6 Benefits of Hiring an Interim Leader During a Leadership Gap

Judy Rosen
February 1, 2023

Not everyone knows this about me, but…I love interim leadership. 

After working in-house as a Director of Development and Executive Director for Jewish and social service organizations for many years, I am now on my fourth interim leadership position. 

I find this work so rewarding. It’s a little bit of everything–creativity, supervision, visioning, strategic planning. I get to take a bird’s eye view of an organization and lend my expertise to address whatever fundraising, organizational, or administrative challenges come up. 

But my favorite part is getting to be a part of the team and see it through a period of transformation–from one leader to the next. 

Many organizations going through a leadership change hesitate to bring in an interim leader. They worry it will be too expensive, or require too much onboarding, or that their interim leader won’t be invested in the work. I’ll admit that I myself had those concerns when I was working in-house. 

These concerns are valid, and I want to be transparent: interim leadership is not for every organization. But for many organizations, interim leadership can be the difference between a smooth and rocky leadership transition. 

Here are 6 reasons why your organization could benefit from this service: 

  1. It takes the urgency out of the search for your organization’s next Director of Development or Executive Director. You definitely don’t want to rush the process of finding your organization’s next leader! ED and DOD searches can be long, and sometimes, organizations get to a point where they just need a body in a seat. With an interim leader in place, you’re able to take your time and know that your organization is staying true to its mission while finding the best candidate for the job. 
  2. You’ll get a pair of fresh eyes on your organization. Interim leaders have worked in-house for years in these positions. They can provide new ideas and propose changes to processes to make your organization more efficient and effective! 
  3. An interim leader can support your staff who are without a supervisor. When your ED or DOD leaves, all the people they supervised still need someone to go to with questions. With an interim leader in place, staff feel supported and are able to continue doing their jobs, which leads to less turnover and disorganization. 
  4. It’s cheaper than paying for a full-time leader with benefits. Many interim leaders work on a part-time basis, and as contractors, they don’t require benefits. 
  5. You don’t need to go through the entire onboarding process like you would a full-time team member. Interim leaders don’t need to know every single detail–they just need enough information to move the work forward!
  6. You’ll have another champion of your work in your corner. As an interim staff member, I’m incredibly invested in the organizations I work for. You learn the mission, and you become part of the team. I am constantly cheering on my organization’s successes and partnering alongside the team to navigate challenges. 

If you choose to work with an interim leader, you’re getting a senior professional who is going to care about your mission and your team and keep things going until you find the perfect new leader for your team. 

But like I said, not every organization has the structure to support an interim leader. Check out today’s freebie, Is My Organization Ready for an Interim Leader?, to see if your organization could benefit from interim leadership.