Have you ever wanted to make a positive difference in your organization or ministry, but just felt like you just weren’t quite high enough in the organization to make a significant impact?
I have felt this way multiply times and in various jobs and organizations that I have served in. I would do the best I could to serve with the clear role and responsibility I had, and that was it. I would feel powerless to influence leaders, peers or the direction of the organization as a whole.
My (false) belief was that the only opportunity for me to lead was with those “under” my charge. Surely, this task alone is enough to keep most people busy, but I am now convinced the opportunity doesn’t stop there.
A few years ago, I was given a copy of book by leadership author John Maxwell called The 360º Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization. I have read plenty of Maxwell’s other books and gained much value from them, but this has been one of my all time favorites.
In this book, John Maxwell introduced me to the concept of 360º leadership.
Maxwell defines leadership simply as “influence”. He explains that this kind of leadership is virtually unconstrained by organizational structure. One can lead down (the traditional thought about leadership), but one can also lead across (influencing peers in the organization) and even lead up (influencing supervisors).
To be effective and beneficial all leadership should be with the heart of a servant. In our heart to serve, at times you may have some great things to contribute to the overall organization which extend beyond your specific job description, or those directly under your charge.
If so, I hope you find this concept of 360º leadership encouraging. You don’t necessarily have to wait years until you are promoted into a different level of your organization to make a bigger contribution. You can contribute now!
When you have something valuable to contribute and you share it with a genuinely helpful attitude, your co-workers and supervisors will likely be receptive and grateful for your contribution.
Questions: What leadership book(s) have most helped you? What other attitudes tend to hold people back from making contributions to their organizations?