Today’s business world is evolving faster and faster. New projects and tasks often emerge at short notice and on short deadlines, but implementation usually requires a lot of experience as well as leadership. If there is a staff shortage, experienced interim managers step in for the implementation and help the company to quickly achieve the set goals. In this article we explain what exactly interim management is and what advantages it can offer you.

If you use experienced interim managers for the right tasks when needed, you can benefit considerably as a company. We help you find the right manager – whether in Europe or in Asia.

What is an Interim Management

It is commonly summarized as a temporary manager who takes over important tasks in the company for a certain period of time (meaning: ad interim). This often involves project work but can also be activities in the operational area with management responsibility. The duration of the assignment is usually 3 to 24 months. After completion of the agreed upon tasks or the agreed period, this person leaves the company again.

This is because they operate as a freelance manager, so a long-term commitment is not necessary. Interim management is often confused with consulting, these differentiate themselves through the latter having no operational responsibility, and only encourages implementation. Interim management, on the other hand, is supposed to act operationally and take responsibility for both activities and implementation. This is precisely why it is so important that the interim manager has a lot of management experience.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using an interim manager?

Finding the right manager for an important project, operational tasks, restructuring, or other tasks is not always easy. Often there is already a staff shortage as well as a high workload at this level. Taking on additional tasks is therefore not an option for existing managers. Moreover, they may not have the necessary experience in a specific field and would therefore only be suitable for implementation after a lengthy training period.

Advantages

This is exactly where interim management provides vast benefits. You receive an experienced manager with strong leadership skills on short notice who, if required, is already very familiar with the area of operation. In addition, the existing managers do not have to neglect their own activities in the day-to-day business because the interim manager can often work completely independently due to his many years of experience.

Of course, short-term commitment also plays a very important role. Especially when deploying them for temporary tasks or projects, you may not want to create an additional management position on a permanent basis. Similarly, as an external employee, the interim manager can take a completely different look at the company and identify problems or inefficiencies. Ultimately, he or she is also available as an experienced interim solution to bridge the gap until a permanent manager is found for the position.

Disadvantages

Although an interim manager is very familiar with his or her area of expertise, he or she has to familiarize himself or herself with the company, and that takes time. Time can be lost before he or she knows all the significant processes, departments and people. There may also be problems with internal acceptance – especially if critical tasks such as restructuring, or reform are to be taken on.

In addition, you must be aware that interim management often gains confidential insights into the company. After all, without the relevant information, important projects can hardly be managed effectively and management positions cannot be appropriately filled. However, knowledge can also be lost during the hand-over after the completion of one’s tasks. This is a common problem in the working world that also has to be managed accordingly after each employee leaves.

What are the tasks of an interim manager?

As briefly mentioned before, interim management can take on numerous and versatile tasks in the company. In principle, all activities in which an experienced manager is necessary are suitable. They are not limited to project tasks, but also include operationally important positions.

These include, among others, the following tasks:

– Carrying out important and specialized projects

– Taking on operational tasks with management responsibility

– Setting up new business areas and internationalisation (e.g. to Asia)

– Implementing necessary restructuring or reforms

– Supporting the management in critical phases

– Bridging to the search for a permanent manager

– Support with succession solutions 

Of course, depending on the area of operation and the company, there are many other important activities that an experienced interim manager can usually perform without issue. If the managing director is absent for a longer period of time for health reasons, an interim manager can help until the successor is found or the deputy is ready to take over. First, it is important to have the right professional qualifications and good social skills. Especially for interim solutions in an international context. For example, it can make sense to send the experienced interim manager to Asia to build up the Asian business instead of younger manager who knows neither the local conditions nor the markets. This does not mean that the young talent should be active in other markets for a longer period of time. But if local success is an important element, then experience and local expertise are needed.

What are the differences between interim managers?

There are two main differences for interim managers in terms of liability risk. These depend on whether an interim manager acts with or without board liability within the company. You must therefore weigh up both options carefully before making a decision. Both options can offer different advantages and disadvantages.

Interim managers with directors’ and officers’ liability

In this case, the interim management takes over both management tasks and a position in the management or on the board of directors. The manager therefore belongs to the legal bodies of the company for a limited period of time, which results in liability under company law.

In this case, the so-called organ liability applies, which is not covered by the regular professional liability insurance. Additional insurance can be useful here, for example to protect against possible claims for damages in the event of a breach of duty.

Interim managers without directors’ and officers’ liability

Even without board liability, the manager can take on management tasks in the company, for example as a project or department manager. In this case, however, he does not belong to the legal bodies of the company and isn’t represented in the management or in the board of directors.

Since the liability of the executive bodies does not apply, in this case the general law of obligations from his consultancy contract applies. The interim manager or his employer is therefore free to minimise a possible liability risk by taking out the necessary additional insurance.

Conclusion on interim management

The global skills shortage not only affects the operational level but also clearly reflects in the field of experienced managers. In addition, the business world is moving faster and faster and requires flexible solutions to reliably solve temporary problems. This can pose major challenges for companies today, because finding experienced managers with leadership experience at short notice is practically impossible.

This is exactly where interim management provides vast benefits. You get an experienced manager at short notice who can take over tasks and positions without neglecting the important day-to-day of business. Make absolutely sure that not only the professional competences fit, but also the social skills leave a good impression. Only then will you as a company benefit from the maximum added value.

As a leading interim management company with many years of expertise in Asia, we can help you find the right manager for your needs. We are particularly specialised in the European and Asian markets and are always at your side on site. Contact us now and let us advise you.

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