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The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization Hardcover – January 8, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this latest treatise, leadership mega-guru Maxwell (The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership) taps a rich vein of corporate angst: the plight of the middle manager, saddled with responsibilities but lacking real power, torn by conflicting tasks and time-management dilemmas, seething with thwarted ambition. As Macbeth shows, it's a predicament fraught with tragic potential, but the staid, platitudinous treatment given it by Maxwell and ghostwriter Charlie Wetzel drains away the drama. They generally counsel acceptance of limitations. Maxwell tells middle managers to work diligently in subordinate positions, support the CEO's vision, find the good in incompetent or malevolent leaders, infiltrate their bosses' emotional lives ("Listen to your leader's heartbeat.... What makes them laugh?... Cry?.... Sing?") and "stand up for your leader whenever you can." They can thus exert an unsung but crucial "influence" over higherups, while themselves practicing a higher, sublimated form of leadership by selflessly nurturing the potential of their own colleagues and underlings. Unfortunately, Maxwell's practical advice boils down to vague truisms ("when you find a problem, provide a solution") or clichés ("If your boss is a golfer, you may want to take up the game"). His bland injunctions to resignation, patience and self-effacement are unobjectionable, but also uninspiring. (Jan. 10)
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About the Author

John C. Maxwell, the #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach, and speaker who has sold 25 million books, is called America’s #1 leadership authority. In 2014, Maxwell received the Mother Teresa Prize for Global Peace and Leadership from the Luminary Leadership Network, and was named the world’s most influential leadership expert by Inc. and Business Insider. His organizations—The John Maxwell Company, The John Maxwell Team, and EQUIP—have trained more than 5 million leaders in 188 countries. For more information visit


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (January 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785260927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785260929
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach, and author who has sold over 19 million books. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and the John Maxwell Company, organizations that have trained more than 5 million leaders worldwide. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and organizations as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and the United Nations. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell has written three books which have each sold more than one million copies: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. You can find him at and follow him at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have read and then reviewed most of Maxwell's previously published books which offer solid content, if not head-snapping revelations. For The 360º Leader, he has selected an important but neglected business subject: the middle manager who has far more responsibility than authority, who struggles to earn respect from her or his peers while accommodating the needs and interests of superiors, and who frequently feels overworked and under appreciated. That situation is even worse when reporting to the kind of pedant whom Jean Lipman-Blumen describes in The Allure of Toxic Leaders. As usual, Maxwell has organized his material with almost mechanical precision: a separate chapter devoted to each of seven "Myths" in Section I, to each of seven "Challenges" in Section II, to each of seven "Lead-Up Principles" in Section III, to each of seven "Lead-Across Principles" in Section get the idea. Perhaps because of Covey's influence, seven remains a favorite number to Maxwell and to other authors of business books.

I do not assert that Maxwell has a "cookie cutter" mentality. Rather, to suggest that he demonstrates in this book far greater facility with bromides than he does with insights. He is a conscientious recycler of ideas, especially those expressed in his earlier books. I found much in The 360º Leader that is clever but very little that is original. I appreciate the "Review" at the conclusion of each of the five sections. I regret that he merely lists the seven whatevers without annotations which would have made a periodic review of key points more rewarding.

With regard to this book's title, I think it has far greater potentiality than what Maxwell offers.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I do not share the somewhat down reviews of this book, and give it five stars to make that point. Instead of seeing this book as uninspired, I actually see it as reflective, and helpful in showing that we often overlook some of our most potential contributions.

Above all, the book stresses relationships and the nurturing of relationships up, down, sideways, all over. For this alone it is meritorious. The book also concludes with a comparison of the industrial era leaders versus the new leaders who take risks, serve others, nurture outsiders, etcetera.

My appreciation of this book is influenced by my interview of Alvin Toffler last night at the Lowes hotel in Beverly Hills. The new book that he and Heidi Toffler have coming out, on "Revolutionary Wealth," has many important insights but among those he summarized for me last night were three that help show the value of this book:

1) Sub-state and non-governmental organizations have been as important if not more important than national governments. How we study them, interact with them, nurture our relations with them, will have a lot to do with how promising a future we build.

2) The industrial era corporations and government bureaucracies are broken beyond repair. Entirely new network and localized alternative organizations are emerging or needed, that take a task force approach that fully integrates what have up to now been confrontational forces (e.g. Defense versus State).

3) Decision making is broken also. The scientific method is repressed and under-funded, while decisions are made based on shared assumptions, comfort levels, and consensus, regardless of what the facts are.

This excellent book is on a level with the Tofflers, and in my own view, is a fine primer for middle managers that would like to avoid becoming yes men drones under the dinosaurs, and instead break out to find new paths to moral capitalist success.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Lee Biles on January 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
John Maxwell hits another home run. If you are a Maxwell addict like me you will enjoy this book. I have almost read every book Maxwell has put out. And if you are anything like me you finish each of his books with things you can implement immediately and something's you know your leaders do wrong and get ants in your pants trying to find a way to help them be a better leader. As you may have read in "Developing The Leader Within You" or in "Developing The Leaders Around You" you know there is some discomfort in having a leader above you with less potential than you have grown to be. This book helps you find a way to shake some of those ants out. This is the how to guide to implementing these two books with some new good stuff for "leading-up." He continues in the format you have come accustomed to. It has many sub-sections to each chapter; this makes the book easy to squeeze in to your busy schedule a paragraph at a time. My only distaste of this book was the section reviews. I did not find them much help. Most of the review sections are the same as the table of contents (granted Maxwell's books have great TOC's) and a quick commercial, reminder, for the website The website required a lot personal information just to create a profile. (Password is in the jacket, so if you buy it used make sure this is still included. The survey was valuable.

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Athey on January 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The 360° Leader is a very easy to follow and enjoyable book to read. Dr. Maxwell writes in a very personable style using real life stories, analogies, and numerous quotes to provide the reader with great advice on leading from not only the top, but also from the middle and from the bottom of an organization. I was initially drawn to this book due to my interest in 360° performance appraisals; looking for ideas on how to better write them. However, not only did I gain a better understanding of what to look for in writing appraisals, I also now feel I have a better understanding of what I need to be doing to get great 360° performance appraisals myself. The best part of the book is that each section includes either suggestions for leaders or questions leaders should be asking themselves. Dr. Maxwell then provides a step-by-step process for each of the books leadership principles that any leader can immediately use. Many of the suggested steps use real world examples that I could easily relate to; which I plan on using in my own organization.
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