At the end of his little book “leadership 101,” John Maxwell talks about leaving a legacy. As I’ve been going through this book again, I’ve been thinking about where I was in my leadership path when I first read this little book and where I am now. This chapter has been one that is really sticking out to me right now.
If you don’t have this book, I’d really recommend picking it up. It’s a great starting point. It’s a great foundational tool, a great place to start with someone you’re mentoring or a group of people you want to teach leadership too.
For me, it seems that if I can master the few simple little things in this book, I’ll be much better off. I don’t know about you, but I know for me, the more I read about leadership, the more inept I feel as a leader. Of course I still read leadership books, and learn a lot from them, but this book gives me the hope that I can actually master a few aspects of leadership.
Back to the closing chapter. The thing about leaving a legacy is it’s a contrast between the now and not yet. If we want to leave a legacy, we can’t wait until then to do it. We can’t wait until the future and then just expect a legacy will appear. Legacy will be left by what we do today. Today, the choices we make and the actions we take will either enhance or degrade the legacy we hope to leave. Today is the day to be a leader, we can’t wait until tomorrow.
John Shares a couple of thoughts:
- Lead with a Long View – We have to lead today with tomorrow as well as today in mind.
- Create a Leadership Culture – We have to make developing leaders a part of our culture.
- Pay the price today to assure success tomorrow – There is no success without sacrifice.
- Value Team leadership above individual leadership
He concludes with a thought that many of us have heard and espouse, it’s the idea that we have to pass it on. Andy Stanley and the guys from North Point call it “Replacing Yourself.” We aren’t going to be around forever. If we want to have an impact that lasts beyond us, we have to pass the leadership on to those we are leading. We have to have a vision of the future, train people to lead for it, and let them do it.
If we all did this “little” thing from this “little” book our organizations will be in substantially different places in the future than if we just let things happen. I’d encourage you to go pick this book up if you don’t already have it and give it a read, then read it again. Then lead for a while, and come back and read it again. It’s a great book to use to gauge where you are in your leadership journey.