Choosing and Managing Your Team

Getting people you can trust to help you run your community can be the single biggest problem an admin can have. Promoting users that you can work with is not an easy task. Even harder, as your community grows, is getting all the staff members to work together as a team. With this article I will try to make that task a bit easier. I originally posted this at The Admin Zone in this thread.

Choose your team carefully. If your forum is s startup don’t advertise for staff. Instead watch how members interact with each other. For one new communities don’t need moderators until the member base increases. By the time the membership gets to 100 you’ll have a good sampling of posts and get a good feel for who would make a good team member. Ask that person or persons as the case may be if they would be interested. Once you have a few leaders in place then put in some sort of nomination and voting process to add more team members. It is imperative that team members have input on this process. They are the ones that have to “work” with the other members of the team.

Once you have your team in place then as an admin step back from moderation duties and concentrate on maintaining the site and being a part of the community. Make sure you have guidelines in place for them to follow and make sure they have a say in creating them. Once that is done let your team run things. After all you put them in place so you should trust them to run the place for you. Never give the team the impression that you are watching every move they make. If one of the team members does something you don’t think is right then discuss it with them privately. Never call a person out in public. As the site grows or as team members retire let you team select the replacements. After they decide who to promote do the promotion and welcome the new leader. Never run a community as a dictator.

Now you have an active community and have your team in place. For whatever reason team members become inactive for long periods of time. Everyone at one time or another has to change priorities and doesn’t have the time to devote to a community. Most of the time these people end up coming back and getting involved again once time permits. I myself have had staff members leave for a year or more and come back to the community and become an active leader.
So what do you do with these inactives?
Nothing. Leave them be. They aren’t hurting anything. Instead nominate another member or ask your team for nominations and promote who they choose. Whatever you do do not remove them without first contacting them. Send them an email, not a PM, if they are inactive they won’t see the PM, and ask them if they would like to retire from their position. Some will tell you they will be back as soon as time permits and ask that you leave them. Let them be. Some will retire, but, ask for the option to have the position back if they become active again. Tell them that is what you’ll do. Move them into a retired group with read permissions on the staff forums. From my experience a retired leader will come back and read the staff forum to catch up on new rules before they ask for reinstatement. Once they ask welcome them back with open arms. In any case never remove a staff member without first conversing with them.
There is really no reason to remove staff for inactivity.

Staff disagreements happen. The best thing to do is to let them air their differences in the staff forum. If staff members start to argue in public move the post to the staff forum. Let the ones that have the disagreement try and work things out. Whatever you do don’t take sides. Let them work this out themselves. The problem will die out pretty fast and things will be back to normal.

The above is tried and true. It has worked on every community that I own or have owned. It took a while for me to be able to just sit back and let my teams run the place. I can enjoy the communities more by participating in my communities instead of managing them. I’m sure you will too.

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