New Year 2013As 2012 comes to a close, we humans consider what 2013 will bring. We examine our life and work. We then map out resolutions that can get us back on our desired path – to health, to better relationships, to managing our finances better, whatever.

The most common New Year’s Resolutions are aimed at improving our physical selves – losing weight, getting more fit, eating heather, quitting smoking, etc. Setting health standards like these are a very good thing! And, some research indicates that fewer than 23% of people who make resolutions keep them.

This terrific NY Times article outlines proven strategies for creating New Year’s Resolutions with specific goals, then aligning brain power and will power to meet them.

Let me suggest a New Year’s Resolution for your consideration: creating a more positive leadership legacy in 2013.

Be Intentional About Your Leadership Legacy

We all create our legacy, day by day. Every plan, decision, and action tells your boss, peers, and staff what you stand for. What you value is transparent through your actions.

A negative leadership legacy creates anger, frustration, and fear in that leader’s team. A positive leadership legacy creates cooperation, enthusiasm, and productivity in that leader’s team. Here are three things to consider as you build a more positive leadership legacy in the coming year.


Define what a good job looks like! Create a “contribution plan” for each team member, with clear goal standards and clear values standards. To ensure goal clarity, create specific, measurable goals that align with the team’s purpose and strategy. To ensure that goals are accomplished in ways that honor the team’s values, create behaviors that outline how team members will treat leaders, peers, followers, and customers. Then, hold all accountable for the goals & values in their contribution plan.


Pay attention to what you pay attention to! Once goals are set, leaders need to follow up to ensure progress is happening, quality standards are exceeded, and deadlines are met. That doesn’t happen consistently. Once values standards are set, leaders need to follow up to ensure that valued behaviors are being modeled. For example, if integrity is one of your team’s values, you might define it behaviorally with a statement like, “Keep your promises – do what you say you will do.” That places the burden on every player, not just the leader.


Connect before you direct! Be nice. In many organizations today, boss and follower interactions and relationships are not consistently civil. Civility in your work environment is a minimum standard; demonstrate it and coach staff to do the same. Move the needle from civility to compassion by being proactively compassionate with staff. Validate others’ efforts as well as accomplishment. Greet people kindly each day. Listen to their ideas with interest (not distain). Delegate responsibility to talented, values-aligned staff.

Join in the conversation about this post/podcast in the comments section below. What might you do in 2013 to ensure your leadership legacy is a positive one, not neutral or negative?

What is it like to live in your organization’s culture? Complete my new Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are described on my blog site’s research page.

This new research can help you refine your organization’s corporate culture. Contact me to discuss conducting the Performance-Values Assessment in your organization.

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S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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Reader Interactions


  1. AvatarAndy Phillips says

    I think this question of legacy is really key. Those who have a sense of their long term legacy will take better, more ethical decisions. I also would stress the compassion part. I am going to quote your ” connect before you direct” line! I think once civility is lost then poor decision making follows – and the ability to make good long term decisions is for me the point of good leadership.

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