Leadership at Every Level

Leadership at every level - or 360° leadership - is a way of ensuring that everyone in the business sees themselves as influential in the achievements of the business but that they also recognise the importance of other departments and how they all work together to make the business successful.

Leadership at Every Level

Why 360 Degree Leadership Is Important

In this video we are going to question what people typically think of as leadership, a top down model with a pretty strict hierarchy. By the end of this video you will understand why it’s important to move away from that traditional model and adopt a more modern approach.

At the end you will feel keen to move forwards with this approach and you will be more confident about doing so.

In the traditional model leadership and management would generally consider themselves the most important, followed by sales perhaps, then production, or perhaps those two flip. Admin and marketing may be considered luxury departments but they contribute enormously to the success of a business as a whole.

In your workbook at the top of the first page there is an illustration of a car. I just want you to think for a moment about what the most important part of a car is? Now most people will say engine and of course that’s true. Absolutely, without an engine you are not going anywhere. Without an engine it isn’t a car.

But now, you’re in the car and you’re going down hill. What’s the most important part now, the brakes, yep. You’re going down hill and the road veers sharply to the right, now what’s the most important part?

But without an interior there’s nowhere to sit.

And without doors you can’t get in?

And without a roof, you get wet?

And without windows you can’t see where you’re going.

So, in effect every part of a car is ‘most’ important depending upon the circumstances. Now we can still call it a car if it has wheels and a body and an engine, but it might not be the most effective car for us. We all make decisions all the time about what is an effective such and such for us, an effective house for some might have fields all around for their animals to live in, or might have a bus stop or train station or supermarket within a short walk for others. An effective car for me is one I can get my daughter in and out of easily but in a few years time it might be that I decide a two-seater is more effective for me as we don’t really need two cars that can fit all of us in. In reality our assessment of what is effective changes over time but there are always certain essentials.

Business is like this. Have a think about the various departments in a typical business. There’s room in your workbook for notes here so please do make a few notes….






Can you really identify which is most important? Some may say Leadership, but without a business being brought in by sales, there is nothing to lead, without marketing there’s no sales, without production there’s nothing to sell, without admin, no one knows who’s doing what or when…

There is no one department or position that is more important than the others. At times one might be more important but then another. For example, if your sales are slumping then marketing might be the most important, but then when marketing have drummed up a lot of sales production might be the most important.

Leadership at every level - or 360 leadership - is a method of ensuring that everyone in the business sees themselves as influential in the achievements of the business but that they also recognise the importance of other departments and how they all work together as influential in the achievements of the business. Everyone feels important and everyone contributes in a meaningful way and everyone recognises others’ importance and that they contribute in a meaningful way too. That means through ideas, through commitment, through application of processes, through supporting others when required, through their own behaviour and the encouragement of others to behave in certain ways, through treatment of customers, of suppliers and supplies.

360 leadership is about how you feel within your own workplace, how you make others feel and about how your leaders, and others, view you.

John C. Maxwell says

Nothing will make a better impression on your leader than your ability to manage yourself. If your leader must continually expend energy managing you, then you will ultimately be perceived as someone who drains time and energy. If you manage yourself well, however, your boss will see you as someone who maximises opportunities and leverages personal strengths. That will make you someone your leader turns to when the heat is on.

So, you should now have had a deeper think about the people around you. What I want you to do now is pause the video again and think about it for ‘the boss’.

You see, everyone reports to someone, everyone needs to be in the 360 leadership game. But most people think leadership is hierarchical and that they don’t have to worry about leadership, or even think about it at all, unless their job title involves the word. This gets in the way of a 360 leadership culture. Lets think about some myths of leadership:

We’re going to address each of these myths in turn, as they are all myths that people use to either excuse themselves from having to put in the effort, or excuse themselves from having to take responsibility. Leadership does take effort. People always think it’s easier for other people, because they have the title, or the position, or the natural ability, or whatever. It isn’t easier for others, or it wasn’t at first. Leadership takes time and effort and many many conscious decisions to do things that you don’t necessarily want to do. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to know that you are being the best that you can be, that you are developing yourself to the greatest of your ability, that you are doing the best you can in your role at work and your role in every personal sphere of your life.

Don’t be like others and leave it to someone else because you think it’s easier for them. It isn’t, it wasn’t. They are just taking the leadership 360 culture seriously and influencing those around them positively as all leaders, indeed all people, should.

Leadership Myths

In this video we are going to examine the myths of leadership that prevent people believing in and taking part in a 360 degree leadership culture.

By the end of this video you will have an understanding of what goes on in people’s heads, as well as your own, when you talk about 360 degree leadership. You will feel able to address their concerns and your own, and so you will be more able to empathise with them and influence them to believe and act in accordance with 360 degree leadership culture. You will also be able to influence your own thoughts and behaviours and practise 360 degree leadership yourself.

What I’d like you to do now is answer the questions in your workbook on page 3 true or false:

My position within the organisation limits my ability to lead others:

The opportunity to lead will come only when I am at the top of my organisation:

My influence with others is directly related to my title:

It is ‘out of line’ to try to influence those above me, and I resent it when someone who reports to me tries to influence me:

The answer to all of those questions is FALSE. But you are answering true then it’s understandable. This is what we are sometimes conditioned to believe.

The first myth is the later myth, “When I get to the top then I’ll be able to lead, or I’ll learn to lead.” The time to lead is now. Now is the time to learn your craft, to hone your skills regarding influencing those around you positively. Leadership is tough, it takes years of practice to become an inspirational leader by default as you must be continuously aware of your effect on all those around you, including yourself, at all times. If you aren’t practising leadership behaviours now then you are not going to suddenly start once you are given a title. Practise makes permanent. Practise now and you will become an inspirational leader habitually. Also, more importantly, how on earth are you going to get that title without practising, or exhibiting, leadership behaviours every day. If you think about it in terms of sport. You don’t get to represent your country at sport by people knowing that if you were given the opportunity you would step up to the level required, you get the opportunity to represent your country because you have already stepped up to the level required. So don’t wait to be a leader, be a leader now and then you increase the chance of your being officially made a leader.

The second myth, is the influence myth: “If I were on top people would follow me.”

People who have no leadership experience tend to overestimate the importance of a leadership title. A position gives you a chance only, an opportunity to lead, but it does not make you a leader. I don’t know if any of you have ever watched the SAS: Who dares wins series on TV where civilians or celebrities go through an SAS selection process? Each day someone different is given the title of group leader. Some succeed and lead with that title, others fail miserably. Leadership isn’t in a title at all, it’s in an attitude and a set of behaviours that is fuelled by that attitude.

Building relationships with others on a team to gain influence naturally has a greater impact than possessing a title. I was watching The Selection, the US version of SAS Who Dares Wins the other night. On that programme there is a chap who stands out, number 11 he is, they have their names removed and are referred to only as numbers throughout. Interesting because this removes even our most familiar title. Number 11 stands out as a leader, as he has done from the very first episode. Most of the time he is not the group leader, most of the time he is one of the team only. However he continually exerts leadership influence on the rest of the group. He does this generally be exhibiting a positive attitude, by increasing the motivation of the people around him and by encouraging others, other who are his competitors in this TV series. Number 11 doesn’t run the show, he doesn’t decide who does what, when, what their mission is or any of the desired outcomes, but he is absolutely a leader of the group. When you step up mentally to become a leader, it doesn’t matter at all what your title is, you become a leader.

You are far more influential than you know. And you are far more influential than you belive, or even want to believe. People don’t follow you because of your title, they follow you because of your behaviours and your attitude. So, that expels the first myth of leadership, that when you are on top then you’ll be a leader.

The third myth is the inexperience myth: “When I get to the top I’ll be in control.”

Have you ever found yourself moaning, saying things like, “If I were in charge we wouldn’t be doing it this way?” There’s nothing wrong in thinking of better ways to carry out processes, or procedures that are involved in your work, but when it’s done with an underlying attitude of those at the top don’t know what they’re doing, then you’re coming at it from the wrong direction. Leadership does not give you complete control over what everyone does, or protect you from criticism. There are many factors at play in running an organisation. If you believe that you have found a better way to do your bit then make it happen, talk to those who can help advise you and put the wheels in motion to try your way.

Talk also to those who are further up the leadership ladder about running the business, about what factors are in play that influence the decisions made and processes followed in your department. Be curious. You can control what you do now, to a certain extent. You can certainly work to improve it if the outcomes for the business are favourable, but sitting around moaning without action, about the behaviours and decisions of those who know all of the factors at play is not leadership behaviour. Being at the top doesn’t suddenly give you control, being able to influence the business to be a more effective organisation does.

The fourth myth is the potential myth: “I can’t reach my potential if I’m not the top leader.” Everyone should be aiming to play their best game, not be the captain all the time. If you’re seeking the title of a leader, or the perceived control of the leader, then you don’t understand leadership yet, and you haven’t understood the first 2 myths. There is no shame in not understanding things. Rewind, give yourself time to go over them again and really think about what you have heard. Many people think they’re listening, but if I am saying something you don’t really want to hear you may well have switched off to a certain extent. The truth is that you will earn your leadership title and your control, or shall we say influence over the organisation, through behaviour and getting results, not through entitlement, not through years of service and certainly not just through the desire for a leadership position. If you are not striving to reach your potential where you are now, then how can anyone know that if suddenly promoted you would be amazing? If you’re not being the best leader you can be right now, then why should you be given any more responsibility. It’s your responsibility to prove you are a leader NOW so they know what they’re getting when they elevate you, not their responsibility to give you the chance to prove that you can be a leader later when you have the name and trappings of a leader. You can impact the business from where you are right now. You don’t have to be in first place to be influential.

The final myth is the All or Nothing Myth: “If I can’t get to the top then I won’t try and lead.”

By allowing yourself to believe in these myths, by allowing them space in your head you are removing any kind of responsibility for leadership behaviour, from your shoulders. That’s not what leaders do. Leaders step up, they shoulder responsibility, even though they know it will be onerous. They shoulder responsibility even though they know they might get it wrong sometimes, they take responsibility because they understand that they and only they can make their own future happen.

What I want you to do now that we’re at the end of this video is consider how you feel now about these myths. Ask yourself the question, ‘are you ready to step up and become a leader?’ If that little voice inside of you is still saying things like these myths inside your head then you need to watch this video again. Those myths are myths and you need to get rid of them before you can step up and be a leader.

So, I ask you again, ‘are you ready to step up and become a leader?’

The 5 Levels of Leadership

In this video we are going to examine the five levels of leadership. These are Position, Permission, Production, People Development and Personhood. That’s Position, Permission, Production, People Development and Personhood.

By the end of this video you will understand the different levels of leadership and how they affect those around you. You might identify the level you are on, or that those who lead you are on. You can consciously move up from the level you are on at he moment through the adoption of new behaviours and attitudes. So,let’s first explore the five levels of leadership.

If you are leading from position only, that is only through having the title of a leader, then people follow you, but only because they have to. Your influence will not extend beyond the lines of your job description. The longer you remain leading through position the higher the turnover of your staff and the lower your morale. We knew a chap once who had recruited over a 100 new people in a 6 month period, the head count in his business was 60. He wasn’t one of our customers, clearly, but we would very much have liked to work with him. Everything that went wrong in his business was someone else’s fault, it was because of someone’s lack of experience, lack of effort, the wrong person being in that role, if only he could do everything then all would be well. This person led through position only and the fact that people were desperate to get out of that influence told the story of his leadership.

The second level of leadership is permission. People follow you because they want to. This is where a lot of start up leaders begin. On this level of leadership people follow you because they want to and that means your level of authority extends beyond your stated sphere. This means that work can be fun, which is great, because it should be. But we need to be careful if we’re at this level of leadership because this isn’t enough. People need to see results and if you don’t start producing those results then motivated people will begin to lose their interest in you and become restless.

So the next level is production. At the production level of leadership people follow you because you have produced results. They can see that what you do gets noticed, or brings in business, that your influence is a good influence to be around. At this level of leadership the momentum is great. Problems get fixed quickly and effectively and work flows.

The fourth level of leadership is people development. People follow you because of what you have done for them. People are loyal to you and this means that long term growth is possible. Your commitment to the long term development of your people leads to their commitment to the long term growth of the business. You need to work towards being on this level and staying on it.

Great leadership has a trickle down effect. You take care of your people, your people take care of your business, your business takes care of your customers, your customers take care of your revenue. If you lead on this level then what this becomes is leadership through personhood, through who you are, what you have become and what you represent. Few people make it to this level but those who do are inspirational figures in the lives of those around them, of those who are part of their organisations.

What I want you to do now that this video is coming to an end is identify someone around you who you feel is leading from each level. I also want you to identify which level you are leading from at the moment, if you are leading that is. So take a moment, have a think and note it down in your workbook.

How to Lead up, Down and Across

In this video we’re going to look at the practical aspects of leadership at every level. We’re going to examine how to lead up, how to lead across and the more usual way of how to lead down. By the end of this video you will have an understanding of the action you can take now to have the impact you want. You will will feel more confident in taking the steps towards being the leader you want to be and you will be equipped to get the effect you want to achieve.

360 degree leaders practise and by that I mean they actively and consciously do things that lead up, lead across and lead down. People often think that leadership just happens, that some people are good leaders and some people aren’t but that’s just not true. Great leadership takes an enormous amount of effort from all those who are classed by those around them as great leaders. It’s present in the way you hold your face when someone says something you don’t agree with, the way you greet everyone even when you have had some bad personal news, the way you treat even those who have no impact on your future life. Leadership takes a lot of effort on a daily basis.

So let’s get practical. You can make notes in your workbooks on this as we go through. Let’s start with the more traditional model of leading down. How do great leaders do great leadership. Well great leaders start by acknowledging the influence they have over everyone in the business. And I don’t mean that on an arrogant level, I mean it on a real level. When you are the leader, or one of those with a leadership title in the business, then people really care how happy you are with them, how much time you give them, how you look at them, or don’t look at them, how often you listen to them, chat to them, say hello to them. People who are heading up large or small businesses tend to forget this. They tend to underestimate the impact of their actions on those around them. So the first thing to do is acknowledge that even though you might not feel as though you’re really important and influential, the fact that you are a boss means that you are. You can impact someone’s day, week, month just by not smiling at them one morning because you’re thinking about the fact you forgot to get milk, so make sure you accept that responsibility and that you make sure you are not inadvertently impacting people negatively, rathe that you are always impacting people positively. When you walk into the office it should be a good thing.

Ensure people know why they’re working this way. Having a clear vision of the business you want to be, or the affect you want to have on the world is a great way of giving everyone belief in the importance of what they do. No one just wants to turn up to a meaningless task and then go home. People like knowing what they’re contributing towards. Be clear on this consistently.

Also, see everyone’s strengths not their weaknesses. You can acknowledge their weaknesses as points to develop but in general, and as you walk round, see everyone as a 10 out of 10. This creates a challenge that people will try hard to live up to. Develop each individual as a person, not just as a commodity to your business. People are one person, not two. They don’t magically become a different person when they walk through the office door. Working on people’s whole person rather than just work skills makes your people happier, and happier people are 33% more effective, so you win anyway. It’s win - win.

Make sure you make the most of what people are good at. Capitalise on their strengths, help them get great at something they are good at. Let them show others how to be great, reward them for this so it benefits them too. Reward people for the results they bring to the business. Not just strictly financial results but anything that benefits the business. If they are great to a customer, reward it, if they go above and beyond one day reward it, if they come in early all the time reward it. People like being rewarded and I’m not just talking financially here either, I’m talking about rewarding with praise, with time off, with a chocolate treat, or a bottle of their favourite drink, or some time with you, lunch perhaps?, or working on a special project, or inclusion in an action group. There are many ways to reward people that acknowledge their contribution to the success of the business as a whole.

Be the change you want to see in the world. These words from Ghandi are so wise. If you want a great team of positive, committed, effective people who get the most from themselves, their teams and those around them, then you must behave like that too. Nothing undermines great leadership more than being a hypocrite and it’s always obvious. You cannot get away with it. So make sure you are modelling fantastic behaviours and your team will follow.

So that’s how to lead down in a nutshell: acknowledge how influential you are, see everyone as a 10, develop everyone personally, capitalise of people’s strengths, reward effectively and often and be the change you want to see in the business. Clearly there are many behaviours within those behaviours but we go into those elsewhere as it’s a whole topic in itself.

What I want you to do now is to write down 3 specific ways in which you can lead down? Write it down in your workbook. Pause the video and take a moment to think.

But how do we lead up? It’s the area that people find very tricky. How to lead the people who are supposed to be leading you. Well, you might not want to hear this but it all starts with you. To lead up, you must lead yourself exceptionally well. That is you must require little leadership effort from them. So, in turn, you are lightening your leader’s role. If they know you’re always going to be motivated and positive every single day they don’t have to worry about pumping your tires as well as their own. Or someone else’s. If you’re always on top of your to - do list then they don’t need to be. It sounds simple but some people add to their leader’s workload and some don’t. If you lead yourself exceptionally well then you won’t be the one contributing to theirs.

The next thing to do is to be willing to do what other’s won’t. It’s frustrating for a leader, and wearying, when you need a volunteer for something and no one puts their hand up. Leaders notice those who volunteer, those who are willing to have a go. You don’t always have to get it right, or be able to do it immediately, but if you stick your hand up and say, “I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing but I’ll give it a go’ you have removed something from your leader’s to do list and they will be grateful. I can tell you. If you do this, you’ll become the person they think of when they need something doing, you’ll find yourself becoming indispensable.

Whenever you are going to talk to your leader about something, or use their time in some other way, make sure you are well prepared so that you are efficient. It’s frustrating for people when there’s waffling and lack of efficiency. Have what you need, know what you ned to know, know what you want them to make a decision on, or what advice you’re looking for. Be specific. “I just want you to listen to how I think I should deal with this and give me your opinion…” rather than a meandering approach that you hope will get you their thoughts at he end. If you want it, ask for it. Tell them what you need. They want steering just as much as you do.

Say to them, come on, give me a shot! I can do it. Push a little, and you’ll see where their boundaries are. But if they’re really not into it and you have pushed and got a definite no then back off, don’t keep mentioning it, don’t hold a grudge, just et on with the rest of your role. They may well come back to you.

But it’s not just about how you help your leader. Leaders always notice those who do more, so if you are managing a team, do more than just managing their output, lead them. Do things that create a fabulous high performing standout team, not those that just get the desired results. This requires more effort from you and may need you to stick your neck out a bit and get uncomfortable but guess what, that’s what leaders do every day.

To do this you’re going to have to spend some time with your team getting to know then as individuals so you can help them be the best they can be. It doesn’t mean you have to announce this to the world and be all “I’m going to be a great leader’ you can do leadership quietly and in an unassuming manner. You can listen to people, you can ask then questions about themselves, you can gently nudge and encourage and by doing this you can help them be their best selves.

And on the note of ‘best selves’ it’s really important that you keep learning and developing yourself. Let them know you’re doing this. Ask for their feedback about where you can be better. Not continually but regularly. Again, be prepared and don’t waste their time, but a specific question such as, what one thing do you think I should spend some time getting better at, is a great question to ask your leader.

So, to lead up, you need to: lead yourself exceptionally well, lighten your leader’s load, be willing to do what other’s aren’t, do more than manage your team - lead them, be efficient when using your leader’s time, know when to push and when to back off, and keep learning.

What I want you to do now is to write down 3 specific ways in which you can lead up? Write it down in your workbook. Pause the video and take a moment to think.

We have looked at how to lead down and how to lead up but the trickiest of all leadership relationships is the one where you are leading across, leading those with whom you are on a level. Clearly, like leading up, this is a delicate relationship to manage. Most of the problem relationships which I deal with are peer to peer relationships where the power is officially equal. In this circumstance we can have a situation where egos and fears really get in the way of best practice. People want to be perceived as more influential than others and people are scared of revealing weakness to others on their level in case they are taken advantage of. In order to practise leadership across your own level you need to be willing to get over the pettiness and insecurities that we all feel inside sometimes and acknowledge that it’s better to be the bigger person.

So I am talking about things like, being a friend to everyone, give credit where credit is due, regardless of whether they do or not, and regardless of whether they once did something that showed you in a bad light, or left you in the lurch. Be the bigger person. We often find it hard to praise someone if we think that by doing so we might highlight something to a boss and win them favour that otherwise might have come to us. Again, we need to acknowledge these feelings, accept them for what they are - competitive behaviours on a par with the kind of thing a young child might do - and then act in what we know rationally is the right way, not the way our emotional brain dictates. We should look to help those around us, and if we do this then in turn we will be helped too.

I’m going to hark back to number 11 now from The Selection, the US version of the SAS programme. On the final episode number 11 was struggling with an enormous mental and physical challenge. He was with only one other team mate at this point. He laid down on the road on his backpack and said, ‘that’s it, I’m toast’. His team mate left him for a minute then walked over with his hand held out. ‘Come on buddy’, he said, ‘you have to be there at the end.’ It was an acknowledgement of the fact that number 11 was responsible for the survival of many of the others that completed that course and for him to fail wouldn’t be right. By taking the time to gee number 11 on, number 2 risked being timed out of the competition. Without number 2 number 11 would not have got back on his feet. What goes around comes around, say it however you like, but if you model great behaviours of teamwork then it will come back to support you when you need it most.

The greater the number of people you are a friend to then the greater support you will get in return, though this shouldn’t be the reason you are doing it of course. The greater the number of people you are a friend to in the business, the greater knowledge across the board you will also gain. This will enable you to make better decisions, be more creative in your approach and streamline as much as you can within the business. The wider your circle the more balanced it is. Diversity of opinions and skills is vital in a business’s success. If you access this knowledge then it’s a win-win.

In order to lead across we also need to avoid office politics. This doesn’t mean you can’t be more friendly with someone than someone else, but it does mean you shouldn’t be gossiping or moaning about anyone else in the office with them. A leader doesn’t gossip or demean others. Instead take the opportunity to build people up. If someone moans about them, say, ‘I’m surprised, they’re usually on it, I hope they’re okay.” Or if someone is saying a colleague isn’t up to their job then you can reply with something like, “have you asked if they need any support?’ Or ’I’ll talk to them and see if we can help? It’s awful when you’re struggling.’ If you respond like this every time someone tries to gossip or demean others than they will soon stop doing it. They’ll realise they can’t rely on you to be a gossip partner and it’ll make them realise that’s it’s not a nice treat in themselves.

In order to lead across well you need to be more concerned about the business winning, the best idea winning than any politics surrounding it. You’ll soon get a great name for yourself if you honestly support what is best rather than what your friend proposes. If political parties were like this we’d trust them more but they always criticise what the opposition say, no matted the logic or sound sense involved.

Finally the most important point in terms of leading across is to have humility. No one likes people who think they know it all. While the aim of 360 degree leadership isn’t necessarily to be liked by everyone, being respected by all as a person of integrity and humility as well as someone who gets results is what we’re aiming for. We need to accept that others will know more than us at times, be better than us at times and be able to see how we can be better at times. Ask those around you for feedback on how you can be better. It will help you on your path to success but it also deepens your relationship with that person as well as letting them know that you value their opinion. Asking someone for feedback on how you could be better is a very quick way of shortcutting the path to a deeper relationship and this is key to leading across. What it doesn’t mean is, “I think you’re better than me” so you don’t need to concern yourself with that. It means, you are outside of me, so can see more clearly some of the things that I could be better at. That’s all.

So to lead across you need to: be a friend to everyone and not gossip or demean our colleagues, we need to remove ourselves from office politics, let the best idea win, support those around you and reach further to widen your circle of acquaintances, we need to ask those around us for feedback in order to deepen our relationships, gain an wider perspective and exhibit humility.

So leading up, down and across is tricky to manage because we can only do it through making sure our own behaviour matches up to that we have mentioned above. The reason many people can’t practise 360 degree leadership us because it’s hard work and it means accepting responsibility for own actions and behaviours on a daily basis.

What I want you to do now is to write down 3 specific ways in which you can lead across. Pause the video and take a moment to think.

Now, as we come to the end of this video what I want you to do is think about how you can become a 360 leader in your family. Leadership exists in the home just as much as in the workplace. Hold yourself to account. Make sure you are being the person you want to be in every sphere of your life, not just where you ‘have’ to be.

So take some time now and reflect on how you can bring this knowledge to bear in your family life. Think about who you can lead up to, who lead down and who lead across. Then think about a specific way in which you can improve your leadership skills in relation to your family life. Make notes in your workbook and than go out and make it happen.

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