringing in a manager and having them mingle for a while thinking that will make the transition go more smoothly. People aren't stupid.

If you were an employee and the company went outside to bring in a manager, you might be PO'd, but if they brought in a person and called them an employee, but it was all a ruse, you'd not only be PO'd but you'd lose a lot of trust. I think this would be a perfect example of a hidden agenda and it's not going to fool anyone.

jtegwen's picture

In the book The First 90 Days they talk about how making the switch from one of the team to manager is the most difficult transition to make. Here are these people that were your peers, maybe your friends, and now you manage them. This makes it very ackward for the new manager. Especially since it's probably their first management job. 

Bring them in as a manager and give them the training and support they need to deal with any jealousy. Make it clear from an organizational perspective that subversive behavior is not tollerated. 

ann_owen's picture

Thank you Jon and George, your comments are helpful.  I think you are right that for the staff it would be more aggrevating to have a new coworker promoted quickley than to have to accept and adjust to a new manager from the outside. 

I think you are right that "The Dangle" podcast is relevant to this issue.  I wish I worked in an environment where my co-managers listened and adhered to MT! I'm trying to change the ingrained dysfunctional managment culture at my own company, but change is painfully slow! I always appreciate the prespective and feedback from these forums!

I will let you know how it goes.


jrb3's picture
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Well, change might be slow, but it is certain.  And sometimes it's not at all slow!

You've interviewed this person as a manager, to help improve management at your workplace.  Sounds like what the organization needs is this person, who's been tagged as a manager, to come in and start managing right away.  To do otherwise loses much of the benefit and energy of "fresh blood", and puts him in the "dangle" (or worse, "bait and switch") dysfunction we know causes trouble.  Bad start.  Been there, been done by that, it's in the delta file ....

Choose the more effective path to reinforce your efforts to grow a more wonderful organization.

DRD282's picture
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I've been at a company where this has happened multiple times. And what inevitably happens is that the "manager-in-all-but-name" starts to slowly (or quickly) be held to manager-level tasks and standards, but without any of the role power. It causes all sorts of issues with communication and relationships. Employees don't know where they stand and it ends up being a very frustrating experience for all involved. I would recommend bringing them in for the position you are really hiring them for up front. It may hurt a bit for your current employees, but it's better to rip that Band-Aid off quickly than slowly over several months. 

ann_owen's picture

Thank you for the feedback.  Our situation changed in the last week; we ended up completing our internal interviews for the position and one of our own employees really impressed us.  So at this point, we have promoted an internal employee for the role which will of course also bring about a variety of issues! Strong jealousy and negativity already expressed from a peer who did not get the promotion.

Thanks again!