Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase before… “Leaders are readers.” Cheesy? Perhaps. But I believe it to be absolutely true. Reading leads to knowledge, can challenge your way of thinking and expose you to a wellspring of ideas.
Bottom line: for a society that is changing faster and faster each day, it’s critical that leaders are reading.
If you’re not learning on a regular basis, the rest of the world will move on without you… rendering your business, organization or ministry ineffective and irrelevant. You may squeeze by without reading and “doing what you’ve always done,” but you sure won’t be making the impact that you could make.
So… you know to read and read and read. But then what? How do you apply what you’ve learned?
I asked JE and Lance, two of the best leaders out there, to offer some practical ideas on putting to practice things that they learn. In a nutshell, here’s what they said:
- Apply it… Directly (if you can) or “theoretically.” If you’re not in a position currently to apply what you’re learning, develop a hypothetical situation in your mind and apply it there. Never know when that situation might arise in the future.
- Outline and highlight it… You can even do this with most e-readers! This serves as a great reference tool when different leadership situations crop up.
- Write it down… If you read something that really sticks out to you, write it down on a sticky note and post it in a conspicuous place!
- Find places to talk about it… Nothing helps you remember something better than teaching or sharing that information you’ve learned. Talk about it with your co-workers and friends!
((My one practical idea…err plug…: get an eReader or an iPad! The books are typically cheaper, it’s lightweight and it’s all there — at your fingertips!))
Two more nuggets of wisdom I learned from those conversations:
- “Leadership is not a destination but a journey. I want to learn something new every day and then find a way to implement it.” – Lance
- “The difference between school and the real world is that there isn’t a test at the end of the semester… and nobody cares what you did or didn’t read….so that is what makes it a discipline and what makes you have to figure out what will work for YOU.”
If you’re looking for a good place to start, I’d personally recommend John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. This one’s a comprehensive book with essential leadership qualities, practical steps and great anecdotes!
What other books have helped to shape you as a leader? Leadership or not?