initiate recognition (press releases, awards)
provide financial reimbursement (out-of-pocket expenses)
initiate social interaction (parties, contests)
recognize individual achievement (remembering birthdays, special honors)
allow for promotion and upward mobility
install a suggestion box
allow volunteer participation in decisions which effect workers
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 as ready as they can be to continue to provide your organization with strong lead-
A THOROUGH LEADERSHIP TRANSITION PLAN HAS SEVERAL BENEFITS:
The most obvious is that it provides for a transfer of significant organizational
knowledge. Your group will not have to re-invent the wheel each year!
It helps to minimize the confusion that occurs with the “Changing of the Guard”.
While new officers try to figure out what is going on, precious time can be lost to
the organization. This time lag effects the whole membership, who may not un-
derstand what all the confusion is about, and it definitely lessens the group’s abil-
ity to accomplish their tasks or goals.
The process of transition can give the outgoing leaders a sense of having com-
pleted their jobs, a sense of closure. It can help them let go—which is often a
difficult thing for committed leaders to do.
Leadership transition ensures that the valuable contributions of the experienced
leaders will be utilized. They are often the most neglected members in your
Finally, the shared information results in the new leadership having more knowl-
edge and, consequently, greater confidence in their ability to be more effective in
WHEN DO YOU START? EARLY!!
Begin early in the year to identify emerging leaders in your organization.
Encourage these potential leaders through personal contact, helping develop skills,
delegating responsibilities to them, sharing with them the benefits of leadership,
clarifying job responsibilities, letting them know that transition will be orderly and
thorough, and modeling an effective leadership style.
When new officers have been elected, orient them together as a group with all of
the outgoing officers. This allows the new one an opportunity to understand each
other’s roles and to start building their team. In some cases, individual officers may
also need to meet with their predecessor for detailed information.
Transfer the knowledge, information, and materials necessary for them to function
MORE specifically, what do you need to transfer? Think back to your own first weeks;
what did you wish someone had told you?
PERSONAL EXPERTISE, KNOWLEDGE, AND EXPERIENCE:
Effective leadership qualities and skills
Share problems and helpful ideas, procedures, and recommendations
Write and share reports containing traditions, ideas or completed projects,
continuing projects and concerns, or ideas never carried out
Go through personal and organizational files together
Acquaint new officers with physical environment, supplies and equipment
Introduce related personnel (advisors, contacts, etc.)
KNOWLEDGE OF THE ORGANIZATION’S STRUCTURE, GOALS, AND ACCOM-
PLISHMENTS (through complete and organized files):
Constitution and by-laws
Job descriptions/role clarifications
Organizational goals and objectives (including those from previous years)
Status reports on ongoing projects
Evaluations of previous projects and programs
Previous minutes and reports
Financial books and records
Historical records, scrapbooks, equipment
Christense, V.R. andMyers R.C. “Motivating Volunteers:
What Makes Them Tick”, Programming, November 1979, page 48.