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Leaving a Legacy

A trusted leader leaves a legacy

I am passionate about transforming lives and the one thing that I have come to realise is the tremendous impact we, as Leaders, have on the people around us.

The goal of a Leader is to build relationships and accomplish something memorable that will help the organisation move forward long after they are gone.

I am reminded again of the late Harvard Business School Professor Clayton M. Christensen, who's ground-breaking 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma introduced the concept of disruptive innovation, and whose 2012 book and Harvard Business Review article titled “How Will You Measure Your Life?” inspired his students and readers to apply the theories of business to their personal lives.

His contributions have been enormous but there are three particular lessons that are resonating with me as a Leader:

Do not over invest in work, and under invest in relationships

Modern work culture often champions and celebrates burn out, obsession about work, and that people should derive their self-esteem and self-worth from their job. Christensen disputes that culture, arguing that ultimately our greatest sources of joy in life will be our family and close friends and in order for those relationships to enrich our lives, we need to devote time to them.

Always stick to your principles

Dr. Christensen uses several examples to illustrate the importance of holding your principles, not just sometimes, but all the time. “It’s easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time.”

Consider how you’re allocating resources

Christensen encourages building and implementing strategies in your career and your personal life to achieve your goals, and the underlying tenet of that success is the allocation of resources. He identifies resources as time and money, how you spend those things is what will determine the outcome.

I believe the lessons above contribute to a Leader’s ability to leave a legacy. It underpins the principles of a Servant Leader, a leader that doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty, treating his team with respect, never avoids conflict, like a colleague of mine referred to as “leading with a velvet hammer”.

Above all, the ability to leave a legacy is rooted in the power of trust. There are endless ways in which trust can be leveraged for the greater good and leaving a positive legacy.

Humility and compassion are top of my list. As said so eloquently by Dr. Maya Angelou, "People will forget what you've said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget the way you made them feel."

Lolly Daskal in her book “The Leadership Gap” talks about a legacy of a great leader as the ability to carve your name on the hearts, and etch it into the minds of others, creating the stories that defines your legacy.

If I can transform people and at the same time, through that process, leave a lasting positive imprint I would feel an enormous sense of gratitude. After all is said and done, impacting people remain a privilege and should be treated with reverence.

I look forward to sharing, what you believe, are the key elements that would enable you, as a leader, to leave a legacy.

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