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Pave the Way

What would it take for a leader to feel pride when an employee resigns? It would take a leader who had decided to be intentional about living out his legacy, which then inspired one of his employees to do the same. We made the claim last week that unexpected things can happen when someone lives out their legacy, and a “Lyceum casualty” could be one of those things.

By day, Ben was a project manager at AutoTrader.com (ATC), and by night, he was a jazz drummer. He had recognized that he wasn’t perfectly gifted in the area where he spent most of his day.  He didn’t love the work and knew he wasn’t great at it. He did his best to keep his discontentment under wraps and did what he could to play the part of a happy, productive project manager—for 10 years!

Ben was part of an ATC team that experienced The Leaders Lyceum (see story from last week). During his time with us, Ben wrote a legacy statement declaring that he wants to “Share my gifts freely and, therefore, inspire others to be reflective, uplifted, and fulfilled.” At the time, he wrote this mainly about his music since it was such an important part of his life and his greatest passion. In order to be able to share his music freely, he needed a job to provide some financial stability.

Ben began examining himself and his areas of strength. When given the opportunity, he noticed how much he enjoyed facilitating training sessions, and he was good at it. Something stirred in him and he began looking for a job where he could do more of what he loved. As much as he liked working with his team and the company, there weren’t opportunities matching his desire, so he accepted a job with a company that does training in project management. He felt like he finally had an opportunity to use his gifts professionally.

A few days after Ben announced his decision, he walked into Jason’s office and said, somewhat randomly, “The Leaders Lyceum.” Jason gave Ben a puzzled look. Ben again said “The Leaders Lyceum…that’s why I’m leaving. It took me two years, but I finally realized I need to pursue my passion.”  He wanted to thank Jason for giving him the opportunity to go through the Lyceum and think about the impact he wants to make on the world.

Ben is obviously excited about his new job, but he isn’t the only one who sees this change as positive. Jason sensed that Ben hadn’t been in the right role for years. Because of Ben’s decision, the company could place a better fit for his role, and Ben is able to continuing to develop his strengths and make his best contribution.

Jason’s investment in his team and his ability to see Ben’s new job as a win-win were a result of his commitment to living his own legacy: “to positively impact the lives of others through giving and growing.” Jason’s actions paved the way for Ben to also identify and live out his own legacy.

Ben learned that living out his legacy statement, originally written about his music, could apply to his career. Jason saw his actions lead to a brighter future for a colleague.

Are you a leader who supports growth for the people around you, even if it may involve a “casualty” within your team?

Are you a leader who is living your legacy so that others can live theirs?

Are you someone who has considered your own legacy?