Society of Women Engineers Region E Blog

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April Hot Topic: Tips to Transition Section Leadership

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As we reach the end of another successful year, we plan for the new fiscal year and new leadership.  The process of transitioning section leadership is crucial to the success of a section for years to come.  Here are a few tips for successful transitioning:
Special thanks to Region H for some of these helpful tips!

Passing the Torch Meeting

If possible, an in-person meeting between the outgoing and incoming leader is a great way to discuss the duties and tasks needed for the position.  Have the leaders of this year speak to the leaders of the future and share their experiences and suggestions for the position.  Make this a fun meeting and go out for lunch or dinner – pass the torch!  Encourage one-on-ones to communicate effectively.

Documentation

Whether or not an in-person meeting is possible, it’s important to have electronic documents that detail the information. There is usually a large amount of information to share, so having it available for later reference is useful. These documents will greatly help future officers, who can update them as needed. Here are some documents your section might benefit by utilizing:

  • Officer Reports – contain categories such as Timeline, Summary of Projects, Budget, Inventory, Sample Emails/Documents Prepared, Contact Information, Tips, Ideas for Improvement, etc. If the leadership role involves money, make sure all account information gets properly shared.
  • Event Archives – submitted via an online form within ~1 week of the event by the event planner, it details what the event was about, what went well, and what did not go well. Event archives from the current year should be shared with all officers for the upcoming year. They are also very useful for applying for awards for the section.

Another idea worth looking into is incorporating position binders to understand what each position entails and what has been done.  It is important for the leaders to continue to update the binder as the years go on but provides a holistic view of what has been done.

Improvements

Don’t wait until the last minute to let new leaders understand what improvements that you wanted to implement for the upcoming year. Ensure that in the transition period that the outgoing officer clearly communicates (and documents) what the current biggest challenges with the role are, what ideas they had but did not have time to implement, and other advice to keep the section continuously improving. New leaders should bounce off ideas with the outgoing officer to understand the feasibility or challenges.

Expectations

The incoming president and other executive officers need to come together to agree on expectations for the section leaders. These expectations could involve event attendance, office hours, communicating within the officer board, section goals, resources for help, etc. It’s important that these rules and expectations  are clearly communicated.

Bonding

The new leadership should have opportunities to get to know each other on a personal level, have fun together, and get excited for the next year that they will be working together!

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