The Leader’s Legacy: How Do You Determine How History Will Remember Your Name?
Leadership Lesson: Thinking about what you want your legacy to be — and what it might actually be as of today — helps you shape your leadership to work toward leaving your desired mark.
“History will remember your/their name…”
In the current political climate, tempers run high, patience runs low, and discord and distrust run amok. The political landscape has become unrecognizable and shifted so far away from what is considered traditional and typical decorum and behavior.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is how each side of the political divide continues to stake their claim on the higher morale ground, all the while reassuring the public that their side is actually the one doing what’s best for the country. And that’s what the political parties have always claimed, so there’s nothing new there.
What is new, though, is the vitriolic level of the controversial charges and claims surrounding and permeating Washington, D.C., which seems to boil over on a daily basis. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse or more outlandish – BAM! – emotional rhetoric explodes.
Things are so extreme that people no longer call each other out only in real-time, in the moment, regarding claims in current events, but they also declare history will remember the name of <<insert whoever the perceived “perp” is>> for <<whatever the offense of the day is>>.
That’s an intriguing way to look at it.
— CiO Leadership Coach (@CoachItOut) August 30, 2017
What will the history ascribe to people, whether in writing or in the memories of those who follow?
How do those who “will be remembered” see it, and how much weight do (should) they put into those assertions?
How do you see it – how someone will be remembered tomorrow and into the future for their work to date?
In what light will people remember your name and who you are?
What goes into your considerations for how your name will be “remembered by history?”
What will be your legacy?
Consider these points today with regard to what people may remember you for in the future:
How Did You Empower Your Organization?
In the future, people may ask: How did you tap into the people in your organization? Were you able to harness all the abilities, skills, and desires, as much as possible, which existed under the roof of your organization?
Why it’s important: It’s important that leaders leave no money on the table, and that they invest all that the people within their group are ready and able to commit to the mission. Leading is not a hard charge forward but, instead, an ongoing analysis of the group internally to see where the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats exist — a completely internal SWOT analysis.
What Tools Did You Encourage and Build In Your Organization?
In the future, people may ask: How did you innovate how the work was done? What did you provide to the workplace to get it going to where it was supposed to be, by the best means available and possible?
Why it’s important: Too often, leaders may just pick up the ball and continue the same strategy without assessing the overall effectiveness of the tools utilized to date. They forgo environmental analysis and determining what changes need to be made to the toolset to move forward in the most effective manner possible.
How Did You Adjust The Mission?
In the future, people may ask: What changes, for better or worse, did you make to the principles that guided and drove your organization or group? How did those changes impact the stakeholders both inside and outside of the group working on that mission?
Why it’s important: Those changes determine the direction in which the group is moving and how successful the ongoing mission is, both in the short- and long-term. This is a big piece of what determines what gets done and how it gets done. It also lays the foundation off of which a stakeholder/observer in the future may later contemplate a past leader’s performance, reputation, and legacy.
What Were The Benefits and Results Of Your Leadership?
In the future, people may ask: Besides the overall changes a leader made to the mission, what were the results that were actively sought, and what was it that actually played out?
Why it’s important: This is the most obvious marker of a leader’s legacy and why and how their name will be remembered: How much better or worse did your organization do as a result of you being at the helm? The previous considerations are important, but this one is the one that either solidifies or deteriorates reputations, credibility, and financial performance.
How Did People, Individually, Benefit From Your Leadership?
In the future, people may ask: The people you lead – how did they fare in either that environment or in a different, external environment should they have ended up leaving the organization or group?
Why it’s important: This is part of a leader’s legacy that may not be overt or obvious to anyone monitoring the performance of the company or organization in question. Consideration should be given to how effective the people a leader led are in their subsequent environments, endeavors, and projects. It’s important to consider what they took away, whether good or bad, from having worked with the leader in question. It is crucial that people continue developing, growing, and learning under the tenure of a leader.
So, how will history remember your name?
While your leadership wake is more about considering the medium-term impact of your leadership, what will be the longer-term story told of your role in your mission?
Some already operate under the desire to leave a great legacy of work, tradition, and results. But some need to do this while others don’t. While some are more invested in proactively building their legacy and leaving their mark, others are just fine going with the flow and reacting to what comes their way.
In the end, granted, history might carry more weight when it comes to politics and government, but should we consider how high (or low) the future of our environment and/or communities holds us in regard?
What do you think? Where do you stand? Do you believe what people perceive later should factor into the decisions you make and the actions you take today?
Consider everything around you — your tools, your skills, your knowledge, what you appreciate — because all these things contribute to the narrative of your own story for readers to learn and remember later.
How will history remember your name?