I have a team of 14 developers and QAs.
I am thinking in making some leadership development for them by making confidential election for the team leader of this quarter by following simple rules as below:

  1. Election is confidential (nobody knows who the others have elected)
  2. You can't elect yourself
  3. The team will be divided into two teams, based on Roles and target, and thus every round will make two leaders
  4. The leader is eligible to be a leader only once, so once you are a leader this quarter, you can't be in the next quarters
  5. The one with max number of elections would be responsible to hold the KPIs of the whole team, to follow up with them and take care of their attendance and vacation requests
  6. He will be the only one reporting to me directly, and i will follow up with him/her for the team progress and mentor and coach him continuously.
  7. For next quarter, we will have this election once again to have new leader

I would highly appreciate if you share with me your thoughts, pros and cons of this method and if anybody has done it before

  • 5
    this is a pretty bad idea. why not just put them all on rota instead? why make "the popular ones" get the rewards? is your company based on getting results, or on high school popularity?
    – bharal
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 0:05
  • @bharal, i was thinking in introducing some taylorism in their management and leadership skills. just as a kind of rotating development plan (as this team leader will be changed every three months). I was thinking that this could break the ice between the team and make them feel more contributing and more productive
    – WEB
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 3:21
  • 1
    If you do this, make sure you allow your members to say whether they want to be elected into this role, as some people might not be interested.
    – Erik
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 8:30

4 Answers 4


You asked for "thoughts" which isn't really a specific question and is fairly open ended. If you have a specific question, you may want to edit your post to clarify.

Leadership development is a good idea. Pretty self-explanatory. Businesses need leaders, developing existing staff is a good way to keep people engaged and promote people you already know. The employees win, the company wins, everyone is happy.

Letting the developers vote to determine participation is a bad idea. You don't seem to plan on giving your staff any criteria, so it's hard to say if they'll know who to pick. What if:

  • They vote for someone who doesn't want to be a leader? Lots of people are perfectly happy as individual contributors.
  • They vote for someone who isn't good at leading? Being a good developer isn't the same as being good at leading developers. Yes, you're trying to develop leaders, but some people are able to be developed, and others aren't.
  • They vote for someone just because they're popular, regardless of the first two points? You're giving them some of the control YOU are supposed to have and allowing them to basically undermine your position.

Tying a leadership development program to a (temporary) change in position/responsibilities is a bad idea. Even if you solve the above issues by choosing the person yourself, or using some specific criteria to choose them, I don't think the rest of your plan is very sound, either:

  • Is your corporate HR supposed to have a role in determining or managing org structure? Is there a process for creating new positions that you're dodging here?
  • Will the employees who are elected reasonably expect additional compensation for the additional responsibilities?
  • Is there potential for legal or organizational issues if you're handing off an official responsibility, such as managing attendance and vacation requests?

Does your employer have an official leadership development program you can refer your staff to? If not, does your corporate HR have a channel you can suggest and develop one though?


Typically a manager tracks KPIs.

Typically a supervisor tracks attendance and vacation requests.

Why are you delegating a management function (KPI evaluation) to someone else?

I don't know what you mean by "take care of" their attendance and vacation requests, but if you're going to delegate this work I think you should ask the following questions:

  1. Do all of the 14 developers and QA analysts have time to do this work, rather than other responsibilities?
  2. Do all the people eligible to be "elected" even want to do this work?
  3. Is there information in KPIs that would be considered confidential and relevant to performance evaluations? If so, having peers collect and evaluate that data may not be appropriate (even if the duty is rotated amongst team members).
  • The target of this exercise was just to improve their leadership skills. Re KPIs, I was thinking to mentor and guide this candidate for what to do and how to get the KPIs accomplished.
    – WEB
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 3:12
  • @WEB There is a difference between tasks that are performed by management and tasks that confer leadership skills. If I went into a performance review, asked for more opportunities to learn leadership skills and my manager responded by saying they'd let me track people's vacation time I'd start laughing. That's an administrative task. KPI tracking is only marginally better. When someone asks for leadership opportunities they're asking for the chance to take an idea from thought into practice, developing the process, goals and people-management skills needed to make that happen. Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 13:29

This seems a staggeringly vaguely bad idea.

I'll admit I don't know what your "taylorism" is, but let's outline why I dislike it.



Significant detail has been added to the question - including having multiple groups, and the limiting terms & no re-election of past winners.

Even with this, and these are welcome changes, I still have reservations about the election process. The staff in your team don't know how popular they are - some will think they're more popular than they are, for example. I see no benefit for these people to discover the truth - it is not going to get them to change their ways, only feel worse. Those who are more popular than they thought won't work harder, and worse, what if the most popular person isn't the hardest worker?

What is that going to do for the culture of your team - this is going to have an impact, which you are unaware of, and the impact is utterly out of your hands. Why on earth would you want to gamble like this?

You should just let all team members know the plan, know when they're scheduled to manage a team, inform them the schedule can change, but is generally a good guideline (and not change the schedule unless there's a good reason).

You could consider having three teams after the first three months - not only will this get you through the entire team faster, but you can let the previous two leaders manage the leader of the third team. This would create a lengthened training process (people do learn when they train!) as well.

End Edit

It's because of the election process. Everything else seems sound.

You're effectively making your workplace into a popularity contest. Everything else you suggest - the 3 month periods, the mentoring, seems fine, although with 14 staff will take you several years to give everyone a shot - might you not break the 14 into two groups of 7 apiece, each with a leader? It's unwieldy for a manager to have more than ~5 direct reports anyway. This way you can get through everyone in less than 2 years. Breaking into groups of 5 will yield even swifter throughput, although that depends on how much bandwidth you have for mentoring.

But, back to the election process - what is going to happen to the least popular members of your team? Exactly. They're

  • never going to get a chance to develop into leaders
  • going to be aware they're not getting the chance
  • going to be aware they're not getting a chance as they're not popular
  • going to leave, with a bitter taste in their mouth

You can break staff into 4 groups - along an x-plane of hard workers, and a y-plane of talent. You've got then high talent, hard working, high talent & lazy and so on. The mistake many managers make is focussing on the high-talent hard workers. Yes, you want to fire the low talent lazy people, but the low talent hard workers and the high talent lazy people make up a large chunk of your organisation. Why not train them? Worse, giving benefits to the A-tier types is often wasted - they're the people who are going to to and get extra training on their own anyway!

Your plan of popularity falls into this trap - you're not going to be focusing your management efforts on training those who would most benefit, but probably the star performers. So it's an interesting combination of disincentivizing a large bloc, and ignoring another large bloc.

So almost all cons from me, I'm afraid.

  • What makes you think people wouldn't be able to elect the person they think would be most suited to handle the job?
    – Erik
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 5:55
  • @Erik Look at all the elected world leaders, including the just-today-resigned president of Peru, and tell me again why I shouldn't doubt that people typically vote the person best suited to handle the job.
    – bharal
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 6:01
  • 1
    Well, I guess if you randomly collect people from the street and give them jobs, you might have a point. I'd hope the hiring practices are a little stricter, though.
    – Erik
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 6:03
  • @Erik reasonably sure that OPs hiring practices didn't discriminate on "the ability to pick a leader"...
    – bharal
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 6:07
  • Maybe it should, then. Seems like a pretty basic skill in a well functioning team.
    – Erik
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 6:11

The only people who should be making decisions like this is management. The workplace is NOT a democracy.

  • Why can't it be? Top-down, command-and-control, Taylorism is not the only way. Self-organizaing teams can be very successful. Drive by Dan Pink: youtu.be/u6XAPnuFjJc Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 0:39
  • 1
    I did not say that there should be no hierarchy. Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 0:53
  • @AlanLarimer fair enough, I misunderstood you
    – Kilisi
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 1:27
  • To the user who raised Low Quality Post flag. We can have different opinions about this answer. But, I must disagree that this one is of low quality.
    – Nobody
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 3:21

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