What’s the Legacy You want to leave behind?

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During the On Purpose Discovery Process for a client, I recently asked an employee who is planning to retire in a few years, what is the legacy that they wanted to leave with the company. We often discuss legacy in terms of stages of life and when we pass on. What if you thought, as a leader, when I leave this organization, my hope is that I’m remembered for my ___________________.

What would you put in the blank? For me it’s the desire to deeply impact the lives of my clients by inspiring them to be their best in how they work, play and think about life. What about you?

Do you wish to be remembered for being kind, inspirational, challenging, negative, or aggressive? It’s up to you and your current behavior to create the influence you wish to have. Being self-aware and knowing what the impact you have on others becomes a key strength to being able to impact your legacy. If you lack the self-reflection skills to understand how others respond to you and what you may be doing (either in the positive or undesirable sense) you will have more difficulty reaching your legacy goal.

Years ago, I was involved in a corrective meeting with an employee who was aggressive, and demanding in her tone. At times she had valid concerns yet her verbally challenging patterns prevented her message from being effectively received. Her lack of self-awareness prevented her from understanding that she was creating a negative atmosphere in the workplace which impacted her fellow employees, as well as her directors. I suspect she desired a legacy of having positive impact as an advocate for others, unfortunately, the legacy she left was one of being a difficult person to work with.

Reflection is a great step to self-awareness, start to notice the reaction of others – what is their body language telling you, their facial expressions? When you notice a change in them, ask yourself what did I say, how did I say it – and was it consistent with what I intended? Start to look for patterns in your behavior. If you are struggling with getting a clear picture, Executive Coaching may be your answer.


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