5 Tips for Succeeding as an Interim Executive

Regardless of the situation, leadership is challenging. However, the role of an interim chief executive officer is challenging. Your role may feel ambiguous since it’s unclear where your authority begins and ends. And recalcitrant team members may challenge your leadership.

Stockholders and other executives may expect you to adapt quickly, “make friends and influence enemies” rapidly, and produce swift results. These expectations can interfere with the practical aspects of just doing your job. And the temporary nature of interim management ramps up the pressure since everyone expects you to complete your task speedily.

Even the most experienced leaders might feel apprehensive about an interim position.

So, if you’re apprehensive, here are some tips to help you as an interim manager.

Know Your Role

One way to avoid confusion and conflict is to gain absolute clarity about your role. You need to know any goals, timelines, and upper management expectations. Be sure to acquaint yourself with other critical players in the assigned project. Ensure you know the best way to communicate with stakeholders and other members of the C-Suite.

Build Trust

This is one of the most important things you can do as you enter interim executive management. Establish rapport immediately. Trust is the foundation of effective relationships, which pivotally affects your impact as an interim leader. Your new team must recognize that your primary objective is empowering them. Begin building trust in this new workplace by demonstrating that you can . . .

  • Respect the team members and their history with the organization.
    • Remain transparent.
    • Support them.
    • Listen to them.
    • Are competent, committed, and credible. 

Practice Emotional Intelligence

Depending on the reason behind your temporary position, you may need to ask hard questions and do demanding tasks. It takes emotional intelligence to balance the confidence and empathy required to lead people through transitions. Make it a point to avoid internal politics and willingly adapt to the culture around you.

 Be Willing To Learn and Grow

Interim management provides a fantastic opportunity to grow as a leader. Think of all the different skill sets and perspectives you’ll be getting under your belt! The different company cultures, industries, and job contexts will expand your sphere of influence. Maximize this opportunity! Ask good questions. Remain humble. Seek feedback.

Focus on Results

Interim management jobs can last anywhere from six months to two years. Consequently, you’ll rarely have extra time at your disposal. You must remain hyper-vigilant and stay on point. Then assess the key issues that stand between you and your ultimate goal.

At the Robert Joseph Group, we are uniquely positioned to help those looking for interim executive positions. We recognize that you have a specialized skill set and experience and bring top-level talent to the table. Contact us today: we’ll help you find your next step!