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Scandal in a community: How an Interim Manager restored trust and motivation

Scandal in a community: How an Interim Manager restored trust and motivation


The tasks of our Swiss municipalities are becoming more complex. They face economic, social and planning challenges. Municipalities therefore need strong leadership with a clear vision and municipal employees who are motivated to tackle tasks and projects. But what happens when employees are disheartened, frustrated and insecure due to weak leadership? There are resignations at all levels of the hierarchy, projects come to a standstill and a scandal looms. Interim management comes to the rescue. A case study.

Scandal in a community: How an Interim Manager restored trust and motivation

We recently had the pleasure of placing one of our interim managers as head of municipal operations. What did he find when he took office? Insecure, disheartened and demotivated employees who had lost all confidence in their management. A lack of specialists to implement a reorganization. A population that was exerting pressure and wanted to see a turnaround.


How it came about

The downward spiral began with many management changes. Within 18 months, the department management changed several times. With each change, a new reorganization was announced that differed from the previous one. The last manager even played employees off against each other. Those who didn't pack their bags and leave of their own accord resigned from their jobs. Many people loved their job, but were frustrated by the lack of leadership and completely lost trust in the management.


What task was assigned to him

His task: to implement the target organization chart, which had been drawn up by his predecessor and approved by the municipal council, within the specified time. After a rough analysis, he was able to show that this could not be implemented in this way under any circumstances.


How our interim manager stopped the free fall

1.   He has conveyed the certainty that he is up to the challenge: 

Based on his experience, expertise and track record, the team believed that he could bring about a turnaround.


2. He created a basis of trust with most of the employees:

In addition to his expertise, his empathy, willingness to cooperate and commitment also contributed to this, according to feedback from employees. They were quickly ready to work together.


3. He achieved a turnaround in the basic attitude of the employees:

By bringing people with different values, experiences, views and aspirations to the table and facilitating a discussion. They were able to evaluate a common direction and identify future-oriented projects.


4. It brought tangible results:

Our interim manager declared difficult projects that had been stalled for several years to be a top priority and initiated their implementation.


5. He filled vacancies

Various vacant positions were filled, thus strengthening the workforce.


Employees are the most valuable asset after all

A phrase that is never outdated, as this case exemplifies. Empowered employees who know their personal perspectives, whose skills are valued and who are treated respectfully and as equals, rise above themselves. And they are able to ensure the long-term success of a company, in this case a municipality.

“It was very fulfilling to see that younger, capable and willing employees really appreciate being shown perspectives and were happy to accept my mentoring”

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