Still Life

A Series of Mental Snapshots

Book Review and Thoughts: The 360 Degree Leader

Posted by Steve on September 9, 2008

This last week I just finished reading a book on leadership: The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell. The book is aimed at people who feel stuck or trapped in middle managment. It discusses some of the common problems of being a middle manager as well as an interesting concept of the 360 degree leader, someone who not only leads their follows, but also their peers and superiors. It is roughly a 300 page book, with not too many things that I disagreed with, that’s a decent accomplishment on its own. There were also many things that really resonded with me, I will just discuss some of the ones that I felt were really important.

Leading Up: Be a Go To Player
The go to player is the one that the boss goes to in crunch time, whenever there is something very important or when there is a crisis, it is where you want to be. I have always felt this to be an important relationship to have with your boss as you get the most opportunities, the most freedom and are relied on the most therefore you are the one to achieve your goals if you are trying to move forward as you are able to show what you can do.

Leading Down: A Good leader seems like they are not even there
This something that I have definitely noticed before but never really been able to articulate properly, but this definitely hits the nail on the head. A good manager/leader should have his team in a position so that he can go away for a week or preferably more, and see no impact on the team. Furthermore I feel like a good leader/manager should also always be looking ahead, therefore they are seeing (and possibly solving) potential troublesome problems/road blocks even before their team members even hit them. Now this isnt to say that a good leader doesn’t do work, as you’ll see in the next point.

Leading Down: A good leader leads by example
This is something that I have come to learn some what recently based on personal experience. I have to go back a bit first though to illustrate why it took me so long to figure this one out! As a follower, I like to try to please the leader, in certain situations there are things that I find tedious and do not like doing them, but I’ll do them because I know that it will make my leader happy. On the same vein, the amount of time my leader spends in the office has very little impact on how much time I spend in the office.  But as I learned from when I was in a leader position, this is not always the case. Followers, are called followers for a reason, they often follow by example. If you have a negative opinion on a certain practice, for example sending out a daily update, they will likely have the same negative view. Despite what you may think, they will be watching you, and watching you more closely then you may think, therefore you MUST lead by example.

Those are just some of the tid bits that I picked up from the book, it was defintiely a worth while read, so if you have an empty reading schedule or an opening coming up soon, I would suggest picking up a copy.


4 Responses to “Book Review and Thoughts: The 360 Degree Leader”

  1. Great book. I loved it. Keep up the great blogging.

  2. Julian said

    I enjoyed this book. Being a 360 degree leader is a simple principle as most great ideas are but takes work to keep doing.

  3. Steve said


    I definitely agree with you. I think that it requires a lot of self reflection; you have to look back on your actions often to make sure they are still properly aligned with what you want to happen.

  4. Steve said


    Thanks for the encouragement!

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