How to succeed as an interim leader

Being an interim manager is a special job. You will enter a new business with which you are unfamiliar. The customer has high expectations and you must be operational from day one - literally. How to succeed in such a situation? Here you can find 10 crucial things that an interim manager must do in order to succeed. The advice has been compiled by one of our experienced interim managers, Ulf Deinoff.

Prior to the commencement of the interim assignment

1) Obtaining information

Obtain an organisational chart, annual reports, do a Google search, establish contact with management, the board of directors and owners.

During the interim assignment

2) Establish transparency and respect

Meet with the CEO, immediate supervisor and HR manager to establish any expectations and identify any challenges. Ensure that you have personal meetings with all managers at the same level, managers reporting to the interim manager and introduce yourselves to employees as soon as possible.

3) Ask questions and be attentive: Get to know the employees and the corporate culture

Identify your immediate helpers and any sources of opposition. "Management By Walking Around". Show yourself and show an interest in the work conducted by each employee. Stop for a chat now and again. Answer any questions. Establish contact with and meet with employee representatives. Look at each individual and what they contribute.

4) Listening and learning: familiarising yourself with important procedures  

This means you will not have to ask about everything and/or appear disinterested or superficial.

5) Transparency: establishing meeting places

Establish areas where your employees can raise their ideas, input and any frustrations. Remember to provide information, feedback and justifications. It is important to include and involve employees.

6) Clarity: Report upwards

Report on what has been planned and what has been done. It is important to pass on news of positive events and progress both across and upwards in the organisation. Deal with negative events and comments immediately to prevent situations from developing.

7) Make yourself available: challenge and support  

Can you add something new, different or exciting? Take the initiative for social events, ideally with a professional theme. Show an interest in your employees during your period as an interim manager and stay in touch to see how they are doing via e-mail or telephone once the assignment has been completed.

8) Humility: look for potential "crown princes and princesses"

Be a great source of support and develop those you can identify potential in. Look for the positives and build on them.

9) Mood: it is important for both you and employees to be happy

Remember that your mood is one of your most important tools.

After the assignment

10) Hand over the baton

You must ensure continuity and that the person taking over receives the necessary information and knowledge to be able to "keep running" without losing momentum.