What is your legacy as a leader?
Even if you are just starting out as an assistance manager at the local convenience store it is time to think beyond yourself, beyond the current time, to your ultimate legacy. Do you want to be remembered as the leader who put the slur in slurpee or the ho in hoagie or do you want to be remembered as the leader who courageously and religiously never let one of those scary hotdogs be skewered in the rotating oven for more than 21 days?
A lot of people are confused with legacy. Read this: “legacy” is not a pejorative. Do not use it as such. Please consult your dictionary. A legacy is something that is left to another in a will; a bequest of personal property. The word is derived from the Latin “legare”, meaning “to leave by way of a will”. That’s it. By itself, it has neither positive nor negative connotations.
Some people confuse legacy with Emeril Lagasse which is also wrong. But his legacy of food and the word, BAM may live on.
So if your are not Emeril how do you cook up your leadership legacy. Here are the 5 key questions to create your personal big BAM:
- Determine your defining contribution to the workplace beside the bowl of jellybeans in your cubicle (Don’t try to become Ronald Reagan, become more of who you already are — maybe try a bowl of m&ms)?
- Ask who will miss you after you retire? If the answer is nobody then you have a legacy issue that needs to be addressed.
- What will they say you did around the office (besides bringing donuts for your loyal followers)? Craft your legacy litany by signing all your emails with Bob: The guy who got things done. By the way, this works best if your name is Bob and you actually did something.
- How did you make a difference? Were you courageous enough to stand out? Perhaps you wore a bowtie when all those around you dressed in drab business casual?
- Serve the people you lead without taking credit for your service so that when you are gone people will say, “who was that masked man?”
Dr. Z. reminds you: Get a leg up on leadership by ensuring your leadership has a legacy to stand on!
Picture credit: Your actions create a legacy for others to follow by http://flickr.com/photos/wildphotons/297077257/