In your current leadership role, have you thought about how you’d like to be remembered once you move on to your next challenge?  If you’ve already had a number of roles, what was the legacy you left behind?  Was it what you wanted, something to be proud of, or was it disappointing?

Whether you choose to or not, you will always leave some kind of legacy.  Only you can decide what that should be and how you will determine how to achieve it.

Are you a leader worthy of the respect from your team?  Do you want to take responsibility for your own success and develop your own plan for learning and growing as a leader, so that you and those around you are positively affected?

Many managers I’ve worked with had no specific goals for themselves or their team.  They are busy dealing with the day-to-day, fire-fighting or working on projects and initiatives they’ve been given.  But most want to leave their department in a better place than when they started.

Without taking the time to plan, unfortunately that goal will never happen.  Unless you give time now to work on your future plans and strategy, it will just be a nice dream!

What is the department like, what are the team members’ skills and achievements, what is the culture of the department and organisation, what is the strategic vision of the organisation and how does your team play its part?

What do you want people to say when you’ve moved on?  How can you achieve this?  Is there anything you need to learn about yourself in order to achieve this?  Do you need to develop further your leadership skills, emotional intelligence, communication and listening skills?

Especially when you’re taking on a new team, not only are you going to be leading the change for your team, you will be facing different personal challenges.  You will be on a steep learning curve which needs you to maintain self-awareness and confidence to push forward.  Plan to regularly spend time to understand how you feel at each stage, what have been your successes, what hasn’t gone so well and can be learnt from.

Once you’ve give yourself a period of review and research, some goals and objectives will be obvious or even urgent, and some will need more time to establish.  Ensure you build in the flexibility to learn as you go, and longer term goals are directive rather than set in stone until confirmed as part of your strategy.  Ensure goals are clear and measurable and tie into the medium and long term vision that you decide you are working towards.

Only you can decide on what you want to be remembered for and whether that’s something you’ll regret or something you can be proud of.   So what do you need to do today, to achieve what you really want to be remembered for in the future?

If you’re transitioning to a new management role and would like some additional support, especially in those first few vital months, then you can download our free 24 page guide “Successful Manager Transitions”, or contact us for information on our executive coaching programmes.


  1. admin

    Thanks to Richard Gadd on Linked In:

    I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to a very good question. I’ve never asked myself ‘what legacy’ I wish to leave, and many of us are too busy ‘firefighting’ to really give it much thought.

    Ultimately, I hope for others to think of me as a ‘leader’, which I believe is more a description of the person rather than the ‘role’. I aspire to make people feel good about themselves, to enjoy what they’re doing, and to believe that they are making a positive difference.

    For me, the expression ‘leadership role’ describes the expectation about the post holder, rather than his or her performance.

  2. Pingback: Leaders Are Responsible for Their Development Too | Assiem

  3. Karen

    Thanks to Richard on Linked In:
    Karen, Throughout my career, I’ve never knowingly set out to leave a legacy, although as I gain more seniority in an organisation, I do occasionally question the legacy of the most senior executives. Personally, I’d preferred to be remembered by those people I’ve ‘touched’, rather than by more tangible deliverables such as a building, a process or a transition. Tangible deliverables are undoubtedly important, although whether they are a positive or negative legacy is often subjective. In my opinion there is little more satisfying than being thanked for something you did years ago by someone you scarely remember, not because they were unimportant but because the support you provided then is no different to the support you provide to others now, and is no more remarkable to you that breathing. If I had a legacy, I’d hope that it might be that I always cared about the wellbeing of those team members I was privileged enough to lead, and made them smile.

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