How Writing Makes You a Better Leader
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Reading: Your Leadership Superpower

Reading is a true leadership skill. It expands your vocabulary and opens your mind to different perspectives and new ways of making sense of the world around you. These are the qualities of a great leader.

As motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, reading is essential for those who want to rise above the ordinary. It’s a life skill that helps you develop your critical thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence. It also improves your ability to focus, understand, and absorb information. In short: developing your reading habit will make you a better communicator and a more effective leader.

How To Become A Better Reader

Set a reading goal 

Is there one particular book you want to finish reading from cover to cover? Do you have a certain author or genre that you want to explore more deeply? Are you setting yourself a challenge on the number of books you want to read within a certain period? Or perhaps there is a particular subject you want to gain expertise in? Which reading goal fits into your role as a leader or will help you achieve a particular goal?

Reflect on these questions and write down your own reading goal.

Create a personal reading list

What are the books on your reading bucket list? Which specific topics are you particularly interested in? What about the writers or books tips you have been recommended? Which books inspire you or would help you develop your leadership style?

List the first 3 books you want to read:

Commit to a regular reading routine

As a leader, setting aside time to maintain a regular reading habit is a challenging commitment. Make it easier for yourself by breaking it down into realistic goals. For instance,setting your reading goal in minutes or in page numbers. Also, think about how you will get back on track when life gets in the way or your motivation wanes.

Track what you read

Wouldn’t it be great to one day look back and see how far you have come on your reading journey? Which novels or leadership books have you finished reading? What are you currently reading, and what else is still on your list? There are many ways you can track this, from updating a good old-fashioned notepad, or spreadsheet, to subscribing to a reading app like Goodreads or Scribd where you can create your own digital library.

Keep a reading journal

To achieve the full benefit of reading, allow yourself time to reflect and absorb the content. Keeping a reading journal will help you do that, either in bullet points or in a brief paragraph. Was there something you found interesting or inspiring? Which concepts did you disagree with? Did you learn anything that you can apply in your daily life? Keep your journal in a physical notebook or create your entries in a digital journal app like, for instance, DayBook.

Discuss your current reading

Another way to draw more insights from your reading is to discuss the topic with a variety of people who share your views or challenge them. Such discussions allow you to present your ideas, test your thinking and open your eyes to new ways of looking at things. This is the premise of the traditional book club, but you can also discuss and share your ideas with others in a less structured setting.

Who in your circle of contacts could be a good discussion partner for your reading?

If you prefer to join a book club, a search on Meetup, Facebook or online will bring up some interesting opportunities. Which one will you join?

Read for pleasure

Think of reading as an adventure which is opening your heart and mind to a wider world of ideas and possibilities. Don’t think of it as a chore. Use your reading time to explore, experiment, and enjoy.

PRO TIP: How to nurture a reading habit

In Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast with best-selling leadership author Jim Collins, tells Brene about how he manages his productivity. He looks specifically at what he calls his creative hours. That’s the time he spends on value-adding, leadership opportunities and deep work. His personal commitment is to complete at least 1000 creative hours within a period of 365 days and he tracks his time meticulously to ensure that he stays on course. This is a great approach to managing any goal, because taking a long-term view like this gives us the flexibility to manage the ebb and flow of our motivation and our available time. 

How will you make time to develop your reading as a leadership skill?

You can listen to the full 2-hour podcast here.

Further Reading 

University of the People: The Importance Of Reading 

Michael Hyatt: 5 Ways Reading Makes You a Better Leader 

Scribd: What Reading Does For The Mind – Anne E. Cunningham | PDF

 The Next Big Idea Book Club

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