I wrote a post, “Why You Should Never Appoint Caretaker / Interim Leaders” that explored some reasons why caretaker or interim leaders may not be a great for the long-term of your enterprise. However, Michael made a valid point in commenting, that sometimes leadership finds itself with its back against the wall. Thus in instances that interim leaders have to be appointed, these are some of the things you must take into account:
Be very clear about how long the interim / caretaker leadership will be in place. Not having a precise time frame can cause your team to be unsure about actions they need to take.
Do they have the freedom to do certain things in the absence of a more permanent leader? Without clear boundaries functions that depend on the particular leadership may take a knock. You sow seeds of apathy when a clear time frame is not in place.
Acting [insert title here] is prone to act without addressing core issues if the appointed leadership does not see their presence having a long-term impact. Thus, you must give your caretaker leadership full authority to enable them to fulfill the function of their (temporary) role.
This is important especially when the interim leaders need authority of their predecessor to address challenges. In some instances interim leaders may not have authority to fire people from a team when that is necessary for advancing. This can make the caretaker leaders nurses to problems that can be fixed.
Everything in your enterprise is connected. Make sure that you, and the rest of your enterprise understand the implications of the caretaker leadership in relation to the impact on all other functions.
When you appoint caretaker leadership ensure that you are not treating their function in isolation [Tweet this]
As a leader, you must always keep the big picture in sight; yet realize the importance of each function that completes the picture. The temporary ‘patch’ may cause a lot more dominoes if not handled and viewed in context of the enterprise at large.
I highly recommend you also read (if you haven’t done so already):
- Why You Should Never Appoint Caretaker / Interim Leaders
- Dealing With The Ghosts Of My Predecessors
- The Ghosts Of My Predecessors
What what you add? I really would love your to hear your thoughts…