“This is the best day of my life.”

Last Saturday Collingwood coach Craig McRae said this in front of 100,000 screaming fans at the end of the AFL Grand Final after his team narrowly won a pulsating thriller.

McRae went on to tell the crowd that his wife had given birth to a baby daughter on the morning of the Grand Final.

Yep, that’s quite a day.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Later that night at a club function McRae revealed that he wrote “44 sons” under his shirt collar.

He urged every player to inscribe a personal message under the collar of their own jumper describing the legacy they wanted to leave as a person and a player at the end of the season.

McRae’s “44 sons” legacy referred to the total Collingwood squad, whom he saw as his sons. “I’ve got three beautiful daughters now, I don’t have a son, but I consider all these guys in the squad my sons, so I wore that under my collar today,” said McRae.

Every leader leaves a legacy

Every leader, whether at work, in a family or in the classroom leaves a mark at the end of their term. As a leader you’ll always be remembered for something, hopefully it will be significant.

At Young Leaders we firmly believe that student leaders should consider how they want to be remembered at the end of the tenure.

In one of the Young Leaders Program Induction activities students are given a set of footprints and asked to fill in how they want to be remembered by others.

One footprint refers to their Contribution and the other to the Qualities they show and develop. The footprints are for others to follow.

Legacy is the cornerstone of culture creation

Every teacher from a Young Leaders school I speak with wants to create a culture of leadership in their school.

(As an aside, teachers who aren’t in Young Leaders schools tell me that they want to establish a culture of leadership.)

Creating a student leadership culture is the result of an intentional strategy covering several key steps. One those steps is to encourage students to focus on their legacy – what they want to be remembered for and the footprints that they will leave behind.

Looking at the legacy students will leave includes role modelling, goal setting and mentoring. Each is a different concept but when combined becomes a powerful part of student leadership development.

Yes, Yes And Yes

Yes, great student leaders are good communicators. Yes, they’re proficient organisers, or on their way.

Yes, they display strong character, even if they make some mistakes on the way.

Yes, they are team players, or should be.

Yes, they should be able to regulate their emotions, but even the calmest student will lose their cool at times.

And Yes, every great student leader is guided by how they want to be remembered and the legacy they want to leave behind.

That is how you’ll build a leadership culture in your school.

Register for our next Discovery Session to find out how the Young Leaders Program can benefit your school. Join the community of schools who receive regular tips and strategies from the Young Leaders team.