Interim management and leadership

Ben Hughes: Working with charity leaders

Interim management and leadership

What it is:

Provision of short term cover for management and leadership absences, often following the absence or departure of a senior post holder.

Interim management offers a way of ‘holding’ an organisation during periods of uncertainty. This is vital to maintaining – or providing – strategic clarity, operational effectiveness and clear governance

There are a range of approaches to undertaking short/medium term interim management roles. This might range from ‘light touch’ support, that maintains existing operations and governance. This can provide great development opportunities for existing staff and is well suited to periods of planned absence (e.g. maternity leave, sabbaticals). It can be a highly effective way of ensuring continuity through supported professional development. It is sometimes referred to – misleadingly I think, given the inference that it is therefore straight forward - as a caretaker role.

Alternatively, a more interventionist approach may be required, where change is needed. This may be triggered by funding, personnel or strategic challenges that have arisen, and which present a problem for the organisation in its current form.

Each interim role will be different. I tailor my approach to the specifics of each organisation and its unique situation. I assume the solution often lies within the organisation, and ‘simply’ needs identifying and mobilising.

How you will benefit:

Interim management offers:

  • Swift corrective action, to stabilise organisations and teams following unplanned, sudden change
  • Maintenance of established systems and support for teams during periods of planned absence
  • Breathing space to reflect and manage during periods of transition surrounding change of leadership
  • Holding organisations amidst periods of uncertainty

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