The 360° Leader Reflection

The first topic that I chose is one of the most pressing obstacles John Maxwell outlined that leaders can face: The Influence Challenge. In this section, he explained how difficult it is lead and influence others in the company beyond your set position and team, and how no one in their life escapes this challenge. It illustrates how people are more likely to follow individuals who demonstrate leadership qualities and who are influential to them, rather than people who are solely placed in a leadership position. A great quote in the book shows how you should change your thinking from “I want a position that will make people follow me to, I want to become a person whom people will want to follow (Maxwell, 2006).” I picked this topic because as it said, it is a pressing concern to anyone who will ever work in a company, so learning to grow and overcome it early will greatly benefit me in my future schooling as well as my career. In TALONS, there are many different levels and positions you can fill: there’s the teacher, the committee leaders, the sub-committee leaders, and the group members. Besides the teacher of course, the people fulfilling these positions can be quite fluid, but if you are continually finding yourself just a group member, it can sometimes be hard be find a voice and have any impact on what your group is doing. But, if you learn to develop and display leadership qualities and techniques, you can have a much greater impact on your committee than you might think, and you could one day be able to fill those higher positions. Becoming a person that people will want to follow will be difficult, but it will astronomically improve my leadership and overall soft skills in TALONS, as well as anything after that.


The next principle I chose to cover is to do more than manage— to lead. The book shows how there is a large difference between managing and leading. Managing focuses more on structure and caution, doing what you are “supposed to do.” Managers still take on responsibility, but they focus more on their work, and the short-term future. Managing is a great start, but leading instead will help you and everyone around you grow. Leaders focus more on influencing others and taking action to help the company for the long-term. John Maxwell says in the book how difficult it often is for managers to change their thinking and switch their mindset to leadership. I chose this principle because right now, I believe I am more on the manager side, and I want to try to start moving to the leader side, taking on more than I’m required to, influencing others, and taking action on issues. I believe there are many people in TALONS who are like me: on the manager side and trying to move to the leader side. When we are planning trips and events and there are so many of us, it’s easy to lose sight of the long-term vision, or to be more focused on the product rather than how we are all simultaneously helping each other grow. Learning to grow beyond management will help me move out of my comfort zone, contribute ideas and help take action, as well as encouraging others to do the same.

The last concept I chose is how you should put completing fellow leaders ahead of competing with them. In the book, it states that workplace competition is healthy, but you should always be more focused on how you can help the organization, not your own agenda. Fierce competition against peers can end up hurting all of you, as well as the organization. You should be using teamwork to work in a way that will help all of you, not working to beat everyone else. I chose this principle because I think that leading across is one of the most important topics out of the three (leading up, leading across, and leading down), especially for us. Having good teamwork to do what is best for the company will benefit me a long way down the road. This concept is also probably one of the most pressing ones for us TALONS learners. There are so many of us, and we are all trying to lead each other, so it can possibly turn into a competition for who can have the most important jobs, who can be the leader, and who can do the most. It’s hard to stand out when everyone around you is doing the same. In TALONS, it’s important to find a balance where everyone is contributing and leading, but we are also making each other better leaders instead of putting each other down. Working in harmony with fellow peers and using teamwork to succeed is an important life and leadership skill I will always need, no matter how cutthroat the situation may seem to be.

Click here to learn more about John Maxwell and his leadership principles.