June 2020

Transitioning in these Times

It is more important than ever to be inspirational, as well as strategic, when you pass the leadership torch.


photo of a group of people discussing how to build a successful team


Your leadership transition comes at an unprecedented time when emotions and uncertainty are still running high. So, in addition to helping your successor set up a strategic plan, it will help both of you if you think in terms of an inspirational plan, too. Using emotional intelligence will be a big factor now. Take this time to dig deep into your experience and psyche to pass the leadership torch with a sense of gratitude and grace. Here is a little guidance to keep you both calm and focused:

5 Strategic Tips

  • Instead of projecting anxiety, fear, or silence during these challenging times, leaders need to overcommunicate and overinform now. Arrange for the outgoing and incoming leadership teams to meet online or in-person once or twice. If it is online, arrange for cameras to be turned on and allow for some informal chit-chat in the beginning as you do with your online meetings.
  • Put together a transition calendar that highlights important dates and responsibilities; share it with incoming leaders.
  • Review carryover business such as previous budget decisions. Project how the current crisis may affect it.
  • Make sure your club’s information is up to date in Club Central; advise leaders to regularly check and respond to emails from prospective members. Inform them of the new online focus and share Toastmasters Online Meetings page, filled with helpful resources so clubs can achieve virtual victories. Discuss plans to possibly transition to a hybrid club once the pandemic is over, or return back to in-person only.
  • List the internal and external resources you found to be most helpful and provide contact information. Try to pass on new ways of networking that have taken place for you recently.

5 Inspirational Ideas

  • Bring in the human element. Ask your successor: How are you taking care of yourself? How can I help you be more productive? What will make you feel more engaged to lead during these times? What do you hope to learn or take away from this new leadership experience?
  • Affirm the unique strengths and positivity of your team. Be specific and pinpoint the excellence you experienced over the past year and especially, the good vibes since the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Put your personality into the transition—let your successor know what you found most challenging and most rewarding.
  • Back up key points with anecdotes, stories and examples that took place over the past year. Mention the Toastmasters/Rotary alliance as a source of inspiration.
  • If possible, take it outside Toastmasters and talk things out in a fun setting—virtual or in-person.

Additional resources