Empowering Others to Reach Their Full Potential: A Leader's Legacy
Ask any successful leader, “Who do you admire as a leader?” I guarantee you, they’ll be able to name someone instantly.
We all have those leaders who shaped our own leadership, who showed us how to inspire a team, reach big goals, and take care of others so that they could grow to become leaders themselves.
So many of the outdated markers of “good” leadership were focused on pretty short-term goals—quarterly results, monthly customer acquisition, increased efficiency in a process.
But the memorable leaders, the ones who served as mentors who inspired others, don’t stay with us because they were successful based on hard numbers and data. Their legacies go far beyond the boardroom and the bottom line. It’s the lasting impact on the people around them that defines their legacies.
Your leadership legacy will be reflected in the growth and success of the individuals you inspired, uplifted, and supported.
You’re actively creating your leadership legacy every day, every single moment, in how you choose to show up, collaborate with your team, and open space for growth and excellence.
So here are three perspectives to nurture as you build an enduring leadership legacy.
1. Permission to be imperfect.
No one is perfect, period. And the pressure to be perfect is harmful.
Perfectionism only hinders performance.
Trying to be perfect keeps us from taking risks, looking for creative solutions, and learning from setbacks and failures.
Excellence, not perfection, should be the goal.
When we stop using perfection as the metric, it’s like releasing a pressure valve. Suddenly there’s space for everyone to become more innovative and agile. Everyone is empowered to bring their full selves to the table, and everyone has the freedom to stretch their skills, learn from setbacks, and lean into the challenge.
Leaders who understand that mistakes, setbacks, and failures are not roadblocks but stepping-stones leave a lasting legacy, both in their organizations and with each member of their team.
2. Be realistic about work-life balance.
Never underestimate the impact of a leader who is truly committed to a healthy work-life balance. It’s so easy to pay lip service to the importance of being free to be present in our time outside of work, but when you actively support those boundaries, it can be life-changing for each member of your team.
Don’t just tell your people that family is important. Don’t just tell them that you value their time outside of work. Don’t just tell them that rest is critical to success.
Show them. Encourage breaks. Offer flexibility. Check in with them to see if their workloads are manageable. Ask them what they need, really listen, and never lose sight of the fact that each person’s needs are unique and will shift and change through different seasons of their lives.
If you’ve had the experience of working for a leader who saw you beyond your job, but as your fully self, and who encouraged you to invest in your life and your passions outside of work, you know what an unforgettable impact those leaders have.
But don’t forget that you show people what you value through your own approach to work. If you want your team to feel confident you value work-life balance, you have to practice it yourself. You can tell your team all day long that no one should feel obligated to work past 5:00 p.m.
But if they see you churning away in your office late every night, no one is going to believe you and no one is going to feel comfortable or confident in maintaining that boundary for themselves.
Tell them, show them, and then model it yourself to have a real lasting impact.
3. Operate with a growth mindset.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a leader in an organization, putting growth at the center of your operational mindset can transform the way you think about yourself, your role, and your team.
A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. It allows us to be open to new challenges and experiences, and views mistakes as opportunities for learning.
When you operate with a growth mindset, you’re more likely to be successful because you are invested in the journey of learning.
When you’re focused on growth, you no longer have to pretend that you have all the answers. What a relief, right? Your team is a treasure trove of feedback, knowledge, experiences, and ideas that can help you try new approaches and respond to challenges in innovative ways.
And when you honor and respect your team’s expertise, that faith will empower them to achieve new heights. They’ll feel more valued and therefore invested, which transltates to them bringing their best to the table.
In the short-term, you’ll be better able to nurture a positive and productive work environment.
In the long-term, your team will remember what it looked and felt like to work for a leader who believed in their capacity to rise to meet each new opportunity and challenge.
Here are some simple, concrete ways to start creating your legacy as a leader:
Get clear on your vision. What do you want to achieve as a leader? What are your core beliefs and values? Share your vision with your team so that they know what you are working towards and how they can align with that vision.
Set challenging goals. Growth-minded leaders don’t shy away from challenges, and they don’t wait for learning opportunities to fall at their feet. They purposely set ambition goals that push them to learn and grow.
Be a lifelong learner. Never believe you know it all and never stop looking for new ideas, information, and knowledge. Take courses, read books, and attend conferences. The more you learn, the more you grow as a leader.
Be a role model. Show your team that you are always learning and growing. Share your own experiences of past failures and how you learned from them. And be transparent about your own mistakes or failures in working with your team and how you plan to grow forward.
Value feedback. Give your team members regular feedback that is specific, constructive, and actionable. And seek out and embrace feedback from your team. Ask them what they need from you, how you can better support them, and what they need you to do differently going forward.
Today, you have the power to plant seeds of change, to nurture the growth of others, and to create a ripple effect that extends far beyond your immediate reach.
Imagine a world where your leadership legacy inspires others to embody compassion, empathy, and a genuine commitment to human connection.
Picture a future where your impact echoes through organizations and communities, fostering a culture of excellence, innovation, and unwavering support.
Your leadership legacy is not just about achieving impressive goals or building a successful career. It's about the indelible mark you make on the lives of others, the values you instill, and the positive transformation you inspire.
So, what do you want to be remembered for?
Do you want to be known as the leader who fostered creativity and risk-taking? The one who empowered others to break free from limitations and achieve their full potential?
Or maybe you aspire to be remembered as the leader who cultivated a culture of kindness, understanding, and unwavering support.
Every decision, every interaction, every step you take contributes to the legacy you will leave behind.
As a leader, you have the unique privilege of shaping the lives of others and influencing the world around you.
Embrace this responsibility with open arms and a heart full of purpose. Nurture the seeds of your leadership legacy today, and watch as they blossom into a powerful force for good.
Remember, your leadership legacy is not just about what you do; it's about who you are. It's about the values you embody, the spirit you cultivate, and the impact you leave on the hearts and minds of those you lead.
When you're ready, here are 3 ways I can help…
100% Human Leadership Program: This workshop gives you the tools, strategies, and support you need to cultivate human-centric workplace that empowers your team to thrive.
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Leading With A Growth Mindset: Join over 119,000 other learners inside Leading With A Growth Mindset. This comprehensive course will teach you how to strengthen your greatest asset: your mindset, and create a thriving workplace.