5 Ways the Best Leaders Leave Unforgettable Legacies

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Most leaders don’t leave a legacy. They are never mentioned again when they leave an organization, especially if they die or get fired.

Then there are the ones who leave a negative legacy. You know, the leader who had the going away party but wasn’t invited.

However, some have powerful legacies that live on for years, continuing to make positive impacts in staff meetings, presentations, and even at the water cooler.

You may not be remembered very long for your results as a leader, because next year there’s always another goal to reach–whether you’re there or not.

We live and work in a “what have you done for me lately” world. It’s a powerful reminder: Leaving a legacy lives through people, not results.

Your positive impact will ripple far beyond your tenure when you connect, develop, and inspire. Caring about this is a call to a higher mission as a leader.

After you’ve recognized that leaving a positive legacy is important, you can start or restart by trying one of these five strategies:

1. Prioritize people over results

Three years from now, your team won’t remember whether you hit all of your goals. They’ll remember how you made them feel on the way there.

Start paying attention to any habits you’ve built when speaking to your team. Do you always focus on result? Try starting with a “How are you doing?” instead.

2. Invest your time and money

When you invest in your team’s professional growth, your team will be able to have more success and make an even bigger impact in the future. It will carry your legacy even further.

Ask your team to propose areas they would like to develop. See where that can become a win-win-win for them, you, and the company.

3. Connect in person

In a high-paced, virtual world, it’s easy to slip into leadership by email. Sometimes, this is a necessity–but your legacy won’t be sustained by a barrage of emails.

Make the effort to connect over the phone as well as in person. Your positive legacy can only be perpetuated by positive human interaction.

4. Control less; empower more

This may scare you. What if you empower your team to take the initiative and make decisions, and they end up breaking everything you’ve built?

Teach your team to make intelligent gambles and improvise along the way. Work becomes more enjoyable, and they’ll become more experienced in independent work–which they may need when you’re gone and they have a new leader.

5. Model behavior you want to last

Your team learns more from watching you than listening to you. Invite them to attend meetings and calls so they can observe you in action with senior leaders or customers. Make sure you’re modeling the behaviors you’d like to see them embody.

Here’s to your enduring legacy!