A good friend said to me recently, ”I wish I loved to read like you do.” I responded, “I don’t really love to read. I just don’t want to be dumb!” As a leader, I can’t afford to be! Too much is at stake, and too many people rely on my leadership! John Maxwell is known for saying, “Leaders are readers.” Here is why reading is important for every leader.
1. Because YOU cannot have all the best ideas.
Good ideas are fine, but the best ideas are best. Trusting yourself to come up with the best ideas every time is foolish. I usually get my best ideas from other people. Sometimes those people are on my leadership team or volunteers in the church that I lead. However, often those great ideas are just waiting to be found in a book.
2. Because the baton of “thought leadership” changes hands.
Steve Jobs is gone, but Jeff Bezos is still alive. Peter Drucker is gone, but John Maxwell is still alive. “Thought leaders” change from time to time, as does thought. Management theory is not the same now as in the 1940s. The fact remains that leaders will get better when they think better thoughts. Numerous authors have become my greatest mentors and friends, helping me achieve the success that I have dreamed of, although we have never officially met. Some of them died years ago, but I am just now discovering their thoughts through the books that I read.
3. Because most people do not read.
The simple act of consistent reading keeps you ahead of the game. Many college graduates never pick up another book after getting their diploma. Good leaders are always looking for an effective edge, a new strategy, a new concept, a new idea. The fact that most people are not readers gives a special opportunity and edge for those who are.
4. Because learning lasts a lifetime.
As we get older, our tendency is to stop learning and growing. Too often we think we have learned all we need to know, and that we are experts. But regardless of our vocation, the world is changing so quickly, our thinking can become obsolete. Also, as we get older, we are walking in new territory simply because of the season of life that we are in. Learning how to let our kids go as we become empty nesters is a much different journey than taking our children to elementary school for the first time.
5. Many books and articles will help you avoid the mistake you are about to make.
On many occasions, I have read exactly what I needed to help me avoid some pitfall in ministry, leadership, or family life. For these reasons, all effective leaders are readers. What book have you read lately? For me, last week I finished the book, “When Your Father Dies – How a Man Deals With the Loss of His Father” by Dave Veerman and Bruce Barton. Please comment below a great book that you have read lately.