Manage Leadership Transitions

Navigating successful leadership transitions can be very tricky, but it is essential for the success of your club.The goal is longevity! You don’t want all of your hard work to disappear after you graduate! You want to prepare your group to go the distance and change the culture of your school. By setting up future leaders, you ensure that the group will continue to prosper- changing hearts, changing minds and saving lives for years to come.

First, create a structure for your group to work within for the transition. A section of your Constitution should include specific protocol for elections and transitions. Be clear and detailed to avoid any confusion! For example, when will you have elections? How will you take a vote? Who may run for a leadership position? And when do the new leaders take full responsibility? Make sure you remain consistent and follow the same procedure every school year. If a change needs to be made, vote and edit your Constitution.

Second, start looking for new leaders early on! As your group recruits new members, be on the lookout for natural leaders. Once you have identified potential leaders, delegate simple tasks to them and see how they handle the responsibility. As you delegate, begin to identify strengths and weaknesses. (This will help you assign leadership roles to the appropriate people.) But, don’t disqualify people for having weaknesses. It doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be a good leader! Take the time to help them grow! Let’s face it, we all can use a little help! Encourage the current leadership team to become mentors to the potential leaders.

Third, transition early! Announce the elections in the Fall so that your group can prepare. Be sure to encourage people who you think will make good leaders to consider running for a position. Elections should be held at least 2 months before the spring semester ends. It is crucial that there is an overlap of time where officers-elect and current officers can work together. This gives the new leadership time to ask questions and to settle into their roles. Previous leaders should introduce them to key players on campus, show them the process to get things done, and allow them to learn from the group’s past successes and mistakes. By the end of the semester, the new leadership should feel confident to assume full responsibility of the group and continue impacting your school!

For FREE one-on-one assistance with managing your leadership transitions, contact SFLA’s National Program Coordinator, Kassie Booker at kbooker@studentsforlife.org.

Watch this quick video for help and advice!