Danny Tanner and Man Behind the Character
Until the beginning of this year, anytime Bob Saget’s name came up, I’d think of my early adult years. Danny Tanner, Bob Saget’s character on Full House, was on in the background of my home frequently back in those days.
In January, though, when he unexpectedly passed away, I learned there was far more to Bob Saget than his Danny Tanner character. As tributes poured in, I was astonished to hear about the Bob his fans didn’t know, the person he was behind the scenes.
The Legacy Left by Bob Saget
Friends, family, and colleagues shared his gift of regularly telling others what they meant to him. His ‘I love you’ sendoffs were the norm, and he wasn’t one to push off checking in with someone he loved.
Bob Saget cared. His loved ones knew he cared. And even though his untimely passing brought tears and sadness, those in his inner circle knew exactly how he felt about them. They praised him for the incredible human he was, and they celebrated the many ways he supported others.
Even though it’s been nearly 11 months since he left us, I just heard another of Bob Saget’s friends share an inspiring story about him. Bob lives on in others because of his kindness, compassion, generosity, and commitment to connection. Those he left behind are better because of the example he set, because of the way he chose to live his life. Bob Saget left an extraordinary legacy.
The Legacy You Create as a Leader
In your leadership role, you, too, have the opportunity to create and leave an exceptional leadership legacy. The ‘create’ part happens on a daily basis. The ‘leave’ part is the result of your daily decisions and commitments.
While the thought of creating a legacy may sound overwhelming, that doesn’t have to be the case. Focusing on three main practices will get you started:
1. Know the Type of Leader You Want to Be
Your workdays are filled with responsibilities and priorities to be accomplished. You commit to being productive, efficient, and successful in all you do.
When you step back from the daily hustle and bustle, though, who is the leader you’re showing up as for your team? And is that the leader you want to be?
Some ideas to get you thinking. You may be the visionary leader who determines where the company is going next and inspires that vision in others. Perhaps you’re the compassionate leader who’s known for your excellent listening skills and ability to show empathy for others. Or maybe you’re the decisive leader who knows when it’s time to stop contemplating the next step and move forward to test it out.
2. Stay the Course.
Once you’ve determined the type of leader you want to be, it’s a sure bet that obstacles will get in your way. It’s part of life, right? Determine a plan; move forward with it; and be ready to overcome challenges that occur.
If those obstacles or challenges seem to be coming at you more frequently than you’d like, you may fall back to old habits that don’t serve you well. It may be that earlier in your career when you were met with a setback, you reacted in anger. Or maybe avoidance, impatience, or disrespectful communication was once your go-to reaction to the stumbling blocks you encountered.
Make a commitment to keep those old habits in the past, and do the work needed to move forward while consistently showing up as the leader you want to be.
3. Check In with Yourself
I never had a conversation with Bob Saget so I don’t know if he ever had difficulty maintaining the legacy he created for himself. Were there days that were more difficult for him to check in with his loved ones? Did he ever experience times of low energy, grief, sadness, or depression? Was his schedule ever so busy that it was all he could to just keep up with everything on his plate?
Again, I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling the answer to at least one question above is a resounding ‘yes’. It’s not easy to make commitments to create and maintain a legacy—leadership or otherwise—and then keep those commitments without fail. After all, we are human, and we sometimes fall from our lofty goals.
This idea to check in with yourself can be as simple as a 10-minute recurring calendar or task reminder at the end of each week. It’s an opportunity to ask yourself questions like these:
- Am I showing up as the leader I want to be?
- Am I making it a regular practice to encourage my team members to learn, grow, and develop their skills?
- Am I the type of leader that has team members—both current and former—who appreciate my part in their career journey? Would I be proud of the way they speak of me and the influence I’ve had in their lives?
- Am I tapping into my core values every day and leading through those values?
Commit to the check-in process, and give yourself grace to try again when you don’t like the answers to the questions you pose.
The Value of Your Leadership Legacy
Creating and leaving a leadership legacy takes dedication. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t something every leader considers. Going back to the legacy Bob Saget left, however, can help you understand what a valuable gift it can be both for yourself and those you have the opportunity to lead.