Leader Transitions
Selecting the right leaders for the mission and ensuring they can transition well
Leadership Selection Toolkit   Leader Transition Toolkit
Transition Tools


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Awareness   Step 1: Awareness

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. We often underestimate the issues related to leader transitions, but hopefully this toolkit will help you navigate these challenges.

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 facing with 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 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:




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