“The 360 Degree Leader” by John Maxwell


Leadership skills development is essential for any person who wants to succeed or even fit in modern society. When thinking about leaders’ roles, people tend to focus on the ability to influence others and make them follow. However, in his famous book, John C. Maxwell unveiled the value of the leader who does not simply lead his subordinates but has an impact on all the people around him or her. The author stresses that being a 360-degree leader is the best way to succeed in professional and personal life. The principles described in the book and numerous recommendations based on sound evidence make it a must-have source for any employee. Maxwell’s book has had a profound effect on me as I learned about new facets of leadership and became a more skillful leader.

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Myths to Be Addressed

First, it is necessary to emphasize that the book provides an eye-opening experience as it makes readers look at leadership from a different angle. In my career path, I intend to take up different roles and grow from lower levels of organizational hierarchy to higher levels. I was never affected by the myths described by Maxwell since I have always thought that any person can be a leader in different situations. Of course, I still never saw the top position in a company as being a “hostage” (Maxwell 2). Maxwell’s book helped me to realize that many people, my potential colleagues, subordinates, and leaders, share quite wrongful beliefs regarding leadership. Therefore, I have to be prepared to destroy the myths and show that leaders can influence others irrespective of their position within an organization.

In order to free my future colleagues from the myths and erroneous perceptions regarding leadership, I’ll become a role model. I will try to be a leader at all stages of my development and all organizational levels. I will share my views on the matter and encourage people to learn about their own potential. By being a 360-degree leader, I will help others to build a new view on leadership and their roles in the company. Raising people’s awareness regarding this kind of leadership will make all stakeholders motivated to try leading up, across, and down.

Principles to Follow

One of the major takeaways for me is the first principle related to the essence of being an effective leader. Now, I repeat to myself, “if you wouldn’t follow yourself, why should anyone else” (Maxwell 84). I will always try to remain the leader I would like to follow, which means that I will be organized, committed to my goals and vision, and ready to develop. I will also try to encourage others to self-manage and help them become successful in this. Overall, one of my goals as a 360-degree leader is to facilitate other people’s growth, which will make teams and individuals, as well as the entire organization, high-achievers.

Leading across can often be a challenging task, but it is one of the pillars of an organizations’ success. Maxwell shows that, ironically, being an effective leader is associated with the ability to let others lead. Competition is necessary for keeping people in a constant search for better solutions. However, leading across may require stepping aside if another leader’s idea is more appropriate. I will always ask myself if I really need to stand up to my approach and strategy or whether other people’s plans are more viable. I should remember that supporting other leaders will not mean my losing authority or becoming less followed.

My ability to support and empower others will show my care and my commitment to the organization rather than my personal goals. Research suggests that by empowering others, leaders make their subordinates less cynical and more willing to contribute to the growth of their organization (Lorinkova and Perry 1631). Therefore, Maxwell’s principles prove to be valuable for real-life experience and help leaders to achieve high results in all directions.

Maxwell’s recommendations regarding leading down are consistent with a vast bulk of literature on transformational leadership as well as my personal views on the matter. I will make the provided principles my guidelines when treating my subordinates. The primary focus will be on developing others and keeping their tasks challenging but doable. As a leader, I will concentrate on subordinates’ strengths and praise them whenever it is appropriate.

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Weaknesses to Address in Order to Be an Effective Leader

Maxwell’s book was also instrumental in unveiling my weaknesses that I will be able to eliminate. One of the principles associated with leading leaders is the focus on people rather than processes. Maxwell claims that managers are concerned about processes while leaders concentrate on managing people (113). I often fail to leave processes behind and try to make the things right managing procedures. This approach is ineffective due to its limited scope, so leaders who manage processes waste their time and deprive their colleagues of an opportunity to grow and gain experience.

I have to admit that leading leaders are a new concept to me, and I will have to work hard to learn how to affect leaders. I have noticed that, in some cases, I feel unconfident when trying to communicate my vision or share views on addressing existing issues. The analysis of the principles outlined by Maxwell helped me see that this kind of influence is possible and beneficial for the company.

Therefore, instead of thinking of positions and authority, I will focus on plans, strategies, and methods to make the organization more successful. One of the strategies that will ensure my ability to push forward is also inspired by Maxwell’s principles. I will remember that even the brightest idea “at the wrong time will be received just the same as a bad idea” (Maxwell 136). The feeling of urgency will help me find the courage to speak up and try to lead leaders.

I have been lucky to interact with leaders who were knowledgeable and visionary. Maxwell stresses that 360-degree leaders are likely to face the challenge of working with leaders characterized by certain negative traits. The author provides his recommendations to overcome the challenges associated with frustration and an ego-centered approach. Notably, some of the strategies are rather questionable.

For instance, leaders’ exposure to certain materials is mentioned as a way to minimize frustration (Maxwell 42). However, this solution can hardly work if a leader has the qualities described. A more effective way to address the issue is to focus on achievements and try to develop proper relationships with others. The ego challenge can be addressed with the help of the adoption of the self-less promotion approach. I will strive for the promotion and professional growth, but I will concentrate on organizational goals.

Concluding Remarks

It is necessary to note that Maxwell’s book provides valuable insights into leadership. Although it is often regarded as a one-direction phenomenon, it is clear that leading up, leading down, and leading across is possible and desirable. I learned a lot about these directions of leadership, and I will definitely try to be a 360-degree leader. Although I will still strive for a high position within the organization, I will find the benefits in every position I will occupy along my way to the top. Moreover, I think my ability to lead across and lead up will be instrumental in my becoming successful in my professional life. The ideas learned about leadership will also be helpful in my family life. Maxwell’s principles should be a part of every person’s life, which will make people happier.

Maxwell’s view on leadership may seem very specific, but the author provides valuable recommendations that can help people succeed. I plan to develop a set of guidelines I will employ in my professional growth. I will include the principles and challenges even if I find them self-evident, since I may change and start making mistakes outlined in the book. I will also continue reflecting on my experiences and leadership skills development.

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This strategy has helped me in my personal and academic lives, so I will continue analyzing my experiences. The use of the recommendations mentioned above will also be subject to a thorough analysis. I will note what works and what areas need further consideration. All in all, Maxwell’s book is a set of standards to follow, but they should also be adjusted to the environment whenever it is necessary.

Works Cited

Lorinkova, Natalia M., and Sara Jansen Perry. “When Is Empowerment Effective? The Role of Leader-Leader Exchange in Empowering Leadership, Cynicism, and Time Theft”. Journal of Management, vol. 43, no. 5, 2014, pp. 1631-1654.

Maxwell, John C. The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization. HarperCollins Leadership, 2011.

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""The 360 Degree Leader" by John Maxwell." StudyCorgi, 3 July 2021, studycorgi.com/the-360-degree-leader-by-john-maxwell/.

1. StudyCorgi. ""The 360 Degree Leader" by John Maxwell." July 3, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-360-degree-leader-by-john-maxwell/.


StudyCorgi. ""The 360 Degree Leader" by John Maxwell." July 3, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-360-degree-leader-by-john-maxwell/.


StudyCorgi. 2021. ""The 360 Degree Leader" by John Maxwell." July 3, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-360-degree-leader-by-john-maxwell/.


StudyCorgi. (2021) '"The 360 Degree Leader" by John Maxwell'. 3 July.

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