Lead Strong Episode 12: What will be your leadership legacy?

This episode of Lead Strong saw hosts and Directors of Cappfinity’s Talent Practice, Celine Floyd and Stephanie Hopper join with Priyanka Banerji-Bhatia, Director at iptiQ by Swiss Re and Mary Gregory, Leadership Coach, Speaker and Author to discuss leadership legacy.

What is leadership legacy?

Leadership legacy is about what leaders leave behind when they leave an organization.  Many would argue that the role of a good leader is to make an impact by leaving something for the organization to pick up and continue with that is bigger than the person that left it there.

Leaders are not just confined to their organization because they should also make an impact on the individuals and communities they engage with.

Legacy is not just about what was said or done, it’s about how it made people feel and inspired them for the future.

What makes a great leader?

A great leader should be humble, highly values driven and have a growth mindset.  They should be aware that their time at an organization is finite, and so their time to make an impact is limited.

Good leaders invest in people.  They create opportunities for their people to shine and will often hire talent they consider brighter than themselves to build a successful talent pipeline for succession.

Priyanka cited her favorite leaders as Mahatma Gandi, as someone who embodies servant leadership and current Swiss Re CEO, Christian Mumenthaler, as a leader whose style she admired because he is vocal about the fact that his role is for a point in time, and he is there to take the company to a better place than where he found it.  He is also passionate about building a pipeline of great leaders to carry on his legacy.

Why leaving a legacy as a leader is important

Leadership legacy can cover many different levels; as a parent you will leave a legacy behind in what you teach your children.

On a day-to-day basis everyone is creating micro-legacies through the way they interact with other people and the way they leave people feeling once that interaction is over.  Leadership is hugely impactful in terms of culture, and that culture is then just as impactful on how well people perform and by extension, how well the organization performs.

If you are a leader, think about the conversations you have with individuals, such as performance management meetings or changes to their role due to a change in direction for the company.  Don’t just focus on getting the job done, think about how you want people to feel to ensure they’re engaged at the end of that meeting.

Mary touched on the legacy of former Tesco CEO, Terry Learhy and his part as a role model for humble leadership.  Terry wanted to better understand Tesco’s customer market and so introduced the Tesco Clubcard as a way of understanding their needs and wants.  Despite leaving the company in 2011, his legacy has ensured Tesco have remained the biggest supermarket chain in the UK.

What can leaders do to ensure they leave a great legacy?

Every leader is creating a legacy whether they think they are or not.  To ensure that it’s a great one, they should think about what’s important to them and be conscious of what they want to create.

They should think about building their own self-awareness around their values and what annoys them (this is a good indicator of when our values are not being met).  They can then create a plan around the shift they want to make.

This change will then become their mission as a leader, they should engage their people and create opportunities for their strengths and input to really stand out.  This can also help with building a successful pipeline of leadership talent for the future.  Think about how you engage with people whilst you’re ‘getting the job done’ to ensure you have them onboard to help deliver your legacy.

“I’ve got the baton for now; I’m going to make a difference with it and then I’ll pass it onto somebody else.” – Mary Gregory.


Watch the full episode here.