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Creating your leadership legacy

As leaders we all plan for success. We approach major projects in a thoughtful and deliberate way, being clear about what we are trying to do and why.

Throughout our careers, we develop a series of leadership beliefs and strategies that have helped us succeed. These beliefs and strategies are based on our own experiences, observations of the world and - if we have been lucky - are partly formed by lessons shared with us by others.

Leaders move in and out of organisations all the time, but those that leave a strong cultural legacy tend to have one common trait – they deliberately develop and share their “teachable point of view”.

That is, they are thoughtful and deliberate in articulating what they believe – the behaviours, actions, experiences or steps that are necessary for success – just as they are with the technical elements.

Developing and sharing your teachable point of view is a core aspect of leadership, it develops leaders and shapes expectations. In doing so your impact is far more profound and sustainable.

This requires that leaders:

  • Understand themselves, their passions and ambitions

  • Reflect on (and be able to articulate) what they believe in and why

  • Actively look to learn from their experiences, and be open to changing their view

  • Have a view on what success looks like, and what it takes to achieve success

  • Seek opportunities to teach. Sharing their teachable point of view and being open to influence (it will change over time)

Developing a teachable point of view can not only help you filter and organise your thoughts, but help you gain extra clarity about what lessons have been really important and enduring - and what is just noise.

Lastly, having a clear Point of View – the point of it – is to teach, share and impart – a key responsibility of a leader. It is easier often to share your teachable point of view in a compelling way than it is to present the organisations policy direction.

Your Teachable point of view is yours. It is personal. It is not a parroting of the organisations vision. Hopefully it is aligned though. If not either the vision is flawed or ultimately you are working in the wrong organisation.

The leaders with the most impact, who leave lasting cultural change, are those whose teachable point of view aligns with the strategic need of the business including goals and preferred culture.

For example: if you believe in the value of collaboration, have experienced the power of collaboration and your organisation is crying out to develop a collaborative culture – your message will have more gravitas than you can imagine.

If there is also alignment with what a culture or staff survey has indicated people are looking for, then there exists a truly unique opportunity.

Having a teachable point of view still requires that we are open to influence. It is not about simply having views and expressing them, but also enquiring into others views, being open to change, and being taught.

What do you believe in? What are some of the pivotal experiences that have shaped your thinking? How does it fit with your organisation, and what is relevant? How clearly can you articulate it? And do you have a plan to do it?

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