Leadership and Legacy
If your actions inspire others to dream more,
learn more, do more and become more, you are a
- John Quincy Adams
Today more than ever, we all need to be leaders, no
matter what our job title. And we need to lead in
different ways – most of us are leading people who
don’t ‘report’ directly to us in a line management
sense. We need to influence people to join with us
in order to achieve our goals. And the way you are
‘being’ a leader is going to be different to the way
I am ‘being’ a leader. We might be doing different
things, but even if we do the same things, it comes
across differently because we are different people.
We embody leadership differently.
Every one of us leaves a legacy behind, no matter
how long (or short) our lives, no matter how many
(or few) people we touch. There will always be the
material aspects of our legacy, of course -
charitable foundations, trusts, prizes, books,
photos, paintings, poems etc. But our spiritual
legacy, the essence of ourselves, our greater
connectedness, is a true reflection of the way we
lead our lives.
I’d like to give you two examples of leaders I look
up to who have left an amazing legacy – a long
shadow. They are Dr. Robert (Bob) A. Gregory and Guy
Guy died in March and Bob in June. They knew each
other; and many of our friends and colleagues were
friends and colleagues of Guy and Bob as well. So
many of the people we know are impacted by the void
they leave behind.
Bob and Guy had more in common as leaders than they
differed, even if they each embodied leadership
- They saw themselves as being first and foremost
in service to others
- They knew themselves well
- They were humble
- They listened to others non-judgementally
- They made each person they met feel special,
capable and able to take that next (challenging)
- They took responsibility (didn’t wait for it)
and got important things done.
I met both of them when I worked with BP. I met Bob
on my first day when I was parachuted in to
contribute to ‘OD Boot Camp’, an organisational
development programme for colleagues in our team.
Bob sat at the back -I think he liked to conduct
from the back. After the day’s work was finished, he
invited me over to chat. I remember his eyes – they
looked deep. And this was his leadership style – to
connect and to stay connected. Not just to connect
to me, but also to connect me in to his network. And
what an amazing network it was!
Bob was a man who touched people deeply. He was very
intelligent and well read. He had high principles
and integrity. And he clearly ‘got’ me.
He was learned, creative and a wonderful person to
develop ideas with. He cared deeply about others. He
was generous, warm, funny, courageous and human. He
always knew someone who could help. He always stood
up for what was right. He fought his disease
courageously and went out fighting.
I also met Guy at BP, again through my work in
leadership development when he and I ran a programme
that Bob had helped to design for senior leaders.
Guy had a very large funny bone - always gently
teasing people, taking the mickey out of himself and
others and immediately putting them at ease. He too
was passionate about developing others, but he did
so in quite a different way to Bob. He came at
leadership from having been a leader in corporate
life. He was a story teller – wonderful stories,
told to make a point. He loved his work and worked
very hard – almost too hard sometimes. He always
Like Bob, he kept in contact with people. There
wasn’t a week that went by that I didn’t have an
email or a telephone call, not always to do with our
work together. Guy knew Bob, of course, and they
were great friends.
Guy had a hip replacement at the end of the year,
but was back at work as soon as possible, pushing
himself as before. At the end of March, he died
suddenly of a stroke. We were all shocked, no one
more so than Bob, who wrote a letter to Guy’s wife,
despite being very ill himself by that stage.
Often people will say ‘he made a difference’ about
someone. With both Guy and Bob, people will tell you
exactly how each of them made a difference. These
were life defining moments. Both friends are sorely
…. For the full version of this reflective
Leadership and Legacy In Memoriam: Dr. Robert (Bob)
A. Gregory and Guy Seaman
©Patricia Lustig, 2008