What Will Your Leadership Legacy Be?
"The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit." ~Nelson HendersonThe legacy you leave is the life you lead.
Legacy, as defined by Dictionary.com, is something that is handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor. When you live your life, you leave behind a trail of footprints. Some of those footprints will fade quickly as do footprints in sand and others will endure as a lasting legacy of how you helped to create a different world. Now is the time to be thinking about what legacy you want to leave.
Legacy is defined by how others see you. We should always be aware of the impact we have. I consistently tell clients they are being watched at all times. By their families, their friends, their co-workers, their community members, etc. We are modeling at all times, and as such, we must be aware of our impact and how we influence those around us.
In their book, Your Leadership Legacy, Galford and Maruca, write about a concept called legacy thinking. It is a framework that demonstrates the importance of legacy in leadership development. They stress that individuals should think about legacy on their way into a position as opposed to on their way out.
If this is the case, we, as leaders, must be clear on what legacy it is we want to leave and from this point, modify and shape our behavior over time to be in alignment with our legacy.
In Plato's Dialogues Apology, Socrates is quoted as saying; "The unexamined life is not worth living." This statement is not meant to diminish life but rather to elevate critical examination of the life that one is living.
At the end of a person’s tenure with a company, or the end of their career, or even close to the end of one’s life, life becomes very tangible. The time left is finite and the desire to leave a legacy grows in importance.
"I may be here for a short while, gone tomorrow into oblivion or until the days come to take me away. But, in whatever part you play, be remembered as part of a legacy...of sharing dreams and changing humanity for the better. It's that legacy that never dies." ~ Unknown
Choose to spend some time thinking about your legacy in a personal light. Ask yourself these questions and then notice where you are living your desired legacy.
- What are the legacies I want to leave behind?
- What kind of leader do I wish to be remembered as?
- Ask a few people close to you what they think your legacy is.
- What are the leadership behaviors, strengths and values I want to lead with?
- What kinds of behaviors are my strengths seeding in others?
- What have I learned that is important to pass on?
“The need to leave a legacy is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution." ~ Stephen CoveyWhat will your leadership legacy be?