Section 5 of the book discusses leading down. This is where my interactions with students come into context. The very first principle in this section is “Walk Slowly Through The Halls”. As teacher-leader, how in the world can you get to know your students if you never leave your classroom? Great relationships are the key to great teaching. Our administrators constantly tell us to “stand outside your door between classes.” If teachers are being excellent (refer to section 2) that should not have to be said. Teacher-leaders need to learn who their student are outside the context of a single classroom.
Also in that section, Mr. Maxwell says we need to “Model The Behavior You Desire.” Whether you are a teacher, parent, or account executive, that is great advice. No one will follow someone who says one thing and then does the opposite. Our actions speak much louder than our words and this is especially true in education when students are watching what do and learning from our actions. They are not only learning our content, they are learning how to interact with people through their interactions with us.
Finally, Maxwell is explicit in the way 360-Degree Leaders are valuable. This part of the book was the most redundant for me. I felt like it was a summary of the rest of the book, or maybe it is just common sense. The main point here is that leaders are needed at every level of every organization. Experience at one level of generally leadership prepares us for leadership at the next level. In fact, the opposite should also be true: if you cannot lead at a lower level, why should you be trusted to move to the next level? He points out that every organization needs the qualities that 360-Degree leaders possess.
The take-away idea from this entire book is the concept of teamwork. People who want to see an organization or idea succeed will put the needs, wants and desires of others above their own. We certainly need more of those kinds of people in education. Without them, we will never see any change. We will keep stagnating in an out-dated system of educating our youth instead of moving forward toward returning as a world leader in education. Everyday I need to ask myself, what can I do to support the mission of my school, my leader, and my colleagues? That will drive my decisions.