Legacy Leadership

The emergence of a new leadership model after more than a decade of crisis

Legacy Leadership

The emergence of a new leadership model after more than a decade of crisis

A WOB publication in partnership with Carolyn McSweeney-Grant.

The enormous scale, complexity and urgency of an organisations’ challenges demand more purposeful and sustainable leadership behaviours. Leaders who have the vision and values, the character and competence, to shape the future while also balancing short- and long-term goals, and a sustainable, psychologically safe organisational culture, have a place in this ‘new world’.

  • How do some leaders successfully and responsibly lead their organisation through global competition, wars, depressions, recessions, crises and pandemics?
  • Why do some leaders stay ahead, despite what is going on around them?
  • How do they continually outperform competitors over the long term?
  • How can shareholder expectations still be achieved while contributing to social and environmental concerns?
  • How do shareholders adapt to changes in markets, regulations, consumer behaviour and technologies, and many other challenging events, and yet, still manage to flourish?

Be guided by a set of six foundations and 12 principles that form the core of 'Legacy Leadership', a form of leadership that acknowledges the importance of ‘human skills’, including a deep understanding of emotional and social intelligence, to stay ‘true’ during stressful, uncertain times. Download a sample text.

Learn from the experiences and reflections of nearly 800 leaders in this new publication available for purchase as an e-book and downloadable PDF. 

Capturing a decade of thought leadership

In 2010, Women on Boards (WOB) inaugurated its Next Generation of Female Leaders Program to improve women’s access to C-level executives in their organisations. The first program ran as a pilot in partnership with UBS and was then taken up by Commonwealth Bank from 2011 to 2016 and by AON for three years from 2017 to 2019.

From 2011, the program curriculum had as its main output a report and presentation based on interviews with global and Australian leaders. Working in syndicates, the participants interviewed male and female leaders from the public, not-for-profit, community and business sectors on the topic of leadership. In nine years, 58 reports were written in the Next Generation of Female Leaders Program based on interviews with nearly 800 leaders, who were asked to reflect on the topic of leadership.

Legacy Leadership is an attempt to review and synthesise these 58 reports into an overarching document that reflects the legacy of our leadership thinking and action from 2011 and 2019, and contextualise it, in a post-COVID world.

It contains six core foundations of legacy leadership:

  1. Stakeholder advocacy
  2. Social and emotional intelligence
  3. Strategic purpose and alignment
  4. Growth / Benefit mindset
  5. Psychological safety
  6. Trust and accountability

.....and 12 Principles

  1. Value Employees
  2. Share learning and collaboration
  3. Customer-Centricity as a Priority
  4. Critical Decision-making
  5. Transformation / Change
  6. Ethics and Transparency
  7. Succession Planning
  8. Corporate Social Responsibility
  9. Adaptability to Volatility, Uncertainty and Complex Ambiguity (VUCA)
  10. Communications and Conversational Intelligence
  11. Financial Metrics versus Non-Financial Metrics
  12. Diversity and Inclusion

There is also a legacy leadership competency framework and assessment that can be used to develop the next generation of leaders.

About the Author

Carolyn McSweeney-Grant is an organisational experience transformist, helping organisations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers and their employees. She has a strong focus on strategy, marketing, interaction design, communications, psychological safety and leadership practices.

Carolyn’s previous research has included, ‘The Value in Emotional Engagement in Customer Interactions’ and the ‘Psychological Safety of Boards and its Effect on Decision Making’. Carolyn is the founder of 6peas Marketing & Engagement, the People + Science Psychological Safety & Performance Benchmarking Tool, Valid8 Innovations and a Best Practice Communications Framework based on neuroscience learnings.

Carolyn helps clients, both individual and corporate, to enhance employee and customer experience founded upon psychological safety to accelerate and sustain business success.