Something you may not have considered when your Students for Life group first got started is that, eventually, you will graduate and the group needs to be handed off to the next “generation.” Navigating successful leadership transitions can be very tricky, but it is essential for the ongoing success of your group. The goal is longevity! You don’t want all of your hard work to disappear after you graduate. Prepare your group to go the distance and change the culture of your school. By setting up future leaders, you ensure that the group will continue to prosper- changing hearts, changing minds, and saving lives for years to come.
Make Sure There’s a Structure
A section of your group Constitution should include specific protocol for elections and transitions. Be clear and detailed to avoid any confusion (especially after you’re gone). For example, when will the group hold elections? How will members take a vote? Who is able to run for a leadership position? And when do the new leaders take full responsibility? Make sure you remain consistent and follow the same procedure every school year. If a change needs to be made, vote and edit your Constitution.
Start Looking Early
As your group recruits new members, be on the lookout for natural leaders. Once you have identified potential leaders, delegate simple tasks to them and see how they handle the responsibility. As you delegate, begin to identify strengths and weaknesses. (This will help you assign leadership roles to the appropriate people.) But, don’t disqualify people for having weaknesses. It doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be a good leader! Take the time to help them grow! Encourage the current leadership team to become mentors to the potential leaders.
Allow Plenty of Time
Announce the elections in the Fall so that your group can prepare. Be sure to encourage people who you think will make good leaders to consider running for a position. Elections should be held at least 2 months before the spring semester ends. It is crucial that there is an overlap of time where officers-elect and current officers can work together. This gives the new leadership time to ask questions and to settle into their roles. Previous leaders should introduce them to key players on campus, show them the process to get things done, and allow them to learn from the group’s past successes and mistakes. By the end of the semester, the new leadership should feel confident to assume full responsibility of the group and continue impacting your school.
For FREE one-on-one assistance with managing your leadership transitions, contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator at [yourstate]@studentsforlife.org.
Watch this quick video for help and time-tested advice: