When I was a little girl, fellowshipping in a Presbyterian Church at Kaneshie, a suburb of Accra Ghana, there was an elderly man who was a leader in that church; and whenever he mounted the podium to give announcements for the day, he ended by saying, “my dearly beloved, make sure that you “make your mark” wherever you get the opportunity to serve or fellowship in this life”. I always had this on my mind but it began to make much more meaning to me later as I grew up, the importance of indelible legacies.
Life is not just about what we have but instead, it is about what we make out of it. One of the most important keys in life is the people we encounter along the journey and the impact we make in their lives. The impact made in the lives of others should be a critical goal in every leader’s life-cycle. As a leader, entrusted with people, it is important that their wellbeing and growth is paramount to you. It is therefore essential to set them up for success to ensure their growth.
Wherever our feet tread, we must deliberately leave an “indelible mark” for generations to learn from. A poignant legacy, that must be etched in the s ands of time. These legacies must be positive and make a difference in the lives of others.
In my experience in the corporate environment, I have come across leaders whose footprints are “nothing to write home about”. They leave very negative legacies in their trail, which do not add value to the lives of their colleagues or team members but instead cause pain and regret. They instil “fear and panic” in their team members and people around them walk on eggshells. It has to be “their way, no other way or the highway”. The mere mention of the names of such leaders leaves a sour taste in our mouths. They are tolerated, just because they may be in positions of power. Unfortunately, some learn from these bad examples.
There are, however, other leaders who have made a significant impact in the lives of others, influenced lives positively and therefore are associated with great worth. This is simply because they inspired, coached, encouraged and provided others opportunities to learn and grow in several ways.
Such avenues for growth, range from kind words of appreciation, c andid but well-thought-through feedback with better suggested ways of improvement; and even sometimes disciplinary sanctions that have led to a transformation in lives.
Take a break and reflect on what legacies you have created in the past and what legacies you are creating in your life now. What will you be remembered for when you move on from your current leadership responsibility into another phase of your life.
To ensure that we leave an indelible mark in the lives of others, these are just a few pointers, I will like to share, which I have experienced and know they work:
- Make time for people.
- Be present when engaging with others.
- Acknowledge good work and express appreciation.
- Honesty and credibility must be your hallmark.
- Treat all people, regardless of their status with respect.
- Learn to say “yes’ with a reason and “no” with a reason.
- Be ready to accept feedback from all categories of people.
- Be ready to learn from others. You are not always right.
- Provide c andid feedback and offer alternative solutions or suggestions for improvement.
We must always remember, that we cannot undo the past, but we have the opportunity to create or write our future since we are still alive. The journey to create positive and indelible legacies continues each day when we are graced with life.
Amma Korantema Ansah