The quality, longevity, and impact of a leader’s legacy is determined by what he/she invests in. Saddam Husein invested in buildings, statues, and himself, and his legacy is being erased every-time a building is destroyed with his name on it. Nelson Mandela invested in people instead of himself and he still lives on through the next generation.
Whether you believe in the biblical Jesus as the son of God is your choice, but look at his leadership style opposed to that of the Roman leadership. Jesus invested in people, specifically in twelve. The Caesars invested in buildings with their names on them and invested in themselves. 2000 years later people still name their children Jesus, Peter, and James, while they name their dogs Caesar and Nero. Christianity boasts of two billion followers while Rome no longer exists. The difference? One invested in people while the others invested in material things and themselves.
Leadership should concentrate on developing people instead of managing them. Managing maintains status quo but developing them creates a better future filled with greater opportunities and lasting achievement.
Leadership must think generational – vision always outlasts the person. Leaving a legacy is not my name on a building but leaving my experience deposited in someone for the next generation to build upon. Buildings can collapse overnight and has no ability to produce another building. However, a generation can produce another generation with your vision at their core and your impact lives on. When we as leaders leave this world, the greatest memory should not be the eulogy spoken at our funeral or the epitaph inscribed on our tombstone. Rather, it should be the lives that continue to speak and produce what we started.
Jack Welch said “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Leadership must always remember that people and not position, power, and agenda, are what is more important.