The book “The 360 Degree Leader – Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization” By John C. Maxwell is one book that every person who is already a leader or ever wishes to lead must read. It shows anyone how to lead, regardless of their level in any organization. This book is not something that can be read and put away, but must be a reference for every leader or a future leader.
John Maxwell covered all the qualities and characteristics that are required by a 360-Degree Leader. A 360-Degree Leader is someone who will be able to lead from anywhere in the organization. John Maxwell provided extensive details about this kind of leaders who practice to Lead Up, Lead Across and Lead Down. For me being a person who is leading from the middle, I found this book to be a very valuable resource.
John Maxwell clearly wrote that being a good leader is a lifelong learning process. Good leaders will gain influence beyond their stated position. A position does not make a leader but a leader can make the position. In leadership no matter where you are in the organization the bottom line is always influence.
In the first section of this book John Maxwell wrote about the 7 myths of leading from the middle of the organization. These myths include the Position Myth, Destination Myth, Influence Myth, Inexperience Myth, Freedom Myth, Potential Myth and the All-Or-Nothing Myth. I can tell that these are real myths that every leader faces. These are written in great detail with a lot of thought provoking illustrations.
In the second section John presents the challenges that 360-Degree Leaders face. They include the Tension Challenge (The pressure of being caught in the middle), The Frustration Challenge (Following an ineffective leader), The Vision Challenge (How Championing a vision is more difficult when you did not create the vision) to name a few challenges. All these challenges are real that every leader faces. The reality is that most of the people in the organization other than the top leader are going to be asked to fulfill a vision that they did not generate. He also presented the Influence challenge. John Maxwell always emphasizes that “Leadership is nothing but Influence”. He writes that 360-Degree Leaders should work to change the thinking from “I want a position that will make people to follow me to, I want to become a person that people will want to follow”.
In the third section of this book John writes about “The Principles of 360-Degree Leaders – Practice to Follow Up”. In this section he presents 9 principles that include Lead yourself Exceptionally Well, Lighten your Leaders load, Be willing to do what other’s Won’t, Do more than Manage-Lead, Invest in Relational Chemistry, Become a Go to Player and Be Better tomorrow that you are today. These principles are presented exceptionally well with great details and relevant illustrations and examples. John writes that “The key to personal development is to be more growth oriented that goal oriented. Leaders are Learners. If you are not moving forward as a learner, then you moving back as a leader.”
In the fourth section John writes about “The Principles of 360-Degree Leaders – Practice to Lead Across”. It is “Follow me, I will walk with you”. In order to make it to the next level of leadership, a leader must be able to lead other leaders who are not just below them, but also those above and alongside them. He presents 7 principles that are needed to be mastered in order to lead across. They are Understand, Practice and Complete the Leadership Loop, Being a Friend, Avoiding Office Politics, Expanding Your Circle of Acquaintances , Let the Best ideas win and Not to pretend you are prefect to name a few. He writes that a leader must be passionate about his work and have the integrity to stand up for his ideas, but also must know when to compromise.
In the fifth section John writes about “The Principles of 360-Degree Leaders – Practicing to Lead Down”. “Follow me and I’ll add value to you”. In this section John presents various principles like “Walking slowly through the halls”. John emphasizes that “Relationship building is always the foundation of an effective leader.” Leaders who ignore relational aspect of leadership tend to rely on their position instead. True good leaders are competent, but they are also intentionally connected to the people they lead. John also presents additional principles like Develop each team member as a person, Place people in their strength zone, Model the behavior you desire and Transfer the Vision.
In the sixth section John writes about the value of the 360 Degree leaders in the organization which include values like Leaders are needed at every level of the organization, Good leaders at the middle make better leaders at the top and 360-degree leaders possesses qualities that every organization needs.
At the end of the book there is a 360 Degree Leader workshop for every section of the book with various challenges that can help the reader to apply these principles which can assist their growth in order to go to the next level as a 360-Degree Leader.
Overall this book is excellently written by John Maxwell. I am sincerely thankful to John for this wonderful resource. Our influence is greater than we know. I think that practicing these disciplines of 360 Degree leadership the opportunities will be endless for any person in any organization both professionally and personally.
I strongly recommend this book and give it a Five Star Rating.
Thomas Nelson Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of ““The 360 Degree Leader – Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization” By John C. Maxwell to review. Opinions expressed are my own and not those of Thomas Nelson.