What is the legacy of a true leader?

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Most of us have a manager (or coach or teacher) or two who stand out as being particularly influential or inspirational in our lives or career.  We also tend to have dozens who, as time goes by, have become mere foot notes, or have been forgotten completely.

Why does it seem that of all those who have an opportunity to influence us over time, so few actually make a lasting impact?

I think it’s fair to say that most don’t set out to be ineffective or utterly forgettable, yet that is exactly what happens more often than not. So what is it that sets the standouts apart from the herd of forgettablity? (I may have just invented that word, but it fits so well, don’t you think?)

I think it starts with ego.  I’m not talking about a healthy self-confidence.  It could be argued that no one can be a real leader without it.  I’m talking about the level of professional arrogance that causes conversations and meetings to take shape as a “one way” directive rather than a back and forth exchange that leaves both the employee and leader energized and confident about the relationship.

The quote “The Greatest enemy of learning is thinking that you already knowfrom Jack Canfield captures this concept perfectly – an alarming number of leaders behave as if they’ve already “arrived”, and close the door to further growth and self-development opportunities.  Worse yet, they are reluctant to freely give the knowledge they do have, perhaps feeling if they would lose their expert status if they were to share too much with those beneath them.  Clearly, this will really only limit the impact they can have as a leader, holding back the coach, and those being coached.  Beyond that, high caliber “pupils” will recognize this and seek to be coached by someone with the self-esteem to share all they have.

The best leaders I have seen not only treat you as if you are their equal and share the knowledge they have, their support gives you the inspiration and confidence to continue growth, as if fueling a fire, unconcerned, or really, hopeful, that your growth expands beyond their own.

The legacy of a true leader is formed in the leaders he creates.

 

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