Getting the best from an interim manager

Once a professional interim manager has been engaged, businesses can unlock their potential by giving them the access and resources they need. • Expect a rapid start. Interim managers add value very quickly. Long induction processes are not needed. They simply require them the contacts and authority to get on with it.

  • Allow responsibility and control. Interim managers are capable of judging how best to approach and control the assignment. They should be given the responsibility to implement.
  • Meet regularly. Both parties should keep up to date and discuss assignment progress as it proceeds. Clients should engage with the interim manager to support their implementation.
  • Interim managers manage. They are not a lower-level contractor. They should have direct management responsibility for direct employees, departments, divisions or companies.
  • Interim managers hold budgets. The interim manager need not be shackled with red tape. They should have no less budget holding or ‘sign-off’ authority than an equivalent executive.
  • Interim managers have no political agenda. They can operate aside of the politics and hierarchy of an organisation. They are not there to supplant permanent employees. They will operate as close to or as apart from the organisation as the assignment requires.
  • Expertise is helpful not threatening. Interim managers are certainly very well qualified, but they are very unlikely to stay, so their deep experience is of no threat to incumbents.
  • Interim managers tackle difficult and sensitive work. Interim managers are adept at appropriately pointing out ‘elephants in rooms’. Not tied to employment, they are well placed to address uncomfortable truths, difficult discussions and unpopular activities.
  • Interim managers spot the danger signs. Interim managers can professionally and candidly share with clients things that they need to know, regardless of political expediency. What the client does with the information is up to them, but the insight can be priceless.
  • Leaving a legacy. Interim managers are a great source of knowledge and development for the people they come into contact with. They do not have an interest in hiding or hoarding their knowledge because they do not have a permanent job to defend.
  • Interim managers welcome endorsement on success. As independent businesses interim managers rely on client endorsements, which they can use for marketing purposes or in the preparation of case studies for future presentation. They will appreciate that.
  • Keeping in touch. Interim managers may provide coaching and further support on an ad hoc basis. Interim managers and clients keeping in touch is mutually beneficial.

Interim managers need the authority and control to make a difference, or they will have one hand tied behind their back, reducing their value to the business.