It’s time to turn legacy building on its head 


Most of us want to leave some kind of legacy in this world. It’s a very human thing to want to make a mark and be remembered for years to come, even after we’re gone. 

Often, it’s leaders who are coming to the last few years of their professional life or those who have been in a role for a long time who are starting to wonder what they might leave behind. It’s natural to want to quantify successes – to prove to ourselves and to others that we have achieved something. 

Many leaders are challenged in their leadership to find that balance between wanting to intentionally secure their legacy and simply wanting to get on with the job to leave something more natural behind. So, how do you ensure your hard work is remembered for generations to come?

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that there is no step-by-step process for success. Instead, it’s time to reconsider the way we think about legacies. Instead of striving for those specific materialistic or emotional impacts, start thinking about your impact differently. 

Reconsider the very definition of a legacy 

In the process of goal setting, the acronym SMART is often used. Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. When it comes to your legacy, it’s time to throw those criteria out the window. 

For example, your goal might be to fund a new building for your organisation. Using SMART goals to achieve this project would be prudent. When you look back on your time as a leader, it might be one of the shining points and something that you consider to be a major part of your legacy. 

However, over time the legacy will not be the building or the funding itself. Instead it will be less specific, less immediately quantifiable things like the longevity of the building, how the process made members of your team feel throughout and the new activities or culture that the building has allowed your team to create since. 

Don’t get caught up in it 

One of the most dangerous things a leader can do is to get caught up around the mark they’ll leave behind. The risk they run is becoming known for their desire to leave a legacy, rather than the legacy itself. They become tunnel-visioned, unable to see what’s going on, or not going on around them. 

This kind of approach is blinkered and doesn’t win leaders favour with their team. Even more so, it means that leaders are so focused on the future – a future they cannot control – that they become blind to what’s happening here in the present. They can become blind to the real challenges their team is facing and they can miss opportunities to help their team thrive. 

It is unfortunate that leaders can get so caught up  with leaving a mark that they miss all the opportunities to solidify themselves as a great leader who works hard to ensure their team’s success. 

It’s natural to want to make an impact in your leadership and most leaders want to leave positivity in their wake. It’s important to let that impact evolve naturally through everyday actions and great leadership rather than intentionally seeking it out. When leaders do this, they run the risk of being remembered for all the wrong reasons. 

Are you ready to leave a legacy of great leadership? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.