I always look at things with a leadership bias. After all, “Everything rises and falls on leadership” as leadership guru John C. Maxwell puts it.

As the dust settled at Stade de France in northern following Real Madrid’s one nil defeat of Liverpool in the 2022 EUFA Champions League (UCL), many people’s attention was drawn to the Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti’s impeccable achievements – winning the Champions League for the fourth time as coach and being a member of the exclusive club of only eight people that have ever won the Champions as player and coach.

While there were many interesting aspects to focus on, for me what stood out from a leadership perspective was the inimitable, astounding and powerful story of father and son – Carlo and Davide Ancelotti. David, 32, is Carlo’s son and his assistant at Real Madrid. This year’s win with Madrid is the second time when Carlo is winning the Champions League with Davide as his assistant coach.

Carlo, 63 years, played as a midfielder for Parma, Roma, AC Milan and the Italian national team. As a manager, he has worked for man big teams including Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Bayern Munich, Napoli and Everton. He has won domestic titles in Italy, England, France, Spain, and Germany and is the first manager to have won league titles in Europe’s top five leagues.

Davide on the other hand didn’t succeed as a footballer despite being on the books of Milan. He however, studied sports science and first worked with his father as a fitness coach with PSG nearly a decade ago. They’ve been inseparable ever since with Davide being promoted to assistant manager at Napoli, Everton and now Real Madrid.

The story of Carlo and Davide Ancelotti epitomises the law of legacy in leadership.

Leaders that have a lasting legacy leave an indelible imprint on people’s heart because they choose to make impact on the world and this breed of leadership is rare. Legacy leaders leave a legacy of succession in their families, organisations, friends and the world as a whole by leading with tomorrow and today in mind. According to John Maxwell, legacy leaders create a leadership culture within their organisations; they pay a price to assure lasting success; they value team leadership above individual leadership; and they realise that the leader’s lasting value can only be judged based on how well the organisation did after the leader is gone. Legacy leaders choose a life of significance and not just a life of success.

Legacy leadership leverages team dynamics for lasting impact.

At the age of 22 Davide obtained a degree in sports science and he explained in an interview at the time that: “Everybody wants to be a footballer but I quickly realized I didn’t have any talent for it so I decided to study.” Many observers believe that Davide is not just exploiting his family name but is an anchor to Carlo, helping his sixty-something father to stay relevant and successful in the modern game by introducing elements of sports science and data analysis that are needed at the elite level.

One day Davide will definitely carry on the mantle for the Ancelotti family and is in fact one leg in it, learning from the best – his father Carlo. As Davide himself acknowledged: “I want to be a manager one day and he [Carlo] is the best example I can have … I am really lucky to be his son, it is the best thing in the world if you want to be a manager.”

This father and son combination typifies the law of the legacy. Carlo Ancelotti is a legacy leader, and he is guaranteed that his vision and impact will live long after he has retired from football. That’s the law of legacy.

As they say, success is a decision, that’s why no one wakes up suddenly successful and ask people how did I get here.

May the Carlo and Davide example inspire us to be legacy leaders that inspire our families, friends, organisations, communities and the world at large.

Written by Sheuneni Kurasha