What is your leadership legacy?

Cornwall ParkLike many others, I too cringe when a word has been oft-stated. Legacy is one of these words. But there is a reason that such words are used so frequently – because it has meaning, relevance and an enduring quality.

I was truly humbled when some weeks ago I attended the funeral of my favourite teacher’s husband. You know – the teacher who had an impact, who made a difference, the one who could see something in you when you did not even know who you were leave alone your capabilities. Mrs. Chandra was it for me.

She instantly caught my young girl’s attention. Growing up in little town called Lautoka, Fiji she represented ‘difference’ and worldliness. She was worldly – she had traveled in her earlier life including having been a nurse in London and Scotland amongst other things before she started to teach.

Her clothes were different as were her teaching methods. English classes were never the same again. She organized field trips to the library – when before we had never stepped out of the confines of the classroom. She fueled our hunger, creativity and desire for learning.

Essay writing was never the same again. Mrs. Chandra would put 3 or so largish posters with a theme and encouraged us to write our own essay based on the images we saw. The only limitation was ourselves. With such encouragement and teaching methods which synced with my own thinking style, it was no wonder I did very well in class.

Mrs. Chandra was firm but fair and had integrity. She held herself with such dignity – a great imprint of a role model when I had very few.

Mr. Chandra was equally a super special man – also a teacher, encouraging and never a bad word about anybody. At his funeral, the parlour was jam packed with hardly a spare seat as family and friends lined up against the wall. (And this wouldn’t even account for the thousands of others they would have taught in Fiji and contributed to many of whom were now residing all over the world).

The legacy of this couple – priceless.

The other day while walking in the beauty of Cornwall Park the legacy theme was reinforced again. The Daffodils and the Early Cheers along were out in the Twin Oak Drive along with other spring flowers the council workers had thoughtfully planted. It was a sight to behold. ( Picture from Cornwall Park).

This place of serenity, calm and delight produced by the changing seasons is the enduring legacy of Sir John Campbell who gifted the park to the people of Auckland and New Zealand in 1901. Over the century how many millions would have benefited from this? Only if the trees could talk!

So – how about you?

What is the legacy you are creating and or wishing to leave behind?

Whatever the shape of our legacy – however big or small, there is one thing we can be sure of. Who we are, how we relate to one another – family, friends, work colleagues, even strangers and ourselves, can have an unimaginable bearing on another.

While we can’t all bequeath parks, the enduring power of how we have lived our lives count for more than we may care to count.

Our values, behavior and attributes including simple gestures like words of encouragement, giving someone the gift of listening, showing compassion, believing in someone when giving another perspective especially when the chips are down can have more impact and lasting legacy than we may ever know.

Jasbindar Singh is a leadership coach and business psychologist who helps her clients achieve their leadership and life goals.

FYI – Martin Luther King Lifetime Achievement Award winner, international speaker, author and social transformational catalyst, Dr. Sharif Abdullah is coming to town.

HRINZ meeting on Tuesday evening, 24 September –  http://bit.ly/15IsG0S
NZIM meeting on Thursday, 26 September –  http://bit.ly/14y0x1t
See Ted Talk – A World for All – It’s our Choice –  http://bit.ly/17QS4n3


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