Leader Transitions

Ensuring newly appointed leaders transition well

Findings from recent research on leader transitions are shocking. It was found that often the stress related to taking on greater leadership responsibility is second only to a divorce, in comparison to other major stress events. 46% of all transitioning leaders underperform and fall well short of their full effectiveness.

The Leader Transition Process helps ensure that newly appointed organizational leaders are prepared for the stress related to transitions, can experience fruitful leadership transitions and function effectively in their new leadership roles.

Step 1

Awareness
In order for new leaders to understand, evaluate, and prioritize the key issues that may affect a successful transition, they must first become aware of them.

Step 2

Adjustment
New leaders will need to prioritize and plan for the areas in need of development to make the adjustments necessary for their successful transition.

Step 3

Assessment
Progress on the leader transition development plan will be monitored by an assigned mentor throughout the transition period. At the end of the transition period, a general assessment of the new leader’s transition progress will be submitted and reviewed.

Awareness

It is often only when the new leader is appointed that they start to become painfully aware of the unexpected changes and challenges that they will now be faced within this transition. There are a number of elements that affect the effectiveness of a transition.  

These include:

  • Being prepared to deal with transition stress – identifying the stressful elements and addressing the issues
  • Making the required mindset changes – with new responsibilities come shifts in approach and mindset.  This can often be the most surprising change
  • Learning new skills and competencies – most transitions require a different set of skills than the ones they may have been expert in before
  • Understanding the impact of key stakeholders – people from both the old team and the new team will have different reactions to the change in leadership.

Many of these elements can’t be controlled, but being prepared, understanding, evaluating, and prioritizing the issues that can be managed or minimized is essential.

The key tool we use to help the new leader become aware of elements that may affect their fruitful transition is the Leader Transition Worksheet. This is completed by the new leader (with the assistance of a transitions coach) and includes assessing the potential impact of each element in their transition and proactively planning to deal with them. The Transitions Coaches Guide has further explanations that may be helpful for the new leader to look at. Another tool that may be helpful in understanding issues that relate to transitions is the Transition Turns Guidelines document, which lists major mindset shifts and new skills needed at each major leadership ‘turn’.

Key Tools:

Leader Transition Worksheet

Transition Turns Guidelines

Adjustment

After the newly appointed leader has worked through the Leader Transition Worksheet, they will hopefully have identified and evaluated the key elements that may affect their transition. The role of the coach is to then work through with them the areas they will want to prioritize. 

In this adjustment step, the new leader will create a Transitions Development Plan using the template provided. The coach will talk them through the areas they have identified on the worksheet and help them create a development plan to meet those needs.  A key role of the coach is to ensure that the goals are SMART.

It is hoped that the new leader will participate fully within a good coaching/mentoring structure to help ensure effective growth and development as they transition. Although there will inevitably be much pressure to “achieve” in the early days of a transition, those who are the most effective leaders in the long term take time to adjust, get to know their team and the role and make space for their own growth and development.

Key Tools:

Leader Transition Development Plan

Leader Transition Coaching Guidelines

Making SMART goals

Assessment

Hopefully, the development plan that is created would be realistic (as the SMART acronym requires) but the pressures on a new leader often change these plans and the realizations that occur in the first few weeks may also re-shape priorities. During the first 3-6 months of transition, progress on the leader’s development plan should be monitored and assessed by the assigned coach or mentor, and the necessary adjustments made. It may well be that anticipating particularly the areas of stress has been effective in itself. Other areas of challenge may only emerge as time in the new role progresses. These areas can be added to (or swapped for others in) the development plan as opportunities for growth are identified and plans to address them created. 

Although assessment by the coach should be a regular feature of the transition period, it’s important to formally assess progress on the development plan at the end of the agreed transition period. Assessments should include self-assessment by the new leader as well as assessments by the transitions coach. It is helpful for the transitions coach to submit a final report on progress made and suggestions for further development. If necessary, an additional development plan can be made and monitored.

Key Tools

Leader Transition Development Plan

Using the Transition Tools

By clicking the links below, you will be able to download the key tools you will need for the Leader Transition Process. For further help in making the most of these tools, have a look at the explanations and other resources in the resources for facilitators. 

The resources particularly focus on implementation within an organization like Campus Crusade for Christ, so some adaptation may be required in order to ‘fit’ with organizational cultures and structures outside of CCCI.

We’d love your feedback, so do let us know of other related resources that would be helpful to you. Contact: info@LeaderTransitions.org

Download Overview

Key Tools:

Leadership Transition Process Overview 

Leader Transition Worksheet

Leadership Transition Turns Overview

Leader Transition Development Plan

Leader Transition Coaches Guide 

Making SMART goals

Resources for Facilitators

Facilitators User Guide – a complete overview of the selection and transition processes

Leader Transitions Overview – a one-page summary

Awareness

It is often only when the new leader is appointed that they start to become painfully aware of the unexpected changes and challenges that they will now be faced within this transition. There are a number of elements that affect the effectiveness of a transition.  

These include:

  • Being prepared to deal with transition stress – identifying the stressful elements and addressing the issues
  • Making the required mindset changes – with new responsibilities come shifts in approach and mindset.  This can often be the most surprising change
  • Learning new skills and competencies – most transitions require a different set of skills than the ones they may have been expert in before
  • Understanding the impact of key stakeholders – people from both the old team and the new team will have different reactions to the change in leadership.

Many of these elements can’t be controlled, but being prepared, understanding, evaluating, and prioritizing the issues that can be managed or minimized is essential.

The key tool we use to help the new leader become aware of elements that may affect their fruitful transition is the Leader Transition Worksheet. This is completed by the new leader (with the assistance of a transitions coach) and includes assessing the potential impact of each element in their transition and proactively planning to deal with them. The Transitions Coaches Guide has further explanations that may be helpful for the new leader to look at. Another tool that may be helpful in understanding issues that relate to transitions is the Transition Turns Guidelines document, which lists major mindset shifts and new skills needed at each major leadership ‘turn’.

Key Tools:

Leader Transition Worksheet

Transition Turns Guidelines

Adjustment

After the newly appointed leader has worked through the Leader Transition Worksheet, they will hopefully have identified and evaluated the key elements that may affect their transition. The role of the coach is to then work through with them the areas they will want to prioritize. 

In this adjustment step, the new leader will create a Transitions Development Plan using the template provided. The coach will talk them through the areas they have identified on the worksheet and help them create a development plan to meet those needs.  A key role of the coach is to ensure that the goals are SMART.

It is hoped that the new leader will participate fully within a good coaching/mentoring structure to help ensure effective growth and development as they transition. Although there will inevitably be much pressure to “achieve” in the early days of a transition, those who are the most effective leaders in the long term take time to adjust, get to know their team and the role and make space for their own growth and development.

Key Tools:

Leader Transition Development Plan

Leader Transition Coaching Guidelines

Making SMART goals

Assessment

Hopefully, the development plan that is created would be realistic (as the SMART acronym requires) but the pressures on a new leader often change these plans and the realizations that occur in the first few weeks may also re-shape priorities. During the first 3-6 months of transition, progress on the leader’s development plan should be monitored and assessed by the assigned coach or mentor, and the necessary adjustments made. It may well be that anticipating particularly the areas of stress has been effective in itself. Other areas of challenge may only emerge as time in the new role progresses. These areas can be added to (or swapped for others in) the development plan as opportunities for growth are identified and plans to address them created. 

Although assessment by the coach should be a regular feature of the transition period, it’s important to formally assess progress on the development plan at the end of the agreed transition period. Assessments should include self-assessment by the new leader as well as assessments by the transitions coach. It is helpful for the transitions coach to submit a final report on progress made and suggestions for further development. If necessary, an additional development plan can be made and monitored.

Key Tools

Leader Transition Development Plan

Using the Transition Tools

By clicking the links below, you will be able to download the key tools you will need for the Leader Transition Process. For further help in making the most of these tools, have a look at the explanations and other resources in the resources for facilitators. 

The resources particularly focus on implementation within an organization like Campus Crusade for Christ, so some adaptation may be required in order to ‘fit’ with organizational cultures and structures outside of CCCI.

We’d love your feedback, so do let us know of other related resources that would be helpful to you. Contact: info@LeaderTransitions.org

Download Overview

Key Tools:

Leadership Transition Process Overview 

Leader Transition Worksheet

Leadership Transition Turns Overview

Leader Transition Development Plan

Leader Transition Coaches Guide 

Making SMART goals

Resources for Facilitators

Facilitators User Guide – a complete overview of the selection and transition processes

Leader Transitions Overview – a one-page summary

Related Resources

Not sure where to go from here? Take a look at some of the other Processes Resources that are available to you. 

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