5 Key Attributes to Be a Great Interim Manager

Mark Higgs our consultant managing the role
Author: Mark Higgs
To be a successful Interim Manager requires in my opinion 5 key attributes! Not only a track record of delivery at board level, but well executed experience with the ability to hit the ground running.

1. Excellent communication skills Being able to deliver clearly and concisely to a range of stakeholders is paramount. This is especially important when it comes to pushing back and challenging attitudes and systems in particular. As an Interim Manager, you need to be able to handle a variety of scenarios, with resilience yet maintain a sense of human nature to really embed yourself into a business and gain respect from your team and wider business.

2. Being a Chameleon... Being flexible and adaptable and not being fazed by uncertainty as well as always reading between the lines is critical to the success of an Interim Manager.

You must not be shy in rolling up your sleeves as operating at the top table is essential to be an effective Interim Manager. This also goes as far as dealing with often unconventional working processes, your ability to being prepared to travel or work away or even being flexible on your day rate / potential earnings is critical.

Though the benefits of working as an Interim Manager can be lucrative, in terms of each particular role, job satisfaction and reward you will have to deal with uncertain times and change. This would all extend to not only your work but personal life too, it’s all about being the Chameleon...

3. Change management & process re-engineering As an Interim Manager, you should always be in a position that you like to question how things should be better! You’ll be the sort who is never happy with the norm. You’ll always want to go the extra mile, create new ideas and be the innovative type to get better results. If this sounds like you, you have the greatest attributes to be a truly impactful Interim Manager.

Improvement and change are generally speaking major aspects of many interim assignments. Those of you who question behaviours which are “the norm” to an organisation, attitudes and ways of working, will have a much greater degree of success. The hunger for improvement, needs to be finely tuned with the ability to positively influence and motivate people to change or it simply causes resentment.

4. Blue-sky thinking As a permanent or interim professional, you will always be thinking “Strategy, Strategy, Strategy”, looking holistically at the business and considering the best approach to achieve the desired outcome.

Whilst as an Interim Manager the key is balancing the “Strategic Thinking” with the speed of delivery and execution, as you will need to apply your skills with speed and urgency to a range of often time critical scenarios. 

Those who are often highly the most successful and sought after in the market are those who can deliver time and time again in a range of different industries and commercial settings.

5. Focused on delivery Interim Managers are focused on delivering results usually very fast with benefits which go on for years. They are paid, usually a competitive and often premium rate on the understanding that goals and objectives will always be achieved.

To be a successful Interim Manager you'll need to learn hone in and focus on the outcomes that you've committed to achieving in order to guarantee the success of your assignment. In many turnaround missions there will undoubtedly be a lot of background noise which could be very distracting. Be of the mindset, “I do not need to attend every meeting”!  

31/08/17
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