Physicians who aspire to senior leadership positions can learn a lot from serving in "acting" or interim roles. A basic fact about interim leadership roles is counterintuitive. Much more can be gained if the physician is not interested in filling the position permanently. This also hold true for those who are candidates and fail to be selected for the job. Many of the lessons learned during an interim leadership experience are missed by the "star" or steady climber who experiences only success as he or she rises within an organization, or who leaves one organization for a promotion elsewhere.