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The 360 Degree Leadership Assessment: It’s Time to Ask the Hard Questions

We’re often asked: What key components make a 360 degree leader possible? One of the bedrock facets that help a leader find the hidden blind spots that need improvements are The John Maxwell Company 360 Degree Leadership Assessments that evaluate communication and leadership skills from every point of the compass.


Think about the value of assessments in other areas of our lives. We request a home inspection before purchasing a house. We research the strengths/weaknesses of a car before making to final decision to buy. Assessments provide insight on an asset and how we can leverage it in a way that aligns with its strengths.


Assessments uncover strengths, and weaknesses, to clearly identify the goals for improvement at the beginning of any initiative and then provide a baseline to benchmark the improvements. They shine a light on potential pitfalls, illuminate a plan to address them, and drive the effort to intentionally focus on strengths. It’s how we can become more desirable employees, co-workers and leaders.


What makes a good assessment?

The key is to be systematic. You need to make an honest assessment of yourself, and you need to gain feedback from an accurate cross-section of people that are at different levels of influence in relation to you. This can include peers, direct reports, supervisors, as well as friends and family to deliver a greater overall picture of strengths and weaknesses.

To seek and be actionably open to both your own self-analysis, as well as feedback from all of these other constituencies, you must have three items as part of your attitude and approach:

  1. Confidence in yourself, while acknowledging room for growth—This is foundational to performing a self assessment honestly and keeping an eyes-open approach to the gaps discovered in your leadership, influence and communication skills.

  2. Appreciation and respect for the people that are asked to provide feedback—Respect for those at every level of hierarchy is critical to the ability to constructively receive their feedback.

  3. An intentional attitude in asking for not only for participation in the assessment, but in giving permission for assessment invitees to share freely—It’s understandably hard to share negative feedback about a person who is a positional authority, so the permission must be clear and direct. Participants must have this freedom if you are to receive the most realistic picture of your current leadership and relational skills.



Applying the results from the assessment

So what do you do with the feedback you receive? You want to make the same intentional effort in applying discoveries in a 360-degree manner. Leadership skills refinement may take different forms, and you should take the time to think it through. What will improving a weakness look like when interacting with others, whether it’s someone that works alongside you or reports to you? How will you apply lessons when you report to someone else? The answers to these questions are what make meaningful change happen.

As you start to make these changes, a follow-up assessment will help clarify the success you’ve had in modifying your leadership style, and how you both influence and communicate horizontally and vertically with those around you. Then, you take the lessons learned from that assessment and keep refining and improving as you grow.

There is no better time than now to assess just how effective you are as a leader. This Week, The John Maxwell Company is kicking off our annual executive leadership program, Executive Circle, to connect top executives with personal one-on-one coaching from corporate legends such as Allan Mulally, Carly Fiorina, Bob Hammer and Kimberly Inskeep. The goal is to provide these executives with the tools to identify challenges and opportunities faced as a leader and ensure that participants leave the program with an even stronger ability to lead and influence those around them. You can be sure that The John Maxwell Company 360 Assessments will be an integral part of this program.

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