John C. Maxwell – The 360° Leader

John C. Maxwell (

“Be willing to do what others won’t”

(Maxwell, 2006)

            John Maxwell explains that a 360° Leader must be willing to do what others will not to lead up. They are willing to take the tough jobs and put themselves on the line; this earns them the respect of their leader. This quote stood out to me because I have experienced many situations where I needed to take the initiative in difficult situations, especially in sports. For example, I take penalty kicks on my soccer team. This role requires putting myself on the line in high-stress scenarios and confronting the grueling mental battle of stepping up to the penalty spot. These skills can be applied in the TALONS program, especially during event planning. An invaluable committee member has a whatever-it-takes attitude and takes ownership during challenging circumstances and exceeds.

Take Ownership (

For example, if a crucial aspect of an event is missed during planning, a 360° Leader will go beyond expectations and take control of the situation. These actions show that they are willing to do what others will not. By employing this technique when I lead, I can prove that I am a valuable member of the group because I will take the initiative and do more than expected. It will also allow me to succeed with difficult people because I will confront tricky circumstances. Also, putting myself on the line will make me a more effective leader because my group members are more likely to follow me when I am invested in the project. In summary, being willing to do what others will not is an essential skill to add value to a group and be a more effective and invested leader.

“Your job isn’t to fix the leader; it’s to add value.”

(Maxwell, 2006)
Add Value (

            Being caught in a situation where you are following an ineffective leader can be frustrating. However, instead of fixing or replacing the leader – which is inappropriate – change your attitude and add value to the leader. Everyone has had to follow an incompetent leader, so knowing how to highlight their strengths and complement their weaknesses is essential to ensure the project can be completed efficiently. Before adding value, it is imperative to build a solid relationship with the leader and appreciate their strengths. Only then can you begin to develop a plan with the leader to complement their weaknesses. In the TALONS program, everyone has the potential to be a very competent leader. However, being placed outside their comfort zone can be overwhelming. In this situation, it is essential to add value and assist them to grow as a leader. Trying to fix or replace the leader will not only cripple your relationship with them but will also be incredibly detrimental to the group’s workflow. Knowing how to add value to an incompetent leader will increase my influence, allowing me to lead the group further. Furthermore, adding value to my peers when I am a leader makes me more effective and influential. Also, knowing how to accept the value, other individuals add to complement my weaknesses and when to ask for assistance is essential in being an approachable and continually growing leader. If I am not willing to let others help me, I will not develop my leadership abilities.

“The Law of Influence: The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more – nothing less.”

(Maxwell, 2006)

            The Law of Influence states that leadership is measured by influence. Leadership is independent of position, meaning that the position does not make the leader; the leader makes the position. In other words, the amount of influence a leader possesses determines their strength, not their status in a company. The Law of Influence summarizes the entire book exceptionally well because the guide focuses on leading from the middle. Leading in the middle requires influencing those below you and above you, and this can only be achieved by a leader who does not rely on their position for authority. This attribute is an essential skill to possess in the TALONS program since it is critical to lead effectively from anywhere. For example, even if you are not an organizer or have a designated leadership position during a trip, you must be able to take control of the situation if there is an emergency. It is evident in this situation that you do not always have a leadership position, and in order to lead in this scenario, it is necessary to have a strong influence. Recognizing that having influence is significantly more important than having a leadership position when trying to lead will significantly aid me in furthering my leadership skills. Instead of only taking charge when I have a leadership position, I will attempt to gain influence within the group by building chemistry with my peers and working for the benefit of the entire group. Gaining influence will allow me to lead from any position in the group, making me a more versatile leader.

Influence (