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4 Steps to Becoming a 360-Degree Leader

A great leader can motivate his or her team to achieve the highest levels of performance, but the best know how to lead by influencing others. Known as 360-degree leadership, this technique is something everyone – regardless of title or position – can use to make an impact.

 360-degree leadership is for everyone

A common leadership myth is, “If I don’t have a team, I can’t lead.” But you can and should. Early in your career – before you supervise others – is precisely the time you should start honing and developing your leadership skills.

You should learn to lead long before landing an executive spot in your company’s hierarchy. Then – and only then – can you truly understand how to inspire and influence others.

Here are four steps you can take toward becoming a 360-degree leader:

1. Lead yourself exceptionally well.

When you are able to self-manage different aspects of your personal life – including your energy and time – you’re in a better position to lead others. Leadership is a lifestyle, and by learning to lead yourself, others will begin to follow, respect and partner with you.

2. Lead your superiors.

Once you have mastered the art of leading yourself, you’ll be ready to learn how to lead your boss. When you can decipher what your boss wants, you can help them achieve their goals. By lightening your leader’s load and being willing to do what others won’t, your value will increase and your influence will become greater. Good leaders create better senior leaders and make organizations better overall.

3. Lead your peers or team members.

To succeed in peer-to-peer leadership, a 360-degree leader must gain the respect of his or her colleagues. Doing so is as simple as taking an interest in, and getting to know, team members across departments. When you do, you’ll create stronger relationships and achieve success together.

4. Lead your employees.

The last concept in being a 360-degree leader is the idea of “leading down.” In this area of leadership, you can add value and help others discover how to reach their potential. Leadership is a “people business,” and in order to lead down, you must connect with others and develop each team member as an individual.

According to John C. Maxwell, author of the New York Times’ best-seller The 360 Leader, “Becoming a 360-degree leader is within reach of anyone who possesses average or better leadership skills and is willing to work at it.” Being a great leader doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a skill that must be developed continuously.

Your influence is greater than you know, and by becoming a 360-degree leader, you will be able to make a lasting impact on everyone you encounter.