Ten years ago, I had an inspiring conversation with a CEO of a company. He had impressive track record in big global companies, but he made a decision to quit. Then he took a position as a leader in a small low prestige company. I asked him the reason why he came to that big decision. He said that it was not an easy process for him. He took several months to take a final decision. He was looking for the best reason for himself to accept the job. During that time, he made frequent visits to the company. One day, he saw how the employee of this company work with a sloppy attitude. Majority of the employee were young people who have only primary education. After some conversations with the employee, he found the reason why they had a negative work attitude. It was because of they feel trapped to live in misfortune and miserable life. Suddenly he realized that he had discovered his mission in this company; to develop a better spirit of these young people, not only the working spirit but also the spirit to see life as a blessing.
After he joined the company, he always spend his time on the first day of new employee training. He uses the whole day to talk to the young people and to encourage them to see the life as a blessing. Today, this company has the biggest market share on its industry. Its services are considered as the best services in the country. The company are also expanding to other businesses, but he always choose an industry that may open opportunity to young people with a minimum education level to work for. It is a bigger chance for him to touch the life of young misfortune people and to plant good seeds in their life.
The quest of leadership legacy is becoming a great struggle for leaders. It implies that the measure of leadership success is not merely on the current organizational output but also on the future significant outcome. It is not measured in but after their leadership period. It is not just talking about the output but also about the impact. It is not thinking how to indulge the shareholder or whoever they are accountable to but also thinking how to fulfill the people they led into their fulness. It is how to see that developing people is not just as the process to increase the human assets value of the organization but also as the journey of their personal growth that will make them satisfy with their life. Leaving leadership legacy is a matter to put an effort on an everlasting impact.
Leaving a legacy is a long process which required a high commitment. Commitment is anchored to the causes and not to the plans (Kouzes & Posner). That is the reason why a good leader has to start with finding their genuine calling. Bill George, the advocate of Authentic Leadership, define this process as finding our authentic purpose. Authenticity plays a very important role in leadership which focuses on creating impact and leaving a legacy. Now, the question is what is our authentic calling of leadership? What is our intended legacy of leadership? I am sure the CEO in the beginning of my story has found and has established his leadership legacy. What about us?