Skip to content

Leadership legacy

Beginning with President Reagan, each U.S. President has left a private letter in the Oval Office for the incoming President on inauguration day. In the Leadership and Coaching course that we’re teaching, a student wrote an interesting post integrating this idea with organizational leadership. Here is the post, shared with permission:

Something the other day reminded me of the White House tradition of outgoing presidents leaving a letter in the oval office for their successor. As we lead from any level in an organization, I had to ask myself: What would this tradition look like at other levels of leadership? What would I write and leave behind for somebody taking over my role?

It didn’t take long to come up with an answer – now that I’ve thought of it, I can’t “not” do it. So, today I will begin a “working” letter that I will keep updated until I have the opportunity to pass it on. I want to leave behind a narrative about each member of my team … with a twist. It’s going to be 100% positive. Strengths only. I want to highlight successes, great moments, memories, and wins that each person has been a part of. Go to him for this, and go to her for that. I want any future leader of my team to have a feel for what is best about each person.

As far as the negatives and weaknesses, that can and will surface on its own energy (not to mention personnel records). I prefer that anyone taking my role discover those attributes without my input and bias. Who knows, maybe in a transition some leaves will be turned. Why bring up attributes that have potentially met their end?

What’s in your letter to your successor?

No comments yet

Your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: