With power comes responsibility. If you are lucky, by the time you become a senior and influential leader in your organisation you will have been trained and nurtured over a number of years. You will have worked for some excellent role models who have pushed you forward and supported you throughout your career, making you aware of potential pitfalls and how to avoid them – giving you opportunities to grow, make mistakes and learn.
You will have worked for some poor leaders, and learned equally important lessons of what not to do. You will have the knowledge that leadership is a privilege, and one that’s ultimate responsibility is to those that you lead, and the management skills to aline individual, team and task goals to produce results. Whilst you will have been rewarded for results, you will also have been rewarded for treating your people well and fairly.
Individual and organisational values are at the core of your decisions and you are constrained by professional and personal ethics. You genuinely care about those around you and can exercise selfless commitment, doing the right thing not the easy thing. Your personality is suited to understanding your responsibilities as a leader, not just seeing it as a key to growing power or personal advantage. Ultimately you get excellent results without damaging others along the way, and are proud of your organisation, the work it does and the way it does it. You set and enforce standards as that is what you have been taught to do.
As you hit the dizzy heights of senior leadership it is easy to become self absorbed at the formidable task at hand. The best leaders understand that part of their responsibility as they grow in stature is to bring on future talent, not feel threatened by it. Give those coming behind you the opportunities you had, and those you wish you’d had. Create a legacy of success that will outlive your time in post by selecting and developing future leaders at all levels. However good you are, if you do not plan for succession any impact you may have had will slowly dissipate. You have to strive to set the conditions for future success. It will not just happen.
However busy you are and absorbed in the daily decisions and struggles of senior leadership, ensure you dedicate time to those that will carry on the baton as other have, or should have, for you. Ask yourself whether they share the ethos and values that they should do and if not why not. Ask whether they are being given the training, opportunity and experience to not only be as good as, but better than you are. Are values and standards enforced and is good behaviour as well as results rewarded. If the answer is yes then you are one of those rare leaders who understands the importance of legacy.
Fieri Leadership provide leadership training and consultancy to leading businesses and sports teams. To find out more visit www.fierileadership.com