Is an Interim Manager Good for Your Business

Interim Managers are commonly used when a business is between leaders; when one has left and you are waiting on another.  Sometimes they are used when a Key Manager is absent, and the role cannot be left as a shared responsibility among different parties.  More often than not an Interim Manager performs much like an external consultant, they are highly experienced individuals who can help your company efficiently solve problems.

If those are the usual and customary times Interim Managers are used, what does that mean to your business?  What are the details regarding those key uses?

When Exactly Should You Use an Interim Manager

Using an Interim Manager is becoming increasingly common.  They can help a business resolve innumerable issues and tap into talent the business could not otherwise afford.  The areas I mentioned above, and some specifics regarding them are:

Key Manager is Absent – As I often tell my clients, life happens.  Sometimes a personal situation causes a management role to become vacant for several months.  This can be as common as Family and Medical Leave Act absence or a planned sabbatical.  One of these is required by law and can extend beyond the required 12-weeks.  The other is a benefit you offer yours as a retention tool for some of your highly skilled employees.  Regardless of these, or other issues, if the role is critical to the use of an interim Manager may be appropriate.

Seeking a replacement for a key role – Another type of Manager absence is the vacant position.  The role is critical to your operations, and you want to take your time filling it with the right person. Or, you see a need for the role but are not yet prepared to execute a hiring strategy.  You can’t leave it vacant and need someone to do the job now.  This is one of the more common uses of an Interim Manager.

To resolve a short-term issue – Perhaps you have an underperforming division, work unit, department.  The Manager currently in the role is one you still want to retain.  Maybe they need help; maybe they need development.  Regardless an Interim Manager could be a quick and effective way of addressing the issue.

A different perspective or additional bench strength on a project implementation or strategy execution – Outside expertise to address these issues is commonly desired.  The Interim Manager in this type of situation can Coach, Mentor, Advise and motivate a work team for the business to achieve the results they expect.  Further, in this role, the Interim Manager will not only perform these actions, but they can also be held accountable for the accomplishments of the actions.

What Should I Look For in an Interim Manager

We’ve identified the when now what about the who or what?  What should you look for when hiring an Interim Manager?

The Interim Manager has to meet your needs.  Their Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities should be:

Understanding – The Interim Manager should have a strong understanding of the process that your business uses.    They must also be able to explain or express what that process is to others, including the Team performing them.

Metrics – The Interim Manager not only understands metrics, they understand what and how to measure data.  Their role must include the improvement of performance, productivity, and profitability.  As a result, they must be able to demonstrate how well they have accomplished this.

People Skills – The Interim Manager must become a part of the Team they are Managing or Leading.  The Interim Manager must know how to communicate, explain, coach and mentor as they become a part of that Team.

Interim Managers can play a key and important role in your business.  Regardless of your size, whether you are a $4M or a $400M or a $4B enterprise, Interim Management can help drive improved success in your business.  Utilizing them when appropriate AND hiring the right one, will ensure success.  This is not the time to settle on someone with limited skills who doesn’t want to engage with you in your workplace or who only knows the numbers on your Income Statement and isn’t in your production area understanding what makes those numbers happen.  A good Interim Manager is there, on-site, and multiple times a week.  They don’t have to be there every day nor do they even have to be there every week.  They do have to be present, reachable and proficient.  Consider an Interim Manager for your business and reap the benefits from them.  After all, it’s your business.