Leadership Barometer 199 Your Legacy

When you consider your role as a human being, your legacy surfaces as a critical element. This article is about your legacy and how to maximize it.

Legacy refers to the impact you leave behind as a result of your actions and contributions while on earth. It is the lasting imprint or mark that you leave for future generations. You might ask why there is so much interest in passing on an outstanding legacy. 

Why worry about legacy?

Once your body has passed into the spirit world, the first thing is to dispose of your personal effects.  The pile of clutter you have accumulated will be passed on to relatives or donated to social services.  Whatever financial assets are left will be disseminated to your relatives or charitable associations.

What remains is your legacy: your “gift” to the world. It is the sum of what you contributed based on your brief stay in the tangible world.

Especially important for leaders

Leaders need to think about legacy because it is the process by which society moves forward.  If you are a leader, here is a checklist of things to help improve your personal legacy.

Clarify your vision 

You need to have a clear and compelling vision that inspires others and guides their decision-making. Be sure to share your vision with others in ways that demonstrate you really mean it.

Set long-term goals

Establish ambitious but realistic long-term goals that reflect your vision. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Lead by example

Demonstrate the values and behaviors you expect from others. You should exhibit integrity, humility, empathy, and accountability in your actions. Leading by example creates trust and encourages others to follow suit.

Develop and empower others

Invest in the development of your team members, helping them acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed.

Foster collaboration

Encourage collaboration and teamwork within your organization or team. Promote a culture of open communication, trust, and respect. That culture allows you to harness the collective intelligence and creativity of your people.

Innovate and adapt

Embrace innovation and stay ahead of changing times. Encourage a culture of continuous learning, experimentation, and adaptation. That mindset will position your organization or team for long-term success.

Make a positive impact

Strive to make a positive impact not only within your organization but also in the broader society. Champion social and environmental causes, promote ethical practices, and contribute to the well-being of your community.

Mentor future leaders 

Actively mentor and support the growth of emerging leaders. By sharing your knowledge, insights, and experiences, you can leave a lasting legacy. Shape the next generation of leaders.

Reflect and learn 

Reflect on your actions, successes, and failures. By learning from past experiences, you refine your approach and make continuous improvements. Self-awareness and a growth mindset are essential for long-lasting legacies.

Document and share knowledge

Document your knowledge, lessons learned, and best practices. This idea could include writing books, creating educational resources, or establishing mentorship programs. Sharing knowledge ensures that your legacy lives on and benefits future generations.


Your legacy is not solely defined by your personal achievements. It is all about the positive impact you have on others and the lasting changes you bring about.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.

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