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Interim managers or interim executives are an indispensable resource for many organisations looking to adapt and change. As an experienced executive, you bring a specific set of skills and experiences, as well as a high level of expertise and agility to the company.

But what exactly is the responsibility of an interim manager and why should you consider the opportunity to become one?

why interim management are important
why interim management are important

what is an interim executive?

There are many definitions to what an interim executive is, but almost all agree that it involves a senior executive who joins the organisation for a specific period of time to drive change or transition. Interim executives are highly experienced professionals at the senior leadership level who are employed on a short-term basis to provide effective business solutions.

The term “interim management” is sometimes wrongly used to describe middle and lower management short-term contract roles. In fact, interim managers have very specific experience and skills to manage a project,

from start to finish. They also have to meet very high expectations and standards by the management and leadership team.

The role of an interim executive is assigned when the existing C-suite executives or directors are leaving the organisation or when there is an urgent need for the company to hire someone with a specific skill set or experience to manage a delicate situation, like a business restructuring or merger. 

Interim executive roles are usually temporary, typically lasting from 6 to 18 months. They serve as a good opportunity to develop leadership skills within a short period of time.

However, interim management roles are not suited for everyone. The assignment can be fast-paced and intense, so an effective interim manager must be well-qualified for the role, with a strong, proven track record and competencies that match the high demands and expectations of the job.

why do companies hire for interim management?

Companies hire interim executives for their expertise and specialisms to change the organisation for the best. The main job of the interim manager is to help the organisation meet their goals, gain an understanding of the business challenges and be able to resolve them effectively. They typically possess a growth mindset, along with strong capabilities and agility to resolve new challenges as they occur.

Interim managers are also well-versed in stakeholder management and relationship-building and are able to adapt quickly to different company cultures. This allows them to easily navigate the business to make swift decisions right from their first day.

Companies often hire interim executives to plan and execute a digital transformation strategy or business restructure. Think of them as multi-skilled project managers and to be a good interim manager is to have the capability to help devise a strategy or solution and then implement it across the entire organisation.

7 reasons to accept interim roles and step in as an interim manager

Along with a growing number of opportunities, there are plenty of good reasons to become an interim executive. Here are some of the benefits and advantages of taking an interim role.

reasons to take on a interim manager role
reasons to take on a interim manager role

1. more time for yourself

Interim management jobs give you the option to take a career break between jobs. So they offer much greater flexibility than permanent roles. As a result, you’ll be able to take extended time off when a role finishes, which is ideal if you want to travel or study between any work commitments. Interim managers typically work full-time, between nine and 12 months a year.

2. laser focus on your tasks

The great thing about being in a short-term role like an interim manager is that you can focus on the specific task list and give it your all during your tenure. As you are only in the hot seat for a while, you can solely focus on your critical tasks without having to be distracted by new things being added to the plate. Very few roles come with that sort of privilege.

3. gain more relevant experience

While you come into the role with lots of experience, you will also learn a variety of new skills in an interim management role. You will draw on past experiences, but adapt them to fit the company and its needs. With each new challenge, you’ll get to learn invaluable lessons and meet new people. This will be a great opportunity for you to network and build on your connections too.

4. feel more motivated

Sometimes in a full-time, permanent role managing different projects, you may lack the motivation to perform on a day-to-day basis, especially if you’ve been in the role for a long time. But being drafted into a role like this means you can fire on all cylinders for the duration of the stint. As your success will largely be measured by the outcomes you need to deliver on, you will feel more driven to achieve outstanding results during that limited timeframe.

5. active involvement to deliver impactful results

An interim executive usually works only with an internal team that has been drafted to collaborate with or support you on very specific tasks. Each team member is focussed on one central goal to deliver the desired outcome. Without the distraction of outside agencies or external vendors, you have complete control over the quality of the output.

6. build a good reputation

If you perform well in this job, it can do wonders for your career, and maybe even open more doors to other interim management roles. When you can deliver positive results in a short period of time, you will earn a solid reputation as a strong leader, an efficient cost manager or just someone who can get the job done quickly. Moreover, it will be a great achievement to show off in your resume. Whatever the reputation you build, it is sure to enhance your ability to find your next gig. 

7. develop speed and agility

In this fast-paced business world, speed and agility can make a big difference between success and failure. But in some roles, it’s hard to stay on your toes all the time, especially when you know the job so well. Interim management roles can present fresh challenges that will help you develop that much-desired speed and agility.

is there a demand for interim managers? 

Interim management is a growing force in the management space. Already, many companies, Randstad included, have set a fixed term for their C-suite executives to ensure that there is always fresh perspectives and a steady succession plan within the organisation.

There has been a growing number of companies that are seeking to hire interim executives in recent years. Companies make significant changes to the structure of their operations to keep pace with the changing market demands. Those who have the specific set of skills, experience managing organisational change, business restructuring and crisis management are highly sought-after.

The corporate world is far more dynamic, thanks to rapid technological advancements and digital disruptions. So being highly agile and having the ability to change direction or one’s strategy quickly is vital to an employer.

An interim executive is a specific role well-placed. To execute this role successfully, the right profile can be parachuted into an organisation to bring a fresh perspective, spur innovation as well as quickly help steer the business in the desired direction.

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The benefits of taking on a role as an interim executive are vast, both professionally and personally. You will improve your interpersonal skills, emotional maturity and flexibility in your approach to work, while learning how to navigate different cultures and boardrooms.

If you’re interested in exploring the roles of an interim manager or interim executive, now is the best time to do it. Reach out to us to find out more about our capabilities in executive search. Alternatively you can visit our latest jobs for other executive roles that fit your job requirements.

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