An often overlooked element to cultivating leadership qualities that inspire others is embracing the concept of leading with a legacy in mind.
Leading with legacy involves setting long-term goals focused on improving an individual's personal and professional growth as a human being, particularly in relation to others.
Effectively leading with legacy transforms how entrepreneurs perceive their role as leaders. It involves a shift in mindset from being focused on short term objective or performance related objectives, to long term objectives that have profound socio-economic consequences.
Here, we examine a variety of ways entrepreneurs can lead with a mindful notion of their own legacy.
Leading With Legacy
To lead with legacy is about leading in such a way as to impart a positive lasting impact on a group, a company and/or a culture.
It is an outward focused mindset that channels an entrepreneur's energy toward providing a meaningful contribution to the living experiences of the people around them. By placing the needs of others before themselves, leaders become examples to live by. They are looked up to by their pears and acclaimed for their contributions.
The good that these entrepreneurs provide to others becomes reciprocated in the form of respect and adoration. In this way, leading with legacy is analogous building a personal feedback loop of positive karma.
Entrepreneurs who lead with legacy improve their professional environment by motivating and inspiring others to not only achieve great things, but to grow as individuals. This leadership tactic has the added benefit of producing a very loyal following among colleagues and staff.
The challenge for entrepreneurs is that leading with legacy is as much an objective as it is a proactive process.
Fostering the benefits of leading with legacy takes time to develop and vision to achieve.
Sometimes, a whole lifetime.
Life + Leadership = Legacy
It begins by recognizing the interdependent relationship between the personal experiences that happen outside of the workplace and the professional experiences that happen within.
Leaders who impart a lasting legacy on society discover a practical and rewarding balance between their personal and professional activities and proactively practice improving that interdependent relationship.
This can manifest in a myriad of ways from cyclically adopting new leadership techniques to trying new outdoor activities on a regular basis.
No matter the individual character or experience, what remains a constant among entrepreneurs who lead with a sense of legacy is that they are relentless learners. They routinely try new activities, study new ideas and place themselves positions of weakness in order to build new strengths.
By relentlessly taking measured risks, these leaders inspire others around them to build the courage to also try new things and grow as human beings.
Awareness & Significance
Leading with a sense of legacy demands cultivating a high level of self awareness and nurturing a desire to search for significance in every action, objective and purpose.
Awareness allows entrepreneurs to recognize where they can make personal and professional improvements, as well as opportunities to impact the experiences of others.
Searching for significance encourages leaders to attribute meaning to their actions, and to act according to a higher purpose beyond themselves.
To instill a culture that promotes a legacy mindset, entrepreneurs should challenge their colleagues and staff to search for significance in everything they do.
Practicing this will encourage all stakeholders to reflect on their actions, and how they impact themselves as well as the people around them.
The objective of this exercise is to reveal insights that can improve personal and professional behaviors in order to produce more inspired, collaborative and compassionate human beings.
Building a business is a collective exercise. It is the responsibility of the entrepreneur to instill a progressive culture of learning and self-develop in order to maintain a nimble, adaptive and competitive company.
Being able to identify and communicate the significance of an action, objective or mission will further enhance the collective focus and harmony of the group.
Value & Achievement
Identifying significance is an essential part of elevating the value of what individuals and groups accomplish within the workplace. Significance helps identify how objective oriented actions impact external stakeholders including customers.
When customers feel that they are valued or can identify with the values of a company, they are more likely to invest and become advocates of the business.
Achieving this esteemed status with customers provides a sense of purpose to the internal stakeholders of the company beyond their individual tasks. Purpose provides relatable meaning that enhances focus and sustains motivation to act according to a specific design or strategy.
In this way leading with legacy imparts a sense of purpose onto others. It ensures that the individual and collective actions within the company produce value beyond measurable economic returns that align with the strategic objectives of the business.
To lead with legacy is to create bridges of significance that link the day-to-day actions of a company with the long term vision. It is transforms what happens within the workplace as a part of the broad contemporary experience of society, rather than an isolated events.
The last challenge entrepreneurs face when cultivating a leadership style that embraces a sense of legacy is recognizing a legacy cannot be measured by what can be individually accomplished.
A legacy cannot develop in isolation. It must be actively felt be the people around us, the people we work with, who we live with, who we affect, who we serve and love.
Leading with a mindful notion of legacy is as much about identifying qualities to professionally and personally develop, as it is about reflecting on how outsiders perceive an entrepreneur's leadership qualities and how impactful his/her actions are on their experience of life.
Because leading with legacy is a distinctly outward facing exercise demanding significant awareness and compassion it can at times feel like an unrewarding exercise. Entrepreneurs should not loose faith in the practice or mindset.
Leading with legacy is a long game.
The rewards can take years if not decades to come to fruition. But when they are finally felt, they can yield a far greater sense of personal success and purposeful impact than any short-term achievement.
In the end, it is impossible not to become what others believe you are.
- Julius Caesar
Ultimately, it will be the opinion of others that dictates your life achievements and impact on society.
So think about the legacy you would like to impart, keep the big-picture close to mind, and lead the people around you with self-less compassion.
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