Learn from teams around the country and advice they have for navigating team leadership transitions.
For many teams each season the leaders who help operate your team may change. Learning how to smoothly transition the knowledge and resources from one leader to the next can sometimes be a challenge. USQ has gathered some advice below from teams around the country who share some of their secrets for a more seamless change in leadership. If you are looking for further resources, we encourage you to check out USQ’s team leader resource guide located on our team resource page.
Be sure to check back in May for the next article in our series talking about how to plan for your upcoming quidditch season. If you would like to see your team featured in future advice articles, please fill out the form linked here. Multiple people from the same team are welcome to fill out the form! We thank the teams who have contributed and look forward to sharing more responses in this new series!
Always make sure you are teaching the next generation that will be holding the reins. Nothing is so major for it to be a secret that leadership keeps from the rest of the members on how it works. Keep an eye on who you think would make a good leader and discuss their interest in the position going forward so that you can take them under your wing and lead them in the right direction.
Don't abandon the team. There are obviously times when the transition isn't very smooth, but if you want to see the program to continue to succeed, it's important to mentor the new leader. Also, get people involved early on. It's hard to run a program after not being involved in leadership before on the team.
I can’t stress enough the importance or training your replacement while you’re still there. Making it transparent so the next club president or team captain or coach knows how and why things were done. Having new leadership that’s not well versed in the culture of the team or how the organization is generally run is the fastest way to see the team fall apart.
Communication and planning. If there is a shift in leadership it has to be talked about. What worked, what didn't, what wasn't accomplished, everything. A shift should set up the new leadership for success by communicating and reviewing the previous season and having plans to improve it. Just jumping in with your own plan without information on what previously happened behind the scenes could set up for mistakes that were avoidable or repetitive and conflicts with the direction the team wants to take.
Traditions can be good, consistency is good within a team. However, like in any good business, company, or team, you have to be open to trying something new. If your old traditional methods for running a team are no longer working then it’s time to move on. If you have tried something new and it didn’t work the first time that doesn’t mean you give up on it forever. Most importantly, ask your team! The actions you take as leaders are for them and affect them, so ask for their opinion. It will go such a long way.
I think it's important for a leadership team to not only consist of the oldest people or the ones who have been on the team the longest. If your entire leadership team graduates at once, it leaves for an entire turnover making things difficult for the future years. This goes for club teams as well. Allowing younger, newer players to be involved with different aspects of leadership allows for them to help prepare for the next year's transition if people leave their roles. Also having things like a Google Drive where ALL team files, documents, files, etc. are located helps keep things streamlined from season to season.
Standardize resources that outline or explain the responsibility of each transition. Make sure that your previous leaders are willing to work with future leaders during the transition to ensure that the new leaders understand and are comfortable doing everything that they have to do.
Transitioning is always hard, in regards to college teams it helps tremendously to have a non-playing coach who can help guide the team without having a 4-year graduation cycle. For teams without the ability or desire to have a non-playing coach I would say the best way to help the team is to have the main leadership position, president/captain etc. be a junior who is not going to graduate that year. This does two things, it helps this individual to stay motivated the whole year and they have to buy into player development because they are going to be there next year. This cycle also has the benefit of having a senior who has been a leader and can help with the learning curves with the college and with USQ.
Have a paper trail and a clear list of instructions on how to do the job that people have access to. It will greatly hurt the team if someone steps down and takes all of their methods with them.