What footprints will you leave?

Many years ago, I worked for an HR Director who was fixated by this question; he asked this question frequently of himself & those around him.  It was thought provoking then and twenty years on, I find myself regularly, using a similar question “What footprints do you want to leave?” as part of coaching discussions.   The subsequent discussions always lead on to uncovering personal values as well as ambitions.

This week Margaret Thatcher died; whatever your politics, you cannot dispute that she left her footprints both in the UK and globally. Would she have been considered a great leader today? Compare her qualities with the leadership qualities defined by the ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management) and she would excel in many areas – natural communicator, possessing vision, being driven & ambitious.  There is no doubt that she was credible, resilient & authentic; her actions matched her values.

She achieved results however as the ILM states “success is not the only defining quality of a leader”.  She did not inspire & motivate all and it was clearly her way or the highway, with little public empathy for the impact of her Government’s policies.

Today’s world demands greater emotional intelligence from our leaders & trust plays a greater role. Whilst she had flaws, Margaret Thatcher will be remembered as a great leader.  Her footprints are well defined and will be discussed for centuries to come; her death may trigger many to consider the question “What footprints do I want to leave?




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