It's interesting to hear different people's perceptions as to what they believe an Interim Manager is, and more importantly what they actually do. I've heard this described in many different ways over the years with references such as as:
- Business Continuity Manager
- Change Manager
- Executive Temp
- Temporary Manager
I can easily understand how people form these views, given the extent of varying role requirements and the sometimes poorly communicated announcement to the existing team about the new arrival.
I remember one of my more professionally organised assignments where the guy I was to work very closely with, didn't even know I was coming. Difficult enough to hit the ground quickly, it was not made easier by the fact that the under pressure senior guy had not been communicated with.
Anyhow, we managed to get over this quickly and get to grips with the issues at hand, thus the reason why adaptability becomes second nature to the Interim.
Apart from adaptability, the skill of connection is essential in Interim Management. The ability to connect with a wide range of people very quickly is vital, even though many understandably view my involvement with a degree of suspicion or scepticism initially.
More recently I've found that joining existing teams in an advisory or project capacity has returned excellent dividend. Although clear objectives are agreed at the outset, it allows me the opportunity to interact with often under pressure teams, working under radar to see others grow in their roles and achieve success.
Operating in a less prominent capacity I have found that teams respond to encouragement and support on the ground, and this has proved popular with growth organisations. Of course there is a place for classroom based training and I am an advocate of that, however 'on the job' coaching can prove to be very effective also.
I have found that becoming a low key member of the team for a few days a week positively contributes to real issues on the ground. There are complex challenges that face management teams regularly, and I have found my non-biased, experienced management contribution is welcomed, once the right to be heard has been earned of course.