Generally interim assignments go wrong when the relationship between the client and the interim manager sours.

Here are some ways to ensure the client-interim manager relationship remains strong.

1.      Set Clear Expectations

  • Hiring an interim manager isn’t any different from hiring anyone – if you’re hiring you need to be clear what your expectations are:
  1. Write a position description
  2. Define the expected outputs and how performance, value will be measured
  3. Define the kind of person you’re looking for – experience, education, expertise, personality, etc
  4. Define the reporting relationships and process – how will the interim manager be held accountable and by who?
  5. Don’t forget the mundane stuff like hours and holidays
  6. There are lots of interim jobs that lead to full time employment – if that’s what you’re looking for be clear – it will affect who you want to employ and who wants to be employed


2.      Provide Access and Frequent, Proactive Feedback

  • Managing an interim manager isn’t any different from hiring anyone – leaving them on their own too much is a bad thing
  1. Make sure the reporting relationships and accountability are clear
  2. Set a formal schedule for one-on-one meetings and output reviews
  3. Deal with concerns and provide feedback in a timely and proactive fashion before problems become too big to fix


3.      Ensure the Interim Manager has Adequate Resources.

  • When an interim manager has a big job but insufficient resources the project will fail; before engaging an interim manager, define:
  1. What resources – people, dollars, equipment, etc the interim manager will have access to
  2. Ensure those resources are available – and in the case of people on-side with the support they will need to provide


4.      Adapt and Ensure Flexibility around the Arrangement

  • Things change and learning will frequently occur as assignment progress.
  1. Stay close enough to the interim assignment to see what’s happening
  2. Discuss learning and needs on an on-going basis with the interim manager. Get and seek input on how to adapt.
  3. Implement necessary changes on a timely basis.