Which qualities are essential in an interim manager and what are the signs that someone is not cut out for interim?
Interim management can be an extremely effective way for organisations to implement solutions to any problems that arise. The world is an unpredictable place where sudden changes can come out of nowhere, making it doubly important to have a way of dealing with these changes swiftly.
One of the primary advantages of interim management is that it allows an organisation to deal with problems unfamiliar to them. For example, the impending Brexit means that many businesses in the UK now have to deal with a whole host of issues that were not previously anticipated before the EU Referendum.
Because of the highly specialised level of expertise needed in this regard, it is far more effective and reliable to bring in an interim manager who is capable of implementing solutions to this rather than attempting to deal with it on your own.
Choosing the right interim manager
There are a number of very important qualities an interim manager must possess if they are going to be able to face the task at hand successfully.
Interim managers are entering into an entirely new environment and system, so it is vital that they are flexible and adaptable in order to quickly assimilate into their new role and hit the ground running. A failure to quickly get up to speed can be critical, especially when you consider the fact that interim managers are often brought in on an emergency basis.
An interim manager is brought in precisely due to the fact that they possess the expertise required for the situation, something that no one else has. This makes them the most qualified to formulate and implement solutions to the problem they have been recruited to deal with.
Firm leadership is absolutely vital here as it also gives others a big boost in confidence, helping the organisation to approach the problem with belief and strength. An interim manager showing signs of doubt and indecision is unlikely to be able to implement any profound changes that are needed to address the problem.
Going into a new organisation with an already-established leadership hierarchy and expecting to make significant changes can sometimes be difficult for interim managers, especially if they are recruited into an inflexible organisation that might not be too open to new ideas.
An interim manager often needs to be outspoken and full of self-belief in order to convince those at the top that their ideas are right for the organisation. Many of those at the top of an organisation might not be too favourable for strong changes at first and may feel that their approach is better – an interim manager needs to have belief in their expertise and demonstrate to those in charge that their specialism in the area is exactly what is needed to achieve progress and success. However, there is a fine line between self-belief and arrogance, and this line should not be crossed by an interim manager. Arrogance is no way to get people on board, and in order to implement the changes needed, quickly and efficiently, an interim manager needs to be able to connect with people and get them to do their bidding.
Interim management is not an easy task. It’s different every time, multiple challenges are uncovered each time, and you are constantly changing workplaces and colleagues. However, for the right person with the right qualities, interim management can be a fantastic and fulfilling career option.
To find out more about how we can help you source the best interim talent for your team, please contact Matthew Gibbs, Managing Consultant.