One cardinal mistake leaders often make is they forget about their legacy.
Whether in a business, an organization, a ministry, etc., many leaders do talk about a legacy. However if they fail to raise up new generations of leaders after them, they are actually confusing their legacy with their reputation. Now everyone knows that reputation and legacy are two different things, but let’s break them down to get a better idea on them.
Reputation: These leaders are more concerned with the opinion of others rather than the end goal of where they serve. Their actions are almost always done only for social approval, and their confidence and identity come from the level of outwardly acceptance and praise they receive. As a result, oftentimes these leaders can be very moody. Relationships are important to these leaders for sure… insofar (haven’t heard that word in a while!) as they come back to boost their reputation. Here, authenticity is lost in selfishness. Working under these types of leaders is exhausting and can be depressing after long periods of time.
Legacy: To a Legacy Leader, the mission is the top priority in all they do. Personal gain is lost in the good of the end-goal, and relationships are marked by authentic love that seeks to push others higher in their strengths. These types of leaders don’t find their identity in their actions or what people think of them, which makes them productive and not easily distracted. Legacy Leaders know how to adapt to many situations, because they are focused on the long-term goals, not the short-term obstacles. While very focused, Legacy Leaders are humble in their actions.
Let’s look at it a bit further: think of a big jigsaw puzzle.
Legacy Leaders are important to have, because they realize they are just a piece in God’s puzzle. With this knowledge they see the vital role all the other pieces play. They notice this from the time they begin and keep a vision for when they are gone. Legacy Leaders have an un-canny ability to cast vision (whether it’s a natural gift or a practiced discipline).
Reputation Leaders are dangerous, because they see themselves either as the largest piece of the puzzle or as the main object of the entire puzzle. They view themselves as so important they pay little attention to the unique value of the other pieces, leaving the entire puzzle to be incomplete and sometimes permanently damaged — even after they are gone. Puzzles with Reputation Leaders need to carefully remove these pieces if they act stubborn with correction/training. This will ensure the survival of the puzzle and the growth of the other pieces.
If you are a leader at any level, you will fall into one of these two categories. I know leaders who fall into both sides. Unfortunately, most leaders end up on the latter. I know where I want to be in all leadership positions I undertake, though I have to keep my pride in check all the time.
What kind of leader are you? Do you know any Legacy Leaders? Reputation Leaders? What kind of results (or havoc) have you seen from them?