Early in his career, Steve Jobs famously set out to make a “dent in the universe.” Some might say that based on the number of Apple products in use around the world that he succeeded.
What’s stuck with me more than anything is how Jobs cast a lasting memory as a strong leader. This legacy is one that I think can offer federal leaders and employees some invaluable leadership lessons.
· People are constantly assessing you – Steve Jobs operated under a microscope that covered his successes and failures. While you may not have a spotlight on you 24/7, your team, colleagues and supervisor are constantly assessing your performance as a leader. Are you maintaining a realistic optimism that inspires your team? Are you handling high-pressure situations with calm? Are you able to deliver results? It’s important to remember that all leaders operate in a fish bowl.
· Be intentional about creating a legacy – Your actions as a leader and your colleagues’ assessments are leaving a leadership legacy every day, whether you realize it or not. An executive coach that I know encourages people to “be the leader you would like to have.” To do so, it’s important that you know your priorities, be organized in spending your time according to those priorities and, in short, live up to the expectation of others.
· Whatever your legacy may be, you have an opportunity for re-writes – Perhaps the best part of Jobs’ legacy is that there were at least two or three chapters. Had he retired wealthy and satisfied in the 1980s, Jobs would have been remembered as an ill-tempered, one-hit wonder. After spending time exploring his personal passions, he returned to Apple and revolutionized the way we consume technology. Like Jobs, learn from your experiences and don’t be afraid to re-write your career.
Like Steve Jobs, as a federal leader you can have a profound impact on the people you work with every day. What’s the legacy you want to leave? And for federal employees, I would like to hear about the leaders who have had a positive effect on your lives. Please share some of your untold stories of government innovation and post you thoughts below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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