Have you ever heard a statement or read an advertisement or listened to someone speak and think that you got the point pretty solidly, only to realize you had it all wrong? I recently had this experience with an old leadership adage. Have you ever heard the saying leaders are readers? Well at face value it sounds like to be a good leader, one has to read a lot of books. And that’s exactly what I had always thought.
Leaders read books.
Leaders are readers of books on leadership. Leaders will be learners. A good leader will spend time growing their own leadership. That happens by reading and watching other leaders who are ahead of where they are. But there’s more to it than just picking up a good leadership book. Leaders are readers definitely means that we read but not just books.
Leaders read their environment.
Some people are hyper aware of their environments. They walk into a room and know everything about that room. This is something leaders need to be able to do as well. Maybe not know where all of the exits are and who in the room is the most likely to cause trouble or be supportive, but aware of the setting. When you walk into a room as a leader you need to be able to take the temperature in the room. How are people feeling? What are their fears? What do they want?
Leaders read potential.
One more area that leaders must be attentive to is potential. As leaders, we need to see not only where people are in their current position in life but where they could go. Do you see the potential in people? Can you see the gifts and skills others bring to the table? When you lead those around you, are you aware of those who are where you need to be?
A good leader will be able to read the situation and the people around them to better navigate the challenges and opportunities they face daily.
- So what are you reading right now?
- Whats the best leadership book you’ve ever read?
- What the greatest lesson you’ve learned from the people around you?
- What can you learn from the environment in which you lead?
Take a minute to think about these questions and share what you’ve learned so we can learn (read) from you!