When we think about leadership in the “here and now”, we think about what will be most effective in the short run.

Thinking about our leadership over decades, we can turn our attention to the long-term impact we have on others – our positive legacy. 

Long-term thinking (or the failure to apply it) can make or break our efforts to leave a positive legacy.

In effective leadership, we look beyond our own interests and reflect on how we will generate a positive impact on others over time through our daily decisions and actions. 

5 dimensions of our leadership legacy

Our positive legacy is typically discussed as a “thing” but there is more nuance than that description implies.

This post explores five dimensions that help us understand and improve our leadership legacy.

Reflect on the legacy you are leaving by asking yourself these 10 questions across 5 important dimensions of leadership.

1. Personal legacy

How am I having a positive impact on individuals through my leadership now?

How do I improve the lives of those I lead?

2. Interpersonal legacy

How do I model the positive interpersonal behavior that leads to better workplaces and communities?

How do I teach others to promote respect, inclusion and a peaceful global society?

3. Organizational legacy

How do I set high standard for leadership in the organizations I serve?

How do I solve problems, remove roadblocks and otherwise improve the organizations I serve?

4. Community legacy

How do I magnify and support the positive impact of other people’s contributions to communities?

How do I leave communities better than I found them?

5. Greater good legacy

How do I influence the course of human events in a positive way?

How do I make life better on our planet for future generations, leaving a positive legacy long after I am gone?

Our legacy compounds

As we lead, we should not overestimate our own importance.

The greatest leadership legacy is achieved by preparing others to do great things.

This generates a positive ripple effect that multiplies and compounds the positive impact of our leadership.

Don’t leave your legacy to chance. Take a moment to reflect on your leadership strengths and choose a dimension (of the 5 above) where you can improve your leadership this year.

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