Leaders are Readers
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
~Harry S. Truman
Were you, like me, a kid who did not like to read? I never enjoyed sitting down long enough to get into reading. Most people in our industry can have a negative reaction to reading. “We are too busy to read a book,” or “If I’m not moving, I’m sleeping!” or the usual blank stare when I refer a good book. But what if I told you if you make time to read, your team will have less drama, more productive work days AND you would have more time to do the things you need to do? Interested?
Books provide wisdom and new ways of thinking and doing that I just don’t have time to access in my day-to-day work cycle. I’ve gotten ideas for solutions to the problems in my little world by listening to what others are doing. I’ve used these ideas to make my life better/easier and to add value to my world. I’ve learned how to motivate people, build teams and create an aspirational vision for my staff because of the books I’ve read/listened to. The great part, I got smarter by driving my truck! I listen to stories, lessons and ideas from my own industry and others’. It is simple to do.
According to some experts, listening to audiobooks in your area of interest will provide you with information equivalent to a college degree. Do you like working smarter, not harder? Of course, you do! I have listened to some books more than once. Maybe I got twice as smart, maybe not, but I did realize that with listening more than once to the same book, I always discover something new that I may have forgotten or just did not hear the first time.
A couple of years ago I carried many of our staff to the local library to look at their audio book collection. Some got free library cards that day – some checked out audio books and a few still do. I can tell the ones that are listening to books. Leaders are readers. When they speak, they are drawing from a deeper well of knowledge; they have taken greater responsibility and ownership at work and in their lives at home. I have seen a positive change in our culture. Discussions are deeper, solutions are more plentiful and understanding is more the norm.
If you would have told me seven years ago that reading would change our staff in such a positive way, I suppose I would have agreed, but not truly understood the difference it can make in a team environment.
Leaders are readers. Read! It is what leaders do!