7 Do-or-Die Questions to Succeed as the Sudden Leader
by Kate Nasser |
You’ve heard the title before: interim leader or acting manager. I dub this position sudden leader because the need often arises suddenly and is quite often temporary.
Sudden interim leaders often don’t know those they will lead or they know them as peers. They are tapped to fill a gap and thrust with no trust.
They carry the burden of interim status with the challenge of inspiring an unsettled organization or team.
Since so much of what is written is for the full-time leader or manager, I pen this post of 7 do-or-die questions to succeed as the sudden interim leader. I welcome your experience and voice in the comments section below.
- Why Do They Need an Interim Leader? You may only get the formal answer. Yet if they are closed lipped about the reasons, be suspicious. You may even want to pass on the opportunity.
- Why you? Ask why you, specifically, are being asked to fill the gap. It not only gives you confidence in the early days it is also the foundation for initial discussions with your organization/team. In the worst case, it gives you a chance to decline the offer if they say we can’t find anyone else (and yes this does happen)!
- What is your primary purpose?
Will your boss want you to:
Be the temporary focal point for well performing organization? or
Establish peace in troubled waters? or
Whip the team into performance shape for the new full-time leader? or
Rebuild the reputation of the organization? or
Discover core problems and make recommendations? or
Stay the course while they decide on new plans for the organization?
- What does success look like to your boss? This is not a repeat of question #3. When you ask this question, you will get either additional detail or shocking contradiction. Either way, it is a secret to succeeding as the sudden interim leader or acting manager.
- What Are the Hot Risks? What crises are brewing? Will you and the organization have the tools, experience, and authority to handle them? To succeed as the interim leader, find the quicksand before you step in it.
- May I Speak With the Team Before Deciding on the Offer? It is a reasonable request and often the answer is yes. If you are not from the organization, you will learn critical information. Hearing the views of those you will temporarily lead allows you to decide if you are the right one for the job and if the job offers enough compensation given the challenges.
- What is the Picture for Me? If you are from within the organization, what happens to you and your career when the full-time leader is selected? Your future picture impacts your present success and the present success, your future. Better to know than be surprised later.
What other questions would you ask? What else would you recommend for success as the sudden interim leader or acting manager?
With our shared experience we soar to success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
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Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, delivers coaching, workshops, keynotes, and DVDs that turn interaction obstacles into interpersonal success for customer service, collaboration, teamwork, and leading change. See this site for workshops outlines and customer results. Fill the gaps of diversity with business wins!