There are many aspects to being a 360˚ leader. Below are some of the main points I got out of the series of videos watched by John C. Maxwell.
Leaders have to manage a big group of people in a short amount of time, they do not have space in their day to be burdened by individual people. In John C. Maxwell’s The 360˚ Leader: The Principles 360˚ Leaders Practice to Lead, it mentions to “Be prepared every time you take your leaders time.” (Maxwell, 2006) In other words, plan ahead before meeting with the leader to maximize valuable time and speak with purpose. For example, there are two ways to go about pitching an idea; one is to go right to the leader with a vague idea and no beyond knowledge. The second is to take ten minutes to gather your thoughts and pitch a big proposal followed by supporting ideas and no blank spaces. In this example, the second person has invested their time and shown their value to their leader, making them more inclined to listen. I chose this concept because I know how hard it is to manage and lead a big group of people. By practicing the concept of taking five minutes to gather your thoughts before speaking to the leader, you are giving them extra time to get something else done. In TALONS, we all have to lead in certain aspects of the program. We will greater appreciate this concept when we are the leaders and have to manage someone who wastes our time. I believe that this further develops my leadership skills so I become a time investor, not a time-waster.
In order to lead others, it is crucial that you are always improving. By defaulting to the same routine every day, you are not improving your skills but remaining stagnant in your learning. John Maxwell states that “The key to personal development is to be more growth-oriented than goal-oriented.” (Maxwell, 2006) This means always striving to be better than you were yesterday. I chose this aspect of a leader because I believe that even the smallest achievements and daily improvements can lead to big results. As my soccer coach always says, “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” I think this is a personal area of improvement for me, to be able to identify when I need to challenge myself to greater develop my skills. To improve my abilities, I can ask for feedback and observe my peers’ strategies to improve their skills. In TALONS, I can learn to take risks and challenge myself to go out of my comfort zone while sharing ideas and feedback. For example, in a situation where my team is brainstorming ideas, I can take the risk of sharing an idea. Even if the idea fails, it is beneficial to me by taking the risk and to my team by exploring a new idea. This concept further enhances my leadership skills by compelling me to focus on personal development before the development of others. As Jack Welsh says in his book Winning, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself.” (Welch, 2005)
Nobody is perfect, but in a competitive environment, it feels good to pretend you have no faults. Everyone around you knows that no one in the world is perfect, so by breaking down your walls and being vulnerable, you are allowing others around you to relate to you. The seventh principle of Leading Across in John Maxwell: The 360˚ Leader states “Don’t pretend you’re perfect” (Maxwell, 2006) Being vulnerable means that you are honest and accountable, especially when analyzing yourself. I chose this principle because sometimes I worry more about what others think than what really matters. This makes me pretend that I am flawless in front of peers and friends, and always place the blame on someone else. Instead, I have to learn to accept the fact that I will always have room for improvement. In TALONS, this applies to group projects. For example, If I didn’t complete my part of the assignment, it is no one’s fault but mine. It is my responsibility to tell my group that I didn’t get it done, instead of blaming my busy schedule or coming up with some other excuse. This concept furthers my leadership skills by understanding the importance of honesty with myself and others. By being accountable enough to admit your faults, there is no one to blame but yourself. Avoiding the truth and putting up false accusations on the other hand is only undermining your honesty. Here is a video to further improve knowledge on the concept of admitting your faults.
John Maxwell’s three skills listed above will shape me into a great leader by continuing to develop my skills for the future. He has taught me the essential lessons to remember while in TALONS and beyond.