Today we conclude a five-part series on the teachings of Mary Parker Follett. The fact that we are reviewing her work over 100 years after she advanced her theories is proof enough for me that Follett left a leader's legacy.
I suppose we all want to leave behind a memory of our work. We were here; we made a lasting impression. We carved our initials on the company tree.
Architects, painters and musicians leave work behind that potentially remains in view for generations. Some writers pen poems, essays or books that remain on legacy reading lists. But I'm not sure that a leader should give conscious thought to the development of personal legacy. It seems self-serving.
If a leader has done well in an organization the most notable mark should be what is left behind in his or her absence. John Maxwell teaches that a Level 5 leader is noted by the development of other competent leaders. I suppose the highest achievement a leader can aspire to create is a trail of dominoes.
Deep in the heart of some departing leaders is the knowledge that an organization cannot possibly go on without him. "They'll find out how much I did around here when I leave." In this example, what we find is a cavity of leadership and the organization must develop new leaders. A leader's legacy is not the failure of an organization after his departure.
Sustainability is a primary marker of legacy.
I submit that 100 years after the passing of a leader, the enduring legacy will not be financial, structural or systemic. It will be spiritual. As we impart spiritual matter to those we lead, we have confidence in knowing that God's Word will not return void. We know that His ways are timeless.
For any of us who lead others to Jesus, our legacy will endure, and that's not selfish at all.
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, and I have kept the faith. From now on a crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim 4:6-8).
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
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