Monday, December 8, 2008

Leaving a legacy that reflects your best qualities

On a flight back to the Bay Area this weekend, I read a book called "Your Leadership Legacy." It has a lot of relevance for coaches.

The authors contend that "thinking about leadership in the context of your legacy helps you establish -- and reestablish -- priorities."

Here's a good passage from the book:

If you are a leader...of any group of individuals, you will leave a leadership legacy. It won't be a record of your...performance. Instead, your legacy will be revealed in how your colleagues...and others think and behave as a result of the time they spent working with you.

If you start thinking about your leadership legacy now, rather than just before you change jobs, you will greatly increase your odds of leaving a legacy that reflects your best qualities, as well as the elements of your leadership that you would like to see embedded in the fabric of the organization you leave behind.

In clarifying what you would like other to take away as a result of having worked with you, you will gain a better understanding of yourself in your role as a leader and you will better understand how the big-picture view of your role is fueled by your actions on a daily basis.

Your legacy is today.

Parenting provides [a] good analogy. To the best of your ability, you provide for your children those things that they need to grow and thrive while they're directly under your care. You want to instill in them the best parts of yourself and your judgment so that when they become independent they'll be ahead of the curve.

Ultimately, however, the goal is for them to develop their own strengths, using what you've taught them as a foundation on which they can build... That's a parent's net value.

It's the same with the net value of a leader.