What is the Role of an Interim Executive?

When your business experiences an immediate need for leadership, it can be tough to find the perfect fit for your company. When a leadership transition is poorly managed, it erodes the effectiveness of your group and the quality of service you provide. It can also spell disaster for team morale.

When you need leadership in a hurry, what should you do? Many companies find it helpful to hire an interim executive, to provide high-level direction until they can vet and onboard a permanent hire. Here is everything you need to know about the role of an interim executive and how having one will help your business.

They cooperate with the board of directors

Your business’ board of directors guides all hiring decisions, and that includes the decision to bring on an interim executive director. A good candidate has experience working with a board, and can even help them through the process when the time comes to transition to a permanent executive.

If you’re making the hiring decision for the role of an interim executive, look for someone who has personal experience serving on a board of directors. The more varied the experience, the better. This background helps the interim executive guide the board in deepening their engagement and creating a solid strategy to find the permanent leader.

They act as a stabilizing force

When an executive leader leaves a company, other staff members likely have concerns. It’s only natural that this kind of a change makes them worry about their own futures. It can lead to a host of problems, including discord among the group and an overall loss of morale. A good interim executive director is able to step right in and calm the emotions of the group. They develop quick relationships with the team, get a thorough knowledge of who they are and how each person contributes to the organization’s overall goals.

They validate your business model

A successful interim executive needs to take an objective look at an organization’s financial situation. They need to quickly learn about how the current business model is working and whether the organization is making money. By being ready to go on day one, the best interim executives see where the business model doesn’t quite align with what’s happening financially, and they approach the board for potential solutions.

They set the tone for the company

An interim executive should remind employees of the guiding principles that your company follows. They do this by leading by example. Great candidates for interim executives are the first to follow company values as soon as they arrive at your business. They encourage all employees to do the same. During meetings, corporate events and more, your interim executive should constantly reinforcs these values.

They act as the public face of the business

The best businesses integrate with their local community. It’s a great way to improve a company or brand’s image. A proactive interim executive gets involved in local networking whenever possible. They are your public face during the transition period. They pay attention to what affects the people in the community around them. A company’s engagement with the community is especially valued by employees and potential customers in the region.

 They allow you to try out a new management style

All executives have a distinct management style that guides a company’s culture. This is especially true if your previous executives led the company for a long time. An interim executive introduces employees to a brand-new working style. If the style doesn’t align with the rest of the team, it helps you know what to look out for in your permanent hire.

They help you find the right fit

The executive director serves as the driving force of your organization, which is why you need to take your time to find the right fit. You don’t want your new permanent executive to become an unintentional interim. If you feel rushed to make a quick decision, it could actually cost you a lot of money in the long run. When you have a competent person to fill the role of interim executive, you have the time to find a candidate whose talents match your required skill set.

Interim executives play an essential, transitionary role

Whether your company experiences an unexpected leadership change, or if your board of directors desires a fresh perspective, interim executives provide support when you need it most. By bringing a new set of eyes to your business, they can help you look critically at some of the areas that are in need of improvement.

If your company’s leadership situation is in transition, count on the expertise of an experienced interim executive to help you successfully bridge the gap for a successful long-term future. With a steady hand, they can guide you through even the most difficult transitions.

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