Written by Anna Bernstein on 22 Sep 2014
Over the past 25 years, as traditional resourcing methods have failed to keep up with the ever-growing
pressures and urgency of today’s business landscape. The need for interim managers has also increased, creating a new, full-time profession for those suited to the challenging lifestyle, demands and pressure of the role.
Becoming an interim manager is not for everyone and requires more than just professional experience and a good track record. In such a demanding role, you also need to possess a set of skills and characteristics that will be challenged and expected of you every day.
This article will outline these essential skills and characteristics, helping you to determine whether or not you could become an interim manager.
Focused on the goal
The whole point of employing an interim manager is to ensure the achievement of goals and the delivery of strong results. It is, therefore, integral to the role of an interim manager to be extremely goal orientated.
Often interim managers get leaned upon and drawn into other organisational affairs because of their knowledge and experience. When this happens, it is easy for interim managers to become wrapped up in additional projects, and they sometimes lose sight of the goals to them.
In order to succeed as an interim manager, you need to be strong and avoid being lured into situations that divert you from achieving the goals you have been contracted to pursue and achieve.
Always think two steps ahead
Interim managers have to be excellent strategic thinkers, able to visualise organisations as a whole, act fast to a range of challenging situations, and be able to map out and execute the quickest, most effective strategies to achieve short-term success with longer term goals. Not only that, but to be a successful and sought after interim manager, you need to be able to apply this seamlessly across a wide range of business sectors and models.
The wheel can always be reinvented
The drive to improve, innovate and change is one of the most important qualities of a successful interim manager. The most successful are those that embrace change and inspire innovation; those that can introduce and implement new ideas and strategies with the support of the organisation, building upon an existing business model to drive continual growth and success.
Be a master in communication
It’s one thing to be strategically minded and ambitiously innovative, but it’s another to be able to challenge attitudes and sell new ideas and innovations to those perhaps stuck in their ways.
Unlike normal managerial roles, an interim manager needs to integrate these skills in communication and leadership immediately and effectively from day one in order to quickly engage and gel within an existing organisational structure.
Be prepared for new challenges and changes
Finally, but perhaps most essential, is the understanding and acceptance that being an interim manager is a unique career path full of new challenges and constant changes, both professionally and personally.
Due to the nature of the job, you can often be required to re-locate for several months. Pressure is a huge part of the job, and your ability to rise to new challenges will set you apart from your competition. Assignments can change and evolve, or even cease, at any moment; it is vital that you can adapt and evolve as well. In between assignments, you need to be financially stable as it can also be several months whilst you wait for the next one to come in.
However, this for many is the excitement and attraction of the interim management lifestyle. If you have read the above and are still interested in finding out more about becoming an interim manager, please feel free to contact us today. Alternatively, if you think your organisation could benefit from using the services of an interim manager, we are always happy to talk to new clients and discuss their options.