Will employees miss you when you leave?

What will be your legacy of leadership? Who will come to your retirement party? What will they say about how you influenced their career and their lives? If you are in a position of leadership on your job, the power you have over others is not to be taken lightly. When leaders ask me about my philosophy of leadership, I often think of these four areas. What kind of legacy will you leave?

The Powerful Pygmalion
In Greek mythology, Pygmalion sculpted a statue that he believed so strongly was real, it came to life. The power of Pygmalion was also the basis for the movie, "My Fair Lady," where a street urchin was molded into a duchess by a single-minded professor. The power of Pygmalion is not just a fairy tale. Research has proven that when we believe unswervingly in someone's ability, it has a powerful affect on their actual performance. For instance, teachers who were told that their students I. Q.'s were genius level, actually saw their students achieve statistically significant gains in I.Q. points and performance by the end of the year, even though they found out later, the students actually had only average I.Q.'s.

How do you look at your employees? Which ones did you hire? Which ones did you inherit? Often, we look more favorably on our own hires as having more talent and potential, simply because we selected them. In many cases we write off people too soon because they've disappointed us.

The leader who will leave a strong legacy is the one who sees every employee through a powerful lens of personal potential. The difference between a manager and a legacy of a leader is the leader believes unswervingly in each employees' potential and he or she is diligent in helping then believe in their self.

The Praise Sculptor
TV evangelists do it, advertisers know how to use it and direct mail companies have made a science out of it. They are skilled at using behavioral motivation to get us to act. They know how to push the right buttons to get us to act. They know how to push the right buttons to get us to donate money, buy a product or read our junk mail. Is this sinister manipulation? Some would say so, but most behavioral scientists would say it is no different than what we do to potty train our children or quit smoking.

The legacy leader is a master at using praise as his or her primary coaching tool. They are on the lookout for any opportunity to notice their employees' efforts. They pay attention to their employees' personal growth. They know that their employees' level of self esteem is at the core of how hard their employees will strive to succeed. They encourage to give courage, and prefer silence to criticism.

They Educate to Empower
Legacy leaders believe that people want to do the right thing. They intuitively know that people want to feel pride in their work and take responsibility for it. Because of this belief, they don't think people make mistakes because they are lazy, careless or stupid . . . it's usually because they were missing some vital information.

Legacy leaders think of themselves as teachers and mentor. They encourage the inexperienced employee to use their natural curiosity and fresh perspective to challenge the status quo. When their employee has enough information to break away and make independent decisions, he or she is patient and uses a light touch to direct the employee without killing their initiative. And with mature, self-sufficient employees, they act as a sounding board and mentor. They take the business of career-maker very seriously.

The Personal Coach
If you were to hire a personal trainer to help you work out, that trainer would pay close attention to what your goals were and then design a program for you to achieve them. And you can be sure they wouldn't say, we'll wait to evaluate you're progress at the end of the year. They'd be coaching and correcting your form and providing the personal prodding you needed to stay with the program.

Leaders who leave a legacy of success, know that coaching people at work is no different. They are attentive and relentless, constantly tweaking and cajoling, always pushing us to do our very best. They are specific with their feedback and clear about what we need to do differently. They are quick to spot what's getting in the way of our goals and helping us figure out how to get a round those barriers.

What will be your legacy of leadership?

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
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