Leadership legacy is a term used to describe how someone will be remembered as a leader (Seely, 2019). Authentic and humble leaders are intentional and clear about who they are and how they treat and work with those around them. Their energy is not solely directed to the bottom line. It is underpinned by growing their staff (whether they like them or not) and guiding them on their respective professional journeys. Humble leaders honour the dignity of the individuals within their teams and the organisation. They engage in practices that are ethical, respectful, and supportive and are not influenced by nepotism or cronyism.
Leadership legacy speaks to the creation of a workplace and team culture that has a clear vision and expectations. It appreciates contribution and is bounded by beliefs and values, collaboration, consultation, and dignity (Trepanier, 2023). It allows for diversity of opinion and is inclusive of all without judgement.
The literature on leadership and management offers a plethora of strategies and approaches that humble, positive, and respectful leaders embed in their respective styles (Kouzes & Posner, 2011; Seely, 2019). These include but are not limited to:
- Being present
- Being honest and transparent as possible
- Being reflective and respectfully responsive in professional relationships and
- Acknowledge and appreciate all stakeholders.
Leadership legacies encapsulate the work of leaders who are visionary (inspire a compelling purpose); reflective designers (provide open and empowering systems); inspiring coaches/mentors (grow potential) and thought-provoking catalysts (foster positive connections) (Lurie & Tegelberg, 2019).
Let’s not forget that we are all leaders. We do not need a badge or a title to be a leader. Leadership legacies are reflective of leaders who have walked and continue to walk, the path of integrity by actively listening and asking questions to understand people and their ‘’why’’. Mitigating power and influence for the greater good is evident in the leadership legacies of yesteryear Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, and in the 21st century Malala Yousafzai, Angela Merkel, and Jacinta Ardern.
My leadership legacy is to support the personal and professional growth of individuals, teams, and organisations by meeting them at their point of need.
What will your leadership legacy be?