Within DECA (and life!), rewarding experiences often require raising your hand to enter the race, stepping up to the plate, and taking a risk as a leader. Risks come from new challenges, elections, committees, teams and setting goals. In a similar DECA Direct article, Western Region Vice President, Danielle Poulin, described the steps to take when entering a leadership position and how to make the most of your term. On this same journey, here are thoughts to keep in mind as you pass the torch and leave office.
1. Leave your organization better than you found it
Leadership comes with responsibility. Within your responsibility, keeping organized records, important papers, and documentation of past projects, ideas, and goals will allow the leaders after you to thrive. Leadership is about serving those around you, and organization is imperative to get the edge as a group.
2. Pass on your most cherished memory and best advice
Once the lights have dimmed and goodbyes have been said, letting go is often the most challenging part of leaving a leadership position. After turning over any role, affectionately offering guidance to the newest leader is a kind gesture. Two types of anecdotes are typically the best received: sharing your most cherished memory provides an optimistic peek into the future, and offering your best advice will prepare the newly instated leader for this future. With simple, genuine advice, you can lay everything on the table to prepare for a new year of leadership.
3. Reflect on your experience
Once your role is complete, take time to reflect. Ask yourself…
- What kind of leader am I?
- How far have I come as a leader?
- What are my strengths?
- What would I like to improve on?
As I pursue more leadership opportunities, will I use the same leadership techniques, or will I try different techniques?
As you think about your journey, write down your thoughts. Your future self will look back fondly on your reflection; it might even help with a future reflection to write down your current thoughts.
4. Grow from the reflection
To get the edge as a leader, the only reason you will look back is to see how far you have come. Be proud of yourself.
Serving the students, organizations, and community that have built your character is a privilege. Whether you hold a title or engage as an active participant, you have value and purpose. Leaving a leadership role is difficult, but the lessons you have learned and the journeys you have taken will last a lifetime. Take these steps, learn from your experience and share the experience with a new generation of leaders.