Monday, July 2, 2018

Tips to Develop Your Leadership Legacy

I introduced my network to Doug Dickerson, a leadership expert, trainer, and author back in 2010 when I shared a review of his book, Leaders Without Borders: 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders. Here's the link for a quick recap ( 

Doug has more than 30 years of experience in various leadership positions, and he strives to inspire others to become better equipped as leaders. You can find Doug on Twitter @DougDickersonSC, on his Blog ( and on his author page on Amazon (

Doug and I recently spoke about leadership priorities and legacies, and how technology has changed leadership. Highlights of our conversation follow below.

QUESTION: You appeared on my Blog back in 2010, and here’s one memorable line I shared from your book, “If you are going to leave a strong legacy as a leader, people must be your priority.” How can new leaders learn the importance of this priority?
DOUG DICKERSON: The legacy you leave as a leader is not something you hear too many people talking about. This is so mostly because we are only thinking about today. How much time do we really devote to thinking about the kind of legacy we will leave as a leader?

That aside, if we are going to leave a strong legacy as a leader, you will need to do a few things. First, begin to think about it. Be intentional. A simple rule of leadership says that "success calls for a successor," and so a leader must be thinking about his or her line of succession if that is in play. Secondly, a strong legacy will always involve others. When you make people a priority by serving them, listening to them, empowering and adding value to them, you are well on your way to leaving a legacy worth emulating.

QUESTION: What have you learned from leaders you’ve encountered in your career?
DOUG DICKERSON: I've had many good and bad leaders to learn from. I've served along leaders who were demoralizing and along side those who inspired and encouraged me greatly. What I've learned is how to process and incorporate the good things, and let go of the bad. I learned that whether the examples of leadership in my career were positive or negative, I had to develop my own path and decide for myself what kind of leader I wanted to be. I had good and bad examples as well as really good examples to draw from. You can learn from both.

QUESTION: How is technology changing leadership?
DOUG DICKERSON: Technology has drastically changed leadership. We have more leadership material at our disposal now than ever before. This is encouraging on many levels and the opportunities for one's growth and development are limitless. Technology can open up a whole new world to aspiring leaders and that can be good, but at the end of the day, I still prefer holding a book and turning the pages.

QUESTION: One of Walt Disney’s leadership tips was, “Never stop asking questions.” What are your three timeless leadership tips?
DOUG DICKERSON: Here are my three:

1. It's not about you.
2. You don't need a title to be a leader.
3. Sometimes you just defy the critics and ignore the "experts" and just do what is in your heart.
QUESTION: Lastly, one of my favorite quotes you recently shared on Twitter was: “If your vision is not known internally, then it will be of no value to anyone externally. If your team is clueless, then so are your customers.” Can you elaborate a bit?
DOUG DICKERSON: This is simple in concept, but not always easy in practice. The bottom line is that you have to constantly put the vision before your people. If your people do not know the vision, their "why" and what their role is in the big picture of things, then they will not perform at levels you desire. The best advocates for any business are the people who work there, and if they are clueless as to the mission and vision, then that will come across to the customer. If the people in the organization have no "buy-in," why would you expect the customer to? By contrast, if the employee is excited about what he or she does, then it will show in the excellence of his or her attitude - and that is contagious.


My gratitude and appreciation to Doug for re-appearing on my Blog and sharing his timeless leadership insights!

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