12 Attributes, Values, and Skills of a 360-degree Leader

Posted by Todd Smith

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Years ago, I attended a leadership conference and heard Bill Hybels give an inspiring presentation. His words still resonate with me today. When we think of leadership, we normally think of guiding people who fall under our area of responsibility. The concept of 360-degree leadership takes it a step further.

A 360-degree leader is someone who guides and influences their immediate team members and becomes so respected and admired that they have influence with everyone in the organization. These “out of the box” leaders are the most valuable leaders in the marketplace because their contribution to an organization goes beyond their area of personal responsibility.

Let me share with you 12 of the attributes, values, and skills that comprise a 360-degree leader.

Never Allow Anyone to Question Your Integrity—True 360-degree leaders are those whose character is NEVER questioned. NEVER means NEVER EVER!

Do Your Job With Excellence—In my lesson, Becoming a Respected Leader, I suggested that respect comes as a result of taking pride in your work and striving for excellence in all that you do. Adopt the following personal philosophy: “If my name is going to be attached to something, it will be accomplished to the absolute best of my ability.”

Don’t Say You’re a Team Player; Be One—If you are not viewed as a true team player, you will never be a 360-degree leader. Selfishness speaks loudly and defeats any possibility of being recognized as a leader.

Do What is Expected of You—This means returning all calls, texts, and phone calls in a timely manner. It means being on time and prepared for all appointments and finishing ALL projects and tasks on time.

Show Respect to Everyone in Meetings—It goes without saying that demonstrating respect for people in all circumstances is critical if you want to be viewed as someone likable and valued. But it is especially relevant in a business setting. For instance, if you start a side conversation in a meeting or consistently interrupt someone, not only will this person lose respect for you, but it’s also likely you will be viewed poorly by everyone in the room.

Don’t Complain Without Making an Effort to Improve Things—If you feel the need to complain about something, make sure you are prepared to present a well-thought-out solution. And even then, be careful about how you position your complaint. 360-degree leaders are problem-solvers, not complainers.

Try to Understand the Other Person’s Point of View—If you will master the 10 Ways to Be a Better Listener and show people that their opinions are valued and appreciated, their respect for you will grow. No one likes a know-it-all.

Look For Opportunities to Stand Out—If someone is running behind on an important project, volunteer to help him or her out. If there is a problem with something, volunteer to get to the bottom of it. Be willing to come in early, stay late, and work on a weekend if something needs to get done. Look for things you can do to get noticed for going above and beyond your normal responsibilities.

Volunteer to Lead—If a project needs spearheading, be the first to volunteer. The more you do to step into a leadership role, the more likely it is that you will be viewed as one who leads. And ultimately, you’ll have the ability to impact decisions and influence others.

Build a Great Team—The brand of the people under your leadership affects your personal brand. If you want to be respected as a 360-degree leader, then lead by example and build a great team of people who individually strive for excellence. Great leaders challenge people to perform at higher levels than they normally would without the benefit of the leader.

Maintain a Positive Attitude—Let’s face it: we all like to be around people who have a positive attitude. It’s easy to have this outlook when things are going well. But it’s the people who can maintain a positive attitude during stressful times or when handling negative situations that are the ones who are admired most.

Focus on Your Goal—If you want to be a 360-degree leader, then you must be intentional about building meaningful relationships with the people who have influence in your work environment. The more these people like and trust you, the more they will be drawn to you.

When you incorporate these strategies and the other little things highlighted in my daily blog posts, people’s respect for you will grow. As this happens you will not only have influence with those under your leadership, but you will have influence with everyone who knows your name. You will then become a 360-degree leader!

I want to encourage you to become a student of leadership. Read all you can about the subject. If you are an auditory learner, listen to CDs and podcasts. I also recommend a subscription to Success Magazine. Each month, you will receive the magazine along with a CD recording of interviews with some of the most influential leaders in their fields.

People follow those they respect and admire regardless of their title or position.

About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.

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