Guiding a Team Through a Leadership Transition

Transitions can be tough. Still, we must all go through transitions in our lives to reach the next step, be it the next job position, the next city, or just the next stage in life. As leaders, it is our responsibility to guide individuals through the process, no matter how hard the transition may be. 

Transition processes, especially transitions between leadership teams, take time and patience. No one person is the same, and it is crucial to learn the wants, needs, and goals of everyone on the team in order to act appropriately. Building a relationship with everyone will not only allow you to connect with the team but will also build trust. There are several important steps to take when leading a team through a transition. 

Define your goals and set clear expectations.

Organizing a transition plan between two leadership teams is crucial and will alleviate some pressure as both teams are kept on track. Gain insights from the previous leadership team and use them to outline goals and objectives for the new team. Meeting with the new team early on to set goals and expectations will give you a sense of the different personalities and help you to determine how they will best work together. 

Motivate the team.

Confidence and communication are keys to success. Ensure each member of the leadership team that they are in their position for a reason and empower them to take ownership of their role. While you should provide guidance and support if needed, each member of the team should use their creativity and skills to take on their role in a new light. 


To ensure the team is on track, it is important to implement a system of check-ins to gain insight into how each member is transitioning into their role. Check-ins will also continue to build trust among the team by deepening personal and professional relationships. 

Celebrate wins, big and small. 

While it is important to make progress on goals, it is also important to recognize that when dealing with a new team, there will be a continual process of trial and error. Throughout the transition process, and afterwards, it is important to celebrate all of the wins, no matter how small. When reflecting, focus on progress first and outcomes second.

Olivia Strauss is a senior at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She is studying journalism – strategic communication with a marketing minor and a social media certificate. Olivia is currently the Chapter president of Scripps PRSSA, the PRSSA 2020-2021 National Outstanding Chapter. She is also currently interning in Atlanta, Ga. with Inspire Brands, working on iconic brands such as Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s and SONIC. Connect with Olivia on Linkedin.

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