What Do You Want Your Leadership Legacy to Be? Start Now Creating How You want People to Remember You as a Leader.
We all know that people not only talk about the people leading the aggregates operations where they work, but they will continue to talk about them after they have left the company. What employees say about you while you are still working is fluid and changing because you are actively involved in decisions and activities that may change employees' perceptions of you as a leader.
Once you have retired, or left the company, the perception of you as a leader is fixed. You can no longer do anything about that perception. Some leaders may not care about how they are perceived later in life, but others do. If you are one of the leaders that would like to have a positive legacy to leave behind, here are a few things for you to consider.
Ratio of positive to negative. As human beings, we tend to remember, think about, and talk about negative experiences more often than positive experiences. The same applies to leaders. Employees will talk about your negative traits more than your positive traits. This is very normal. After all, good news is no news, that is what sells newspapers. In order for you to have people talk as much or more about your positive attributes than your negative attributes, you have to overload people with the positives.
Some researchers would even say that to create a 1:1 ratio of positives to negatives, we have to experience a 3:1 ratio of positives to negatives. That does not mean that you should stop delivering bad news or making decisions that you know will be unpopular, despite being the right decisions. It means that you need to start working harder to pay more attention to the good stuff, share more good news, look for the positives in people, events, society, etc.
People will remember how you treated them. No matter how good your strategic, planning, technical, marketing, etc. skills were, people will remember primarily your interpersonal skills. Did you really listen when they had a problem? Did you show empathy and understanding for others? Did you come around and visit people or just sit in your office? Did you truly care for your employees?
Those are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself now. If the answer is no, it is still not too late to make a change. Get out of your office more, talk to people about their personal lives, reach out and get to know your staff more. If that is not what you have been doing, be prepared for people to look at you're a bit strangely. The only way to overcome that is to keep doing the right thing.
You cannot be objective. I have been in business and working with people for a long time. I have yet to be able to be truly objective about my own behavior. I have found it impossible to stand outside of myself and see exactly how I am coming across. That is why having someone who be totally honest with you is so important.
When you are trying to build a legacy for people to remember you by, find someone who only has an agenda of helping you be successful. Work with them and tell them what it is you are trying to accomplish. Put an action plan together, then ask for regular, specific feedback on the progress you are making. Having someone like that to give you feedback is a gift at any stage in your career.
Employees will not be honest. Do not count on your employees being honest with you about how you are coming across. Remember, you are the boss and hold all the good things and bad things for your employees. It is nothing personal, but your employees will not give your straight feedback.
It is like you have a big neon sign over your head flashing BOSS! In addition to having a trusted person who will be honest with you, become skilled at watching body language. That will tell you about how your employees really feel.
In your mind, think about a situation that is six months after you retire or leave the company. Pretend that you are invisible and walk past one of the employee break rooms. What do you want to hear when they talk about you? Start now to make those comments ones that appreciate hearing.
Steve Schumacher is a management consultant, trainer and public speaker with more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries throughout North America, including aggregates operations. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Date:||Mar 1, 2019|
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