In today’s era of social media and television rankings, leaders have become more focused on external ratings and validation and less on authenticity and effecting change. The focus has shifted to fame, rather than legacy, community building and social impact.
In the wake of the UN DPI/ NGO 67th conference that took place on August 22nd and 23rd at the UN headquarters in New York, leaders of the UN, NGOs, countries and profit organizations alike must take a step back to critically examine the current leadership culture and processes of their organization to determine what’s working and what isn’t, because the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are largely dependent on collaborative efforts, innovation and a paradigm shift in leadership culture from business as usual. It calls for a disruptive leadership in order to achieve lasting global solutions to the numerous global problems the world faces today. Truth be told, not everyone with a title is a leader, because leadership is not about titles. Rather it is about legacy, and the people following after your footsteps.
Yet, not every leader understands what it means to leave a legacy. Leadership culture and strategy are two powerful cornerstones which when well meshed result in excellence and competitive advantage for any country or organization. A strong leader is one whose leadership culture stems from ground up, and yields policies that meet the global needs of its constituents. On the contrary, poor leadership culture fosters a lack of direction in an organization’s goals and objectives, low participation, low morale and further creates a toxic culture.
The global issues today call for leaders less focused on self and ego, and more in tuned with the world’s needs. This often calls for a high level of emotional intelligence. Impactful leaders understand their strengths, weaknesses, blind spots/unconscious bias and work to hire a strong team that is reflective of their weakness to make for a well-rounded group. Finding global solutions to global problems at both national and local level calls for shared responsibility and collective efforts towards achieving the goals.
Leaders with great legacies are unquestionably one of the most powerful influencers in that they have the ability to shape the values of the organization long after they are no longer in the picture and impact beyond the execution of their assigned roles and responsibilities. They are key to elevating the organization’s trajectory from good to great. According to research conducted by Zenger Folkman, strong influence leaders with great legacies lead to measurable business outcome of: employee engagement, innovation, intention to stay, productivity, sales, performance, and customer satisfaction.
The leadership culture and legacy of an organization often differentiates between companies that succeed and those that fail. Take Apple versus Blackberry, or Target versus Kmart, for example. The leadership culture, even more so than the organization’s strategy determined the success and survival of these companies.