Every company has its own culture that it wants to preserve. As a company grows it becomes harder to preserve its culture as you as a manager need (and should) give up control to team leads and to people you manage.
Good company has a set of values, best practices and culture. When you hire a new person to the company it takes a while until he/she learns and assimilates himself with the company’s culture.
When you put someone in a managerial position where they need to lead other people, there is a mini culture that is being created for each team. If you did your job right this mini culture is more or less aligned with the overall culture of the company.
For a fast growing company building new teams is necessary. The team lead plays a major role in building the team and setting its mini-culture. Hiring a person for a team-lead position is a huge gamble, since he comes with a different set of values, methodologies and culture from the previous jobs they had.
Also, the fact that a person was a team-lead on a different company does not necessary means he has what it takes to be a team lead at another company with a different culture and methodologies. This is especially true for people who want to change positions and did not previously led a team, but are looking to be one. Since you don’t know them you don’t know if they are the kind of people you want to lead your teams.
So what to do in order to make your new team lead successful at his job? The thing I like to do with people who may be hired as team leads is to tell them straight that we don’t promise a team lead position, but they will need to start working as an engineer with a team lead potential, learn the culture, methodologies and best practices for about 6 months where we will have the chance to evaluate if that person is good enough to be a team lead. After a period of time when the need to a new team lead arises we will consider them to be one in case they fit the position.
I also like this method because it promotes people from within the organization and allows people to grow inside the company and not having to leave the company in order to get a promotion. Also by the time a person becomes a team lead he already had a chance to gain the respect of his peers and be more accepted as a team lead.
What do you think?