One of my biggest concerns when I first told my head of department that I wanted to take a sabbatical leave was that I could only take time off for a longer period of time if someone would be filling in for me. On one hand I wanted someone to take over the team lead in order to make sure that my sabbatical wouldn’t effect the team’s goals, slow things down or my duties having to be dumped on someone else on top of their own. But at the same time I wanted to be able to return to my current job and not give it up completely – especially because I actually like my job…well most times 😉
So I suggested that my time off could also be an opportunity for someone else. Together with HR we scanned the talent pool and were able to find a candidate who wants to to gather leadership experience and evolve his professional career. It was a win-win-situation for everyone. So after a few interviews and agreements, we sealed the deal and my interim manager had been found!
For about a month now my replacement and I have been having weekly meetings to incorporate him, to hand over job assignments, to arrange everything and to prepare the team for the interim management.It’s actually an interesting process because it really shows how many matters the team and I are covering every day and what has become second nature to me after 3.5 years at the job.
A couple of weeks ago we did a workshop with the whole team in order to strengthen the team spirit, getting to know each other a little better and to talk about concerns and expectations for the time of the interim management. We all agreed that it is a great opportunity for everyone to take a different approach on things, give the team a new spin and step out of the usual “that’s how it’s done”.
For those of you who know me pretty well, you are probably wondering how the control freak inside of me is handling all this 😉 To be honest it is super hard for me to hand things over and to put someone else in charge. But I feel that stepping back, letting things go and having 100% faith in people is also something I have to work on, not just for this experience but in general. Of course I have also been asking myself “What if the team values the interim manager more than myself?”. I have come to the conclusion that someone else taking over is nothing but an opportunity. It will also help me to strengthen my leadership skills and is giving me the opportunity to adopt new methods and approaches of how to guide people. I also think that it might be easier to compare two styles of leadership in order to pin point the positive aspects of each one.
Because we have been giving lots of time for the handing over process and also will have two full weeks together before I leave, I am pretty confident that the interim management will be very successful. If in the September everyone will be like “What you’re back…it has already been 4 months?!” it defiantly will have been! Still hope my team and colleagues will miss me though 😉