Have you considered what your leadership legacy will be? What would people say about you if they were asked? The story that others share about you says a lot about who you are as a person and as a leader. Many people may not think about a leadership legacy until they are at the end of their career. It should be something that you focus on at the beginning of your career instead. What do you want people to say about you? What type of leader are you aspiring to be and are you striving to be that way each day?
As I read the article, The Leaders Imprint by Scott Mabry, it struck me how much every decision and action we take as a leader can leave in Scott’s words, an “Imprint” on others who work for us. Being critical of our team members on a regular basis has a lasting impact on them. People don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. Being too critical causes people to doubt themselves, shut down, become disengaged or leave the organization.
Your reaction to situations and conversations is key. Taking a positive approach by asking questions, coaching them through difficulties and standing up for them in front of others is what will help them be able to fail forward. They can try new things, take risks and become more resilient without feeling like they will fall out of your favor and be criticized. It is no different than a parent who is constantly critical of a child. The child begins to doubt their self-worth, their abilities and feels that their parent doesn’t love them anymore. Children learn from their parents and employees learn from their leaders. Be the leader that everyone sees as a positive role model.
You Can’t Leave a Great Leadership Legacy Without FIRST Taking Time for You and Your Needs
Every day you have a schedule that may include any of the following depending on your situation: meetings, conference calls, dr appointments, kid activities, dinner, grocery shopping, etc. This feels like a merry-go-round that you never get to stop riding. When do you have time to just sit and think about what you want to do? You probably don’t, because there are so many other people pulling at your available time.
What do you want your life to look like? What is the legacy that you want to leave behind? These are really big things to think about and may be overwhelming, but you need to think about them. Otherwise, you will get to the end of your life and wish you had done something different. By then it will probably be too late to make a big change in your life. No one should have those kind of regrets, but it happens way too often.
Over the past few years, I realized that what I was doing and what I wanted to do were not in alignment. I didn’t realize it when I was on the merry-go-round every day. I was squeezing more and more things into an already filled up day. I look back now and don’t even know how I did it all. As I stepped out of that crazy world and started to choose what I wanted to do, it really freed me up to be more creative and try new things. What if you just spent a few hours on the weekend and started to think about what you really want? You don’t have to come up with all the answers all at once, but just start asking yourself the question. This is not easy stuff and many of my clients come to me asking themselves the same thing.
Pay attention to what is happening around you every day. What are the things that you wish you were doing? What are the plans that you have had in your head for years, but never actually did them? What are the things you keep putting off until you have more time? The message here is to start listening to those things and find ways to do them. This means find a way to schedule the things that are really important to you vs the things that everyone else wants you to do. Make the decision to purposely choose where you want to spend your time and energy.
Your Legacy Will Leave an Imprint
Remember why you were chosen to be a leader. Your responsibility as a leader is to set the vision, achieve the goals as a team, set a good example, and develop future leaders. Think about the great leaders that you had in your career and how they helped you move forward. Decide what kind of legacy you want to leave in your organization and on your team.
Susan M Barber is President of Susan M Barber Coaching & Consulting, LLC. She works with individuals, teams and organizations to build skills that leaders need to attain breakthrough results. Her passion for coaching and leadership development is driven by seeing the transformation of leaders as they reach far beyond their own ideas of success. She continues to drive custom programs for groups that want to make changes in their careers to become more powerful leaders. For more information or to follow her leadership blog, visit www.susanmbarber.com.