As a brand new 2nd Lieutenant assigned to a new organization, I faced the challenge of leading from the middle.
Of course, I felt overwhelmed and intimidated as a new leader. So how did I navigate the turbulent waters of leading from the middle?
By making mistakes and learning from them. The journey would have been easier if I would have had a guide…
Leadership can happen anywhere, at any time (Kouzes & Posner, 2007, p. 9).
Thousands of books have been written on the topic of leadership and numerous theories have been developed and debated. While most individuals can describe a leader, leadership remains an elusive phenomenon to understand and develop (Clawson, 2009).
According to Northouse (2009), there are over 100 different definitions of leadership contained in leadership literature however; the majority of individuals recognize the actions of effective leaders.
Ninety-nine percent of all leadership occurs not from the top but from the middle of the organization” (Maxwell, 2005, p. 1).
While a majority of leadership books are written from the perspective of the leader at the top of the organization, the premise of The 360° Leader is leadership from the middle of an organization. Maxwell poses the question, where is the best place from which to lead?
Maxwell’s journey through the minefield of mid-level leadership is ripe with simple yet thought-provoking insight. His subtle approach to the myths of leading from the middle dispels common misconceptions, while the section on the challenges 360° leaders face validates the emotions and frustration of mid-level leaders.
Just when you think you have arrived at the end of the journey by validating the value of 360° Leaders, Maxwell starts the reader on a new path to develop other leaders in the organization by creating an environment that unleashes 360° Leaders.
In my next post I will discuss “The Myths of Leading from the Middle” and how dispelling those myths can change the way you lead.