Team Transition: Teach Them How To Say Goodbye

Team Transition: Teach Them How To Say Goodbye

Team transition is an integral part of any leader’s responsibilities. Yes, you should be a good leader in your brainstorming sessions, during events, in meetings, in class, off campus, etc…, but especially in your transition out of a leadership role. There is a wonderful shift of power and closure that occurs during transition.

Recently, I have been chatting with student leaders that I have worked with in the past and they seem to be having a real challenge in this area. They are ready to let go, yet others seem to keep holding on, asking them to run meetings or be present for certain discussions. The exit is just as important as the entrance. Here are some tricks I have learned to make an exit while preparing successors:

  1. Hold Elections Early

    By having elections or selection process early enough, you allow time for the outgoing and incoming people to get to know each other and pass on information about the role. This is a great time to schedule meetings with an advisor or supervision to review expectations of the role, including any changes from one person to the next.

  2. Let Your Successor Lead

    In the last two or three meetings, step aside. Let your successor get familiar with language and protocol in meetings. You should still be there to guide and offer support, but this about giving them room to make mistakes.

  3. Make It Official

    Sometimes groups will simply end the service and a new team will take over. Hold a “Passing of the Torch” ceremony with your entire club/committee/organization there. Let them see the transition take place. This visual will let them know who they should now go to with questions. This is also a great time to…

  4. Say Thank You

    In your “Passing of the Torch” ceremony, a section should be devoted to thanking the outgoing team for their work and support in their respective roles thus far. Bonus points if you flip the switch and…

  5. Wish Them Good Luck

    The outgoing team surely has words of wisdom and good luck to share. Offering this in a public setting for everyone to see is a powerful tool for team succession. Everyone starts in the same motivated and present mindset. And it reminds us to stay on #TeamHuman

These simple and fun measures can make a world of difference as you approach what could be a murky time. It’s vital to be clear about what roles entail, but more so to be steadfast when that role has come to an end.

Do you have transition protocol that you follow on your team(s)? Share with us!


{Did you catch my Hamilton lyrics in the title? I’m obsessed. :P}

Melissa Ruiz

I train teams and their leaders to create a culture of connection. Free Hugger. Fitness Enthusiast. Taco lover. IG: melissa.a.ruiz