June 2024 Leader Letter

Smooth Leadership Shifts

Consider five tips to help you pass the baton to your successor more effectively.

By Renée Covino

One person helping another person climb a set of stairs

It’s leadership transition time, which means it’s important for clubs and Districts to preserve their knowledge base and serve their respective clubs and Districts in the most effective way possible. But the definition of leadership today has expanded with some new truths that can also be applied to successfully passing the torch and the leadership responsibilities that go with it:

  1. First, connect with a story. Build a relationship with your successor by relaying a challenge you overcame in your leadership. Include personal details that show your vulnerability and authenticity. Relive the experience, don’t just tell it; take them on the journey with you to establish a genuine connection that is more coach-like than boss-like.
  2. Go over duties on a more “real level.” Speak confidently about what you accomplished and what the calls to action are, but incorporate the human conditions of worry, stress, anger, and burnout. Address these given facts of life and leadership with your successor as a way for you to help them anticipate stumbling blocks that are part of the job.
  3. Prepare them for online capabilities. This applies to hybrid meetings and events. Make sure your successor is in favor of hybrid meetings and knows how to bring others up to speed into this necessary way of doing business. Point them in the direction of Hybrid Meetings tools and tips that support the combination of online and in-person learning.
  4. Caution them about impossible standards. Recognize that feeling like a fraud in leadership is gaining traction as a mental health phenomenon, more commonly known as Imposter Syndrome. This is particularly prevalent when starting new roles or responsibilities. It’s best to talk this out with them at the onset and encourage them to have a good support group with other leaders and professionals.
  5. Generate an inclusive space. It’s good to have the inclusive discussion before you leave. Leaders today need to be very aware of underrepresented demographics on their teams and in their organizations; they should consider how they can create a more supportive environment for everyone. Ask the tough questions and listen—and encourage your successor to do the same in their tenure.

Additional Resources:

Preparing for Leadership Transition: Learn from Our Leaders

Toastmasters International: Leadership Transition

Connect and Inspire Through Storytelling Webinar