Confessions of an interim manager

For weeks, I’ve been debating how I was going to blog about my experience as an interim manager. Was I going to sugar coat it and say that everything was wonderful or do I focus on the gory details? Neither. I’m going to be honest.

As I alluded to in a previous post, my boss unexpectedly resigned in early March giving two weeks notice. She had been offered a great opportunity that she would’ve been foolish to pass up.  With only two weeks to decide how the office would run in the interim, the decision was made four days before her departure. The Friday before she left, my boss asked if I would consider becoming the interim manager. As someone who wasn’t even the most senior member of the team, I was extremely honored by the request. On her last day, it was announced that I would be the interim manager of the team. No title change. No salary increase. However, a great opportunity to gain additional management experience and a bonus.

Looking back on these last few months, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons.

A colleague today can turn into a hater tomorrow

There were a couple of staffers who hated the idea of me as their manager. HATED. No matter how much respect I showed them, they never accepted me as their boss even on a temporary basis. What’s that saying about the devil you know vs the devil you don’t know?

Delegate, delegate, delegate

Running the office while doing my regular job required an extra set of hands or three.  Thank God for staff and interns who are willing to do the things you don’t have time to do.

Being short-staffed sucks

In the midst of my time as interim, one staffer left to go back to school and another left to move to Wisconsin. Delegate, delegate, delegate became a necessary evil.

Think long and hard before deciding if you want the job permanently

Some promotions are worth having. Some are not. Sometimes, being denied a promotion can be a blessing in disguise.

Management = more emails, more meetings

My poor inbox exploded during my interim period. I can’t tell you how many listservs I was added to. My meeting schedule was equally daunting. I had, on average, 9 weekly meetings. I honestly don’t know how my boss did this and got any work done.

Being in management does have its perks

Being a manager allowed me to attend meetings and trainings I may not have received otherwise. I also doesn’t hurt to have the executive director of your department take you to lunch from time to time.

Did my enjoy my time as manager? Yes. Was the experience painful at times? Absolutely. Did I do the right thing every time? No. However, I learned a lot about myself, my organization and human nature. This experience has led me to think about what I need to do in my career in the short and long-term. But, I’ll save that for another post 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Confessions of an interim manager

  1. Hi there,
    Thanks for writing this post. These are some lessons that everyone who is thinking about whether or not a manager or leadership position is for them. I look forward to your post on the short v long term effects this experience will have on your career trajectory.
    ~Lindsay

  2. Hi Lindsay,
    Thanks for your comment! I’m currently working on that next post which has forced me to take a good look at where I am, where I’d like to be and my options for getting there. I hope to have that done and published next week.

  3. I found this post after Googling, “I’m an interim manager and I don’t want the job permanently.” Your view points match my own 100%. This experience has taught me a lot but has also brought out the worst in some people, from members of my team to organization leaders to myself, on occassion. This is leaning in? I’m exhausted!

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