How to Build a Leadership Legacy Worth Leaving

Creating a body of work that makes you proud.

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BY Dave McKeown - 29 Jan 2019

how to build a leadership legacy

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

What do you want your leadership body of work to be?

When you reach the point that you step away from your career and look back at (hopefully) a life well lived, what will you determine is the total of the impact you had in your many years helping navigating teams and organizations through change, turbulence, success, and failure?

Let me ask that question another way. Why is it that you do what you do every day? What impact do you want to have in the long run?

Given the always-on, transactional nature of most leader's day-to-day actions and interactions, there's seldom the opportunity to take a step back and ask "What's the point?"

One of the greatest examples of this is that great quote from Steve Jobs:

"We're here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why would we be here?"

For Jobs, this mantra acted not just as a goal to strive for but also a north star in turbulent times helping to guide his decisions.

Most successful entrepreneurial leaders I work with have some intrinsic motivation that is bigger than themselves. Yours doesn't have to be as profound as Jobs' but If you haven't yet considered what it is that you're building toward, what your leadership body of work is to be then I strongly suggest you take some time this week to reflect on it.

Here's a (by no means exhaustive) list of potential areas of impact for you to consider:

Your Team

Building an incredible team that gets into the trenches with each other, snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, stares down their loses and ultimately pulls together for success.

Your Organization

Helping individual members of your team (or beyond) become the best version of themselves. Using your personal experiences to help others grow. Providing an example for them of what great leadership looks like.

Your Customers

Delivering a better life for your customers through a transformative product or service. Making your customers lives more manageable, helping them achieve complex goals.

Your Organization

Creating an organization that outlives you, that embodies your leadership, and that gives you (and those who work in it) an unremitting sense of pride in the place they spend the majority of their week.

Your Community

Impacting your local community through your time, resources or other services. Recognizing that you're a cog in a wider wheel that can be a positive force for change,

Take some time to think about your body of work, write it down, meditate on it and let it guide your choices and decisions throughout the year.

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