Upsides and downsides of interim management

At our interim management induction workshops, we have asked hundreds of interim managers what they believe are the upsides and downsides of interim management. When making any lifestyle decisions, there are potential advantages and drawbacks that need to be weighed up. The list of pros and cons below is not exhaustive, and you may wish to come up with your own list of pros and cons as you research interim management.

On the positive side:

    • The flexibility of being your own boss
    • The stimulating challenge of constant exposure to new people, issues and solutions
    • Not ‘wearing someone else’s corporate identity’
    • Not being involved in office politics – you have no personal vested interest to protect
    • Being able to concentrate on what you do best
    • The satisfaction of a job well done

    Set against these, you need to recognise:

    • Family finances can be strained. A steady flow of assignments is not guaranteed, and income-free gaps between assignments can be lengthy
    • As an interim manager you do not receive employment benefits – usually, you would be responsible for your own holiday pay, sick pay, pension, health insurance etc. This varies according to whether you work through a limited company or umbrella company, whether you work in the public or private sector, and whether you are inside or outside of IR35.
    • You may have periods living out of a suitcase – assignments may not be on your doorstep or easily commutable each day.
    • If you’re working away, you may be unable to give quality time to your home life; if you’re resting between assignments and therefore permanently at home for a period, you may prove an unwelcome disruption to the home routine.
    • You may have personal financial liability if you get things wrong on an assignment and the client takes action to recover damages from you – but there are ways of mitigating the risk.

    Like most major decisions there is a great deal of emotion attached to the decision to become an interim manager. Ultimately the decision will depend on how much you really want it, and, when you have taken account of all the lifestyle factors, you should know deep down if it is right for you.

    Next resource: Interim or consultant?