The staff promotion process on goes a little like this:

I start a thread and ask for nominations and feedback. I try not to get too involved in this for at least a few days, with the exception of answering questions and responding to suggestions that absolutely will not be happening. I want to allow my staff members to post their thoughts without me interfering. After this period, I will throw some names out myself if I have some I am considering that have not already been mentioned.

I then encourage my staff members to provide their thoughts on each person – good or bad. I just want them to be honest and I stress this. My staff members know to allow each other to their opinion. My staff members know never to critique one another and know that they can always contact me if they have any issues, because that is the culture I’ve created.

They also know that if they do critique one another, they will be hearing from me. Anyone who harshly criticizes the dissenting opinion or says anything to them that could in any way be construed as nasty, would be harshly dealt with. The reason being that that sort of thing hurts the process and scares people from talking and from being honest. I don’t think it’s ever happened. Or, at least, not in a very long time.

My staff members all tend to be very friendly with one another. I’ve created a friendly, helpful, respectful culture through my own actions, through our staff guidelines which are followed to a T (and I make sure of it) and through the people that I bring on board, which match the culture. It’s all about maintaining that great environment.

When you have created such a culture that is cohesive like this, if any individual member of staff – even 1 – expresses serious doubts about a person, it is worth consideration and it is worth allowing it to impact the decision. Meaning, if someone is suggested, and 9 people say good things or have no thoughts, but 1 person raises what appear to be serious and viable objections, I most likely will not bring that person on board.

Concerns are what is most important here. The intention of these threads is not to be a yes-a-thon. By this point, you have some people in mind that you are seriously considering – you aren’t so much looking for validation as you are running them through a background check to ensure they come up clean. You are looking for a reason not to bring them on board. You are ensuring that they are right for you and your staff.

It’s so important to create an environment where staff members can feel free to say that someone has this issue or that issue. This is why I make these threads sort of open ended. When I ask for nominations, I simply ask my staff to put people out there if they feel there is anyone worthy. There is no mimimum and no maximum. I never work to staff-to-member ratios and I never operate under the thought that “we have too many” or “we don’t have enough”. We want good people. Period. If they are there, we will invite them. If they are not, we will live.

So, these staff threads are open ended. People can participate if they want or not participate if they have nothing to add. I don’t ask my staff yes or no questions – I don’t ask them to decide whether or not so and so should join the staff because it’s not about that. I don’t believe your staff should decide who gets promoted (at least, not to their level). They should be able to suggest, they should have input, but as far as making the decision independent of anyone else… I don’t think that’s necessary. It’s not something to vote on, it’s not a popularity contest and majority does not rule. It’s all about finding concerns or potential problems.

Anyway, after I listen to the thoughts of all staff members that wish to participate, I make the final decisions and send out invitations. And we have a new staff members.

But, the point of this post is that, when you are looking at new staff members, you are looking for, as much as anything else, a reason not to bring them on. Staff feedback is really important at this stage. You want them to be honest and to share concerns with you. You want to promote the right people and the way to do that is to pass them through your staff and give any concerns they bring up the appropriate attention.

Don’t flippantly dismiss their concerns. This is a topic for another day, but have high standards, look for the best people in all aspects. Don’t excuse people for rude/harsh/blunt behavior just because they have knowledge. Staff members are the example to aspire to for your members and should have that level of quality in all facets and that includes their personality. You do not want to promote people with bad personality traits thinking they can improve or we can change them. You already want them to be on point. They already need to be a great example for members to follow, or they shouldn’t be considered.