Effective leaders know the importance of making a good first impression. But sometimes overlooked is the power of making a good last impression.
Your last impression is the impact you made on your most recent interaction. It’s the leadership deposit you made with a person, a team, or a group the last time you connected with them.
And this impression matters. It matters a lot.
Effective leaders understand that there are no throw-away interactions. Each time you make a connection, people are forming an impression of your leadership. Far beyond the information you may be trying to convey, those you connect with are ultimately framing an opinion of you, and these opinions drive their ongoing response to your leadership.
To maximize the impact of “Last Impression Leadership”, remember;
1. Make your last impression one of clarity
If people walk away from their interactions with you unclear as to what you were trying to say, they’ll begin to think of you as a leader unsure or uncertain about where you are leading them.
In every conversation, have a point, stick to the point, and ensure they understood the point.
2. Make your last impression one of respect
Even when you are working through a matter of disagreement, treat them with the utmost respect. Don’t wait for them to show respect to you; the leader goes first and sets the tone.
They might lose the argument, but if they come away knowing you have respected them, everyone wins.
3. Make your last impression one of genuine connection
Those with whom you interact are not firstly players, allies, staff, or assets. First and foremost, these are people, with real lives, real interests, and real families.
If they come away from their connection with you knowing that you have a genuine interest in their real world, their response to your leadership will soar.
4. Make your last impression one of vision
It could be a casual conversation in the coffee room, a tactical meeting solving a problem or a brief Zoom update. But each time you make a connection, make a vision deposit.
Seize every opportunity to leave a reminder as to what everyone is working towards, and why it matters.
So by all means, make a good first impression.
But for long-term impact, remember that in leadership there are no mulligans or do-overs. Every connection matters. So make each one count.
And always form lasting, positive and powerful last impressions.