What is NOT a Temporary Manager?

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Author: Future Manager Research Center

One of the forerunners of the Temporary Management service in Italy, Albino Collini, defines Temporary Managers through an expression that, albeit colorful, perfectly makes the idea: “TMans are people who are looking for kicks where to put their backside“. In addition to the strong irony of this statement, what is highlighted is the high component of risk and responsibility that TMans choose to take on. The typical profile of a Temporary Manager and his/her employment are now well known, however there are some common mistakes that one runs into when talking about Temporary Management.

It is not a profession that any type of manager can easily have access to just as it is not a profession that only interests managers at the end of their career. To be considered a good Temporary it is certainly necessary to have been a successful manager, but this condition is not enough. Given the short intervention times and the delicacy of the issues to be managed, technical skills are insufficient. The skills that cannot be lacking in a TMan concern in particular the ethical and psychological sphere: during the interventions of Temporary Management, the managers who hold this position come into contact with highly sensitive information, which is why the possession of unassailable ethics and morals cannot be ignored. Not to mention the levels of psychological stress to which a TMan is subjected, which require the individual in question to have a balanced and professional mindset.

As regards the moment in which a manager chooses to take on the role of Temporary, the data we have received are interesting. From the European experience it emerges that there is a movement of progressive decrease in the age of those who seriously evaluate Temporary Management as a possible professional option. Today many successful young managers, in the 30-35 age group, show real interest in this type of career.

Another clarification concerns the cliché that sees the Temporary Management service as similar to that of consulting. Be careful because a TMan is not a consultant. This erroneous perception of TMans has taken hold over time since there are consultants who present themselves as real Temporary Managers even though they are not. It would almost be more correct to declare the opposite, namely that in some circumstances the TMan operates as a consultant, however, the contractual aspect should not be confused with the substantial and concrete aspect of the assignment and the skills required of the manager. The TMan manages and executes, while the consultant advises. Let’s clarify further: this does not even mean that TMan can be an alternative to consulting, they are simply two different roles, even if the worlds they come from have many points in common. All of this can be demonstrated by the fact that the Temporary Management intervention is often preceded by a consultancy one carried out by highly specialized agencies, with the aim of identifying the critical levers on which the intervention of the TMan itself should operate. Perhaps the most correct way to interpret the role of TMan is contained in a third way, an option that lies on the border between consultancy and traditional management, through which the company can equip itself with resources aimed at improving performance and management skills.

Another mandatory clarification is that Temporary Management is not temporary work. Although both are non-permanent positions, they are used for different purposes. The key difference between temporary contract and temporary work is the level at which they operate. The interim management works on professional figures generally of a lower profile; in fact, today the major operators in the Temporary Management sector come from consultancy or from the search for high-level managers.