31 Mar Scarlet Thinking and Legacy
Legacy as a Leadership Competency
Definition of Legacy as a competency: Having a solid understanding that your leadership will make a difference and that it’s up to you to make that difference as positive and as great as possible. Demonstrating this.
I get very excited about legacy and leadership. It’s a paradigm that can change everything once you understand it and live by it. We are all intellectually aware that our leadership has repercussions but we may not think too much about what that means. We often think about our leadership in terms of what it means for our career, or how we can get past the next issue. The truth is that our leadership can change the future. Think about it. We can take our organisation down a different path, set up new systems or initiatives. We can make an impact.
Of course, it is easier to do this in some organisations more than others. Red tape, awkward colleagues, working full pelt just to stay still. We know the score. But, as leaders, there is potential. Understanding that, we have the opportunity to stand back and ask ourselves what kind of legacy do we want to leave?
The benefits of Legacy for you
Legacy is also two-fold, however, and here is where the magic comes in. There is plenty of research to suggest that those of us doing meaningful work are happier and more content in our work. What could be more meaningful than working on our own legacy? The big question is, deciding what your legacy will be. Here are some things you can do as part of that process:
- Go back to your Values (again, back to authenticity) and look at how you can share those values with your business
- What problems can you see that you can start to work on?
- What gaps are obvious to you? This could be anything from a female empowerment initiative to help younger members of staff, to creating a think tank for a new product idea
Even if it’s not a tangible legacy like a programme or new product, sharing the benefit of your learning and your way of thinking with others can be just as much as a legacy. Likewise, you can help create a legacy-orientated environment by asking questions such a “What can we learn from that?” with your team on a regular basis. You can also do the same for yourself with regular journalling: a great leadership habit to adopt.
The beauty of legacy is you’ll often know you’ve found it when you start to feel a sense of responsibility for delivering it, independent of any external pressure. The pay off is the reward you get in form of satisfaction and a sense of purpose as you work on it.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Who in my my own organisation has left or is leaving a legacy? What are they doing?
- Which leaders in the world of business or politics have made a positive long term impact?
- What can I learn from them?
- What are my past legacies in previous jobs or careers?