As leaders, we may not think much about the legacy we will leave behind until we’re changing jobs or when we prepare to retire. In reality, we are building this “story” every day of our lives. As we end one decade and dive into the next, it is the perfect time to reflect and be intentional about what you want your legacy to be as a leader.
The dictionary defines Legacy as a gift or a bequest, that is handed down, endowed or conveyed from one person to another.
Our gift to those we work with is best experienced in the way we Lead every day.
In Mindy Hall’s book Leading with Intention: Every Moment is a Choice, she writes, “Every interaction is an opportunity; every action has impact; every moment is a choice.”
What do you want others to see and remember about you? Do they witness your courage and authenticity when the team hits a roadblock? Do your actions and behaviors prove your desire to help others develop skills and advance careers? Are you a driving force, innovator, disruptor, visionary…you decide what you want it to be.
Here are 3 ways to get started leading with your legacy in mind
Be Inspirational – Leaders are able to rally the troops in ways that inspire others to want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. You have the opportunity to inspire with your attitude, work ethic, experiences, insight, ideas, and bold behavior. Remember to speak to the challenges of the past and how you’ve witnessed ordinary people push through obstacles and challenge the status quo to grow the company and their careers. Inspirational leaders tell the stories that others haven’t lived to encourage attaining goals they can’t see.
Be Uniquely You – Memorable leaders don’t play small to try to fit in and they don’t hide from the risks that inherently come when making things happen. Memorable leaders are fearless, make hard decisions and behave in ways that reinforce their values and what they stand for. Self-aware and confident leaders who own their personal strengths and weaknesses are better equipped to create the space for others to also learn, fail and thrive. Think for a minute about your heroes – the leaders you admire – they stand out because they know who they are, they have clarity of purpose and they live it in everything they do.
Be A Builder – A great leader understands that exceptional work can’t be achieved alone. Building relationships through the trial and error of our own careers and showing up intentionally for others along the way is what drives engagement, trust, and loyalty. Creating an environment where ideas are harvested and hard work pays off, goes a long way towards leaving an impression that others can model as they build their own leadership legacy.
Our leadership legacy is an on-going measure of our core values, our courage to take risks and the degree to which we care about how we impact others.
What will you start being more intentional about today to influence your legacy as a leader tomorrow?
Shelli Walker is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on twitter @ShelliWalker or connect via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.