Leaders Leave Legacies:

Most leaders don’t leave legacies. When they leave an organization or other leadership position, their memory leaves with them and their names are never to be mentioned again.  Others leave negative legacies, and we all know who those folks are, even though sometimes we would rather not.  So what about the ones that leave powerful, lasting impressions on others? The ones whose legacies live on well beyond their tenure?

5 Ways To Leave A Positive Legacy:

We live in a culture that is constantly asking “what have you done for me lately?” You may not be remembered long for your results as a leader because success is a moving target.  Next year, next month, next week, there is always another goal to reach whether you’re there or not.

This serves as a gentle reminder that creating a positive impact is more about who we touch than what.  Impressions are deeper when we take the time to connect, develop and inspire.  Caring about this is a higher mission as a leader.

Creating a positive impact doesn’t happen by accident and it does not happen overnight. The following 5 strategies are examples of how you can work towards leaving your own impressions, however meaningful you wish them to be.

  1. People over results

Most of us are familiar with the quote by Maya Angelou… “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” As a matter of fact it’s the first thing that pops up when I google her name, so that seems like a healthy place to start.

In a few months, your team won’t remember whether you hit this week’s goals, some probably won’t even care.  What they are going to remember is how you made them feel while trudging the happy road to victory.  Pay attention to any habits you’ve built when speaking to your team. Are you constantly focused on the business of things, or do you take time to ask “how are you?” A team member that feels you’re invested in their future is more likely to be genuinely invested in yours and the future of your business.

  1. Connect in person

Because I manage a virtual and mobile practice, technology is a necessity for me on a daily basis. But no matter the advancements in technology that are to come, I don’t believe there will ever be a substitute for actual human interaction.  I’m talking about that good face-to-face, reach out and touch somebody interaction.  People know the difference and appreciate the added effort it takes, especially given that we all have a wealth of alternatives that can probably produce a passable substitute to in-person meetings. Balance is the answer and awareness is the key.  Your positive legacy can only be perpetuated by positive human interaction.

  1. Investing time and money

Investing in the personal and professional growth of your team is fundamental.  When you invest time and, even money where appropriate, your team will be able to have more success and make an even bigger impact.  Ask your team to propose areas they would like to develop and follow-through with making it happen. It’s a win-win all the way around.

  1. Control less; empower more
    With some things, you just won’t know until you let it go. This is true when it comes to leadership and control.  You can’t know what your team is capable of unless you’re willing to let them take responsibility for their work.  This might scare you, but it’s the kind of behavior that separates the boys from the men.

You might be convinced that stepping out of frame will result in everything falling apart. But what if it doesn’t? What if your example is enough. Teach your team to make intelligent gambles, think critically and help them improve along the way. Work will become more enjoyable and less burdensome for everyone involved.

  1. Model behavior you want to see

Your team learns more from watching what you do than from listening to what you say.  Invite them to attend meetings and include them on calls so they can get a feel for what you do and how. Make sure you’re modeling the behaviors you’d like them to embody. Be humble enough to allow them to give feedback, you would be surprised what others can see that you can’t.

Now get to work! Legacies don’t create themselves.

By, Sahmra A. Stevenson, Esq.
S.A. Stevenson Law Offices, LLC
Email: s.stevenson@saslawOffices.com; Twitter: @SAS_Law; IG: SahmraStevensonEsq; Facebook: @SASLawOffices; www.saslawoffices.com; www.officewithoutwalls.org