Are you creating the legacy you want to leave for your children? What legacy are you leaving at work? Have you even thought about your legacy? If not, you may be making a mistake.
Most sources narrowly define ‘legacy’ as a gift of property that has been handed down. I prefer to view legacy as much more. Think about some of the people in your life that are gone or are no longer a part of your life. I bet the first thing that comes to mind is how they made you feel or how you felt about them; not what they gave you or what they did for a living. The most significant legacy you will leave is how you live your life and what you give of yourself. If you think of legacy in these terms, it makes you more mindful of everything and every day.
A legacy is multi-dimensional. In other words, we all have many aspects in our lives and will leave a legacy in each. As I’ve been thinking about legacy, I’ve been thinking in terms of my work legacy and what legacy I’ll leave as a parent. What I’ve realized is that there’s a common thread in both – leadership.
Truly great leaders are those that have a positive impact not only at work, but in life. Here are 4 important factors to keep in mind as you think about leaving your legacy as a leader.
Everyone’s a leader
Whether or not you’re in a formal leadership role, people around you are being influenced by your actions and your words. As a result, your leadership ability is being evaluated by others and will be remembered.
Leadership happens every day, not just in a crisis
Did you say or do something today that had an impact on someone? Of course you did. According to Robert M Galford and Regina Fazio Maruca, authors of Your Leadership Legacy, “your day-to-day actions are molding your eventual measure as a leader.”
How leaders act in every day circumstances is just as important as how they act in a crisis. If you’re leading a team of people or if you have children, they’re looking to you every day for direction, guidance, motivation, recognition, acknowledgement, and much more. Your daily interactions will have as much, if not more, impact on your legacy than how you handled that crisis 2 years ago.
Leaders are teachers
People want to emulate great leaders and learn from them. What are people learning from you?
Leaders walk their talk
Are your actions consistent with your values and your character traits? If your actions don’t match with who you think you are, you need to be honest with yourself. If you don’t know who you are and what you stand for, you’ll end up as someone you don’t want to be.
My Leadership Legacy In A Statement
A few years ago I participated in Power of Self, an extraordinary leadership program for women that literally changed my life and set me on the path of creating Ask Ajna. During the program, each participant was tasked with writing her leadership statement. My leadership statement includes in part:
I lead with integrity and live my values. I don’t compromise myself or others.
I am courageous. I challenge the status quo, ask the tough questions and have the difficult conversations. I am an agent of change.
I believe that through shared experience and working together we can achieve greater success than any individual group or person can achieve alone.
My legacy as a leader is to empower others to succeed me.
What leadership legacy are you creating at work or for your children? Join the #LeaveYourLegacy campaign by sharing your legacy: Tweet us, post on our Facebook, or better yet, upload your story on Youtube.
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