Shaping Leaders: 180° Leader vs. 360° Leader

The leadership issue has become a very fashionable subject, a  sort of trend. Fortunately, everyone discusses it and encourages it within organizations. It’s something good.

This contribution of mine is just another (in and out) vision of all thinking minds about the subject.

Readers may be curious about why have we decided to use the expression “Shaping Leaders”. In portuguese, shaping means moulding, to create a mould but in english it is much more than that: it is action, postive influence, motivation and it aggregates and combines a number of meanings that really make sense and give the word a lot more meaning. That’s what we’re discussing here: continuous motivation, thinking, acting and of positively influencing the action of people who surround us. 

Influencing people in a positive way implies ethics, conscience, attitude and knowing exactly that their influence provides possibilities and does not castrate the actions. To influence the people you manage, coordinate or simply with whom you coexist is to establish a high rapport with them. In order to influence them you also have to be genuinely interested – each person has his own unique character. You must be willing to build things together. The opposite of this will be manipulation – guess we’ve all experienced that at some stage…besides, it’s not supposed to be mentioned in this article.

Influencing people in the “VUCA World” in which we live (In Portuguese, VICA  stands for: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) means that the influencer, either a director, manager, coach, consultant or each one of us in our jobs, must be flexible. How do we work this flexibility?

This takes me back to the issue of the 180° Leader, a name I use for leadership programs which are highly empowering to personal change of the leader. I name it 180° because before you turn and have a 360° vision of yourself and your organization, you must look inward, to your visions, missions and ambitions. A leader who is purely externalising, however human and conciliatory, will always have aspects in which he will fail, precisely because of the lack of introspection and reflection. It is fundamental that a leader stops once in a while. Stops, to think about decisions,  teams actions, which paths to follow. This is the 180° Leader, the one who cares for you, for your well-being, it is known that the individual welfare will necessarily be the same as the team’s welfare. The 180° Leader lives his personal development and work in order to ensure stability and emotional stability in the team. A 180° Leader is the person who knows how to reconcile professional and family life.

When I mention Leader (I refer to both genders – male and female leader). We know that our language uses the universal masculine leadership but the feminine leadership knows by heart what it’s like to be a 180º leader.

Having gone through 180° reflection let’s move on to 360° Leadership, a leadership focused on others, on the global, on the development of the organization and people, on social responsibility, on customers (foreign and national) as well as on suppliers and all the other actors that surround the organization and the leader.

The 360º leadership has the same deep challenges as the 180º, nevertheless they are far more diverse and scattered. A 360º leadership is mostly lateral. According to  John Maxwell, it is the mastery of the intangible, of relationships and interconnections within the organization. It is about facilitating leadership processes for the people you manage, also turning them to 180° and 360° leaders.

Does this sound very abstract and difficult to achieve? I don’t think so. It is relatively easy to identify the differences and, in doing so, manage to enhance development. After all the many experiences I have had over the years, I will share with you two ways of looking at leadership I consider will be materialized.

In the past, while working in one of the biggest training groups of Portugal, I collaborated  with an exemplary 180° and 360° Leader. This person had the particularity of being able to reconcile interests, professional and personal relationships, and had the necessary rapport to manage and influence teams proactively. Being such a leader, led teams of other leaders, only because others had noticed and recognized this leader’s actions and  work.

In another organization where I was an advisor/consultant, the leader was a brilliant strategist with huge gaps of humanism and positive influence. If on the one hand never left teams in the void, on the other hand would do that to individuals.

The concrete strategy was of an absolute commitment. It strengthened the organization, it neglected the people. It was between 180° and 360° without being either of them.

Here I go back to the concept of “shaping leaders”: this intangibility of relationships and how influence can be able to shape conscious, participatory and present leaders. These are the required leaders, they are urgently needed  in organizations. Be a 180° and 360° Leader. We all need you.

PUBLISHED: LÍDER MAGAZINE | Ideas which look into the future. July, 17th 2019

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