Legacy and leadership

  • Published
  • By MSgt Christopher Brown
  • 301 CES and SV 1st Sergeant
   "Life is about leaving!" This is the response I gave my oldest son as we began preparation for another permanent change of station move.
   This was the first time we had been able to stay at one base for at least three years and he had become settled in his high school life. Now we were moving again, and he was going to have to adjust - again!
   We may not PCS like our active duty brethren, but indeed our life is about leaving. This past UTA members of my unit said "goodbye" to a fine senior NCO who was leaving to
begin a career as an officer. At other times these goodbyes may have been a retirement too, but the common theme was that someone was leaving.
   In the case of our recently departed lieutenant, there is a massive hole that must be filled. How will his duty section or our unit recover from the loss of a quality leader? Alot will depend on the legacy he left behind.
   Have you thought about your legacy? As you arrived at your duty location this morning, was investing toward your legacy on your radar for the day? Did you evaluate last
month's efforts and have you made adjustments for your efforts today?
   John Maxwell's book, Leadership 101, lays out some simple yet effectual challenges if you desire a legacy that will be successful and long-lasting. Let me say from the beginning that you and I must recognize there is a largely untapped and unrealized
potential in many of those we lead. They show up, they serve and then they go. In some units there seems to be a revolving door. Unfortunately in many cases the leadership potential is seldom recognized, much less realized.
   Maxwell suggests that you first, "lead with a long view." The temptation to go for a "this will do for now" solution will always be there, but successful legacies are built when you
lead with tomorrow in mind. Secondly, create a leadership culture. You do that by "seeding" solid leadership within those you are presently leading.
   Next, pay the price today to ensure success tomorrow. Shortcuts and compromises are the cancer that will eat into your legacy - don't give them any air to breathe and make today's sacrifice for success tomorrow. Fourth, value team leadership over individual leadership. Just about the time you think you're leading on your own, get ready - you're setting yourself up for a fall. Synergize for success.
   Lastly, walk away from the organization with integrity. If you had to leave today would your integrity be intact?
   Maxwell concludes with the following challenge: "Success comes when a leader empowers followers to do great things with him. Significance comes when he develops leaders to do great things for him. But a legacy is created only when a person puts his
organization into the position to do great things without him."
   What will be the situation when it's your time to leave?
Public Affairs (817) 782-5000