Leadership Legacy: Will You Have One to Be Proud Of?

Stopwatch and key
By Connie Ziccarelli*

“…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Have you ever thought about the last day of your working career? How will you feel? What will others say about working alongside and for you? It’s a question that you may or may not have given any thought to but it’s one that should be considered from time to time. What will be the impression you leave? What will be your leadership legacy?

Leadership isn’t always easy. Massive amounts of decisions and responsibilities confront leaders each day. A legacy is the culmination of each decision and action taken by a leader that determines how the leader will be remembered and is impacted deeply by the personal values that define the culture of your organization. Leaders can shape a long-lasting legacy a number of ways, but how you communicate with and manage others is key. Let’s look at four ways a leader can shape a long-lasting legacy.


Leaders explain the why and not the how. They set the tone and the vision for the organization’s goals and boundaries and encourage collaboration between members, but they don’t decide the best way to accomplish the task. Team engagement and resourcefulness is the best way to see that the goal gets completed to a high standard.


Just as the Maya Angelou quote states, people remember how you make them feel. Leaders are always “on;” with the responsibility of leading a team, comes the responsibility of pouring into that team. Believing in the team and recognizing accomplishments is one of the most important roles of the leader, if not the main role. Taking genuine interest in each team member will spill over into the team with members recognizing and being interested in each other.


Organizational performance increases when clear and precise expectations are given. Outlining clear roles, placing the right teammate in the right position, and providing resources for optimal performance will result in the team succeeding together. Recognizing the small victories along the way will supercharge the environment where high morale will thrive.


High performing leaders don’t let an annual performance review be the only time employees receive feedback. Most employees come into work wanting to do the right thing and want to know when something could be better; giving praise or redirection should be immediate. Effective leaders give feedback as a daily conversation that is meaningful and specific. Growing a team doesn’t happen in staff meetings or on a designated day of the month. Team growth happens every day with every interaction. Give feedback in a timely manner so the organization can grow and adapt swiftly.

Adopting these four legacy-shapers and looking at how you show up for your team, is the start of reinforcing how you will be remembered. Cultivate an environment of progress where each team member is respected and where growth is a habit that becomes part of the organization’s culture. Be the kind of leader that transfers knowledge, expertise, and lessons learned to the team to empower them to carry on your legacy. Leadership is not about you, but about those who follow and their success. Developing people and how you invest in them is the secret to a strong legacy that will be felt long after your last day on the job. 

Connie Ziccarelli

Connie Ziccarelli is the founder of Guidepost Consultants & Mentoring. She can be reached at cziccarelli@gmail.com.

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