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Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization
“360° Leader” is, once again, John C. Maxwell at his organizational best! A comprehensive guide for middle-level leaders who may be the unsung heroes of any company – and the 360-degree leaders from the title of this book.
About John C. Maxwell
John C. Maxwell is arguably – and even by acclamation – the leading authority on leadership and related subjects. He is the founder of both the John Maxwell Company and EQUIP and has written over 40 books, which have sold more than 20 million copies. Among them: “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” “The Five Levels of Leadership,” “Leadership Gold,” “Put Your Dream to the Test” and “Talent Is Never Enough”.
“The 360° Leader Summary”
Leading is something you are only able to do when you’re on the top, right? After all, that’s nothing more than common knowledge.
And we’re not talking about everyday leadership or something that stretches the definition of management or leadership. No, John C. Maxwell is interested in the real deal. And he demonstrates how you can lead from the middle of your organization just as well – if not even better – than those who are on the top.
And since it’s Maxwell we’re talking about, you know everything’s going to be neat and tidy. Or, in other words, organized as perfectly as possible.
In this case, we have six sections. Or, to break down all the numbers: 7 myths, 7 challenges, 9 lead-up principles, 7 lead-across and 7 lead-down principles, and 5 values.
Let’s take a look at each of them.
First of all, the 7 “myths of leading from the middle of an organization.” In this section, Maxwell busts some of the most widely spread myths which claim it’s impossible to lead from the middle of an organization. And he successfully demonstrates that you not only you can – but you can even be better at it!
However, there are as many challenges. The first challenge is “the tension challenge,” i.e., not knowing where you stand. Then, there’s “the frustration challenge,” or, following an ineffective leader. The third challenge is the many hats of leadership you have to wear: middle-level leaders can look 360 degrees around them – up, down, and across.
The forth challenge is winning the battle against the ego: even though you lead, you’re not on the top. Related to this is the fifth, “the fulfillment challenge”: people feel more fulfilled when on top. Sixthly, you have to champion your vision – which is a difficult task. And, finally, when you’re middle-level manager, you must lead people above you. This is “the influence challenge.”
So as to avoid repetition, we’ll leave the lead principles for the “Key Lessons” section. We’ll conclude the summary with the five values of the 360° Leader.
Value #1: “a leadership team is more effective than just one leader.” Because – and this is value #2 – leaders are needed at all stages of an organization. Obviously, leading at one level well enough qualifies you for a next-level leader. Or, to formulate value #4: good middle-level leaders are even better top leaders.
The final, fifth value is, by this moment, all but expected: 360-degree leaders are what every organization needs.
Key Lessons from “The 360° Leader”
1. The 9 Lead-Up Principles
2. The 7 Lead-Across Principles
3. The 7 Lead-Down Principles
The 9 Lead-Up Principles
When you’re in the middle, you are expected to lead those above you as well. There are nine principles you should follow. First of all, to lead yourself exceptionally well. Secondly, to lighten your leaders’ load. Thirdly, to lead by example and do what others will never do.
Next – to not be a manager or a boss, but a leader. Fifthly – to create good relationships. Sixth – to be always prepared. Which means – and this is the 7th principle – to know when to push, and when to back off. This will make you “a go-to player” – the guy everyone goes to in case of a problem. This is the 8th lead-up principle.
Finally, the last one is of a more personal nature: self-improve. Or, as Maxwell says, “be better tomorrow than you are today.”
The 7 Lead-Across Principles
Leading across is an art. You must help your peers, i.e., those around you. And it can be accomplished much more easily if you base your actions on these seven principles.
First of all – “understand, practice, and complete the leadership loop”. Wondering what a leadership loop is?“ It’s a 7-phase process, consisting of: caring, learning, appreciating, contributing, verbalizing, leading, and succeeding.
Related to this is the 2nd lead-across principle: complete your fellow leaders; don’t compete against them. Or in other words – principle #3 – be a friend. You’ll become one if you stay away from office politics, expand your circle and letting the best idea (and not your idea) always win.
And that will show everybody that you’re not perfect. Which will make others love you more.
The 7 Lead-Down Principles
The 7 lead-down principles start with a strange – and yet a common sense – advice: walk slowly down the halls. Or, translated talk around with your subordinates, finding out all that you can about them.
This is related to the second principle: even though below you, these people are great. Consider them great and develop them as people through the power of positive relationships. And, by finding out their strengths and inspiring them to use them.
The fifth lead-down principle is a Gandhian one: be a model! Only in that case you’ll be able to transfer your vision – which is the penultimate lead-down principle.
The final: the old good reward system. Be fair. “Reward for Results”
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