The transition of your career from the top of the crest to the other side can actually be a beautiful thing. You made it. You’ve led a team toward success. You’ve accomplished a lot.
This is the time when your wisdom is ripest, when the bulk of your legacy has been established, and when your influence has left a tangible and positive mark. At this stage of your leadership career, you are a leader in full.
At this stage of your leadership career, you are a leader in full.
It’s worth noting that the leadership influence of many leaders became fully expressed later in life:
- Benjamin Franklin was seventy when he signed the Declaration of Independence.
- Ronald Reagan was sixty-nine when he became president, and seventy-seven when he left office.
- Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel when she was seventy-one.
While your leadership career may span many years, the current average retirement age in the United States is sixty-two. Given that average life expectancies have been steadily growing, figuring out what to do with all that accumulated leadership wisdom and influence before you retire will help soften whatever challenges arise at the gates of your career close.
Tips For Senior Leadership Who Want to Leave a Legacy
The good news is, if you’re a senior leader, odds are you’ve had your butt kicked so many times over the years, perhaps even by a few pipsqueak younger bosses or employees. Here are some tips to ensure your legacy is well rounded and not just a show:
1. Get Over Yourself
Yes, yes, we all know how you bootstrapped your career from the ground up, you earned everything you’ve gotten and without you, this company would be nothing. But guess what? We don’t care. And neither should you. We love you best when you’re just being you, minus the martyrdom.
2. Experience The World of The Young Ones
Yup, the greenhorns don’t do things the way you and your generation did. They cut corners, slough off, and kiss ass. But remember, you did all that, too, early in your career. Plus, new leaders today are way more tech savvy, are tapped into a global community, and are helping the company be socially conscious. They may even do a better job of having an outside-of-work identity that you ever did.
Do yourself a favor: get closer to their world instead of expecting the to reside in yours.
3. Mentor More
You’ve got a lot of value to add, especially when it comes to mentoring new leaders. There’s a good chance that your own career was advanced by many leader intercessors along the way. Now it’s your turn to be a pivot person. New leaders need seasoned leaders to become good leaders. Your legacy depends on it!
4. Divert Your Power
The gates are closing on your career, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to apply your leadership influence. If you’re not serving on a nonprofit board already, do so. Your community needs your wisdom, connections and influence! Find places to serve at VolunteerMatch.org, Idealist.org, and Bridgespan.org.
Experience matters. Your experience matters. When it comes to crafting a legacy, the best thing you can do is find ways to pass on your knowledge, experience and wisdom in a way that benefits not you or your ego, but those who will follow in your path. Help create an enduring future through good leadership.