Your year as an officer is coming to an end and new officers are being selected. How do you leave your position gracefully? How do you ensure that the new officers are ready to continue to provide your organization with strong leadership?
Thorough leadership transition has several benefits:
- Provides for transfer of significant organizational knowledge.
- Minimizes the confusion of leadership changeover.
- Gives outgoing leaders a sense of closure.
- Utilizes the valuable contributions of experienced leaders, usually the most neglected members in your group.
- Helps incoming leadership absorb the special expertise of the out-going leadership.
- Increases the knowledge and confidence of the new leadership.
- Minimizes the loss of momentum and accomplishments for the group.
When Do You Start?
- Begin early in the year to identify emerging leaders.
- Encourage these potential leaders through personal contact, help in developing skills, delegating responsibility to them, sharing with them the personal benefits of leadership, clarifying job responsibilities, letting them know that transition will be orderly and thorough, and last, modeling an open, encouraging leadership style.
- When new officers have been elected, orient them together as a group with all of the outgoing officers. This process provides the new leaders with an opportunity to understand each other's roles and to start building their leadership team.
Prior to transitioning, outgoing officers need to:
- Revise officer position description
- Clean out/organize officer notebook
- Write a year-end report including a summary of major projects, pro-grams and events, challenges faced, outcomes and suggestions for future planning. Make sure all records, reports and bills are filed and up-to-date.
Officer Transition Workshop Outline
Orgs should create their own Officer Transition Workshops to better explain everything that the org does to the new and continuing members. The Office of Student Living and College Engagement does not provide these workshops, but will help organization leaders to create one. For a successful workshop, follow these guidelines:
Time: approximately 3 hours
Supplies: flip chart/newsprint, markers, copies of group goals
Attendance: all incoming and outgoing officers, advisor
Part I: Group Information Sharing
Assess the success of the group in the following areas:
- Organizational Operations
- Outreach Activities
- Public Image
- Programs and Activities
Part II: One-on-One Officer Sharing
Match outgoing and incoming officers by position. They should discuss:
- Major responsibilities of the position/office
- Goals accomplished during the past year
- Ongoing projects and goals
- Major challenges encountered and how to deal with them
- Officer Notebook
- Ideas for the future
Part III: A Meeting Run by Outgoing and Incoming Officers
- Incoming officers conduct the meeting with outgoing officers pre-sent to offer support
- After the meeting, all officers evaluate the meeting, making notes for improvement
What Information & Skills Do You Need To Transfer?
Think back to your first weeks. What could you have used to do your job better?
Some suggestions are...
Effective leadership qualities and skills.
Problems and helpful ideas, procedures and recommendations.
Written reports containing information on:
- Traditions, ideas or completed projects; continuing projects and concerns; or ideas never carried out
- Personal notes and organizational files
- Office procedures Instructions on use of equipment, computers or other supplies
- Introduction to personnel (advisors, administrators, contacts, etc.).
A complete record of the organization's structure, goals and accomplishments (through complete and organized files):
- Constitution and by-laws
- Organization purpose or mission statement
- Organizational goals and objectives for previous years
- Officer descriptions/role clarification
- Status reports on ongoing projects
- Evaluations of previous projects and programs
- Minutes for previous 3 years
- Resources/contacts lists with addresses, email and phone numbers
- Financial records for previous 5 years
- Mailing lists