Perform a simple search for “leadership” on Google Books, and you will find 42,500,000 results in 0.32 seconds (good job Google). Search for Servant Leadership and find 253,000. Search for “disruptive leadership,” and you will find 98,900. The point is, leaders have been passing down nuggets of wisdom for centuries. They provide unique experiences, tips, anecdotal stories, and perspectives that worked in their situation.
The key takeaway here is that leaders must be lifelong learners. Going back to early philosophers, they must be seekers of wisdom. If you are like me, you probably have your favorites. Personally, I find myself drawn to authors like Patrick Lencioni, Andy Stanley, and Craig Groeschel. They seem to write just for me. Or perhaps, their positions on leadership serve to confirm my own biases as a leader. We are probably not doing ourselves any favors by sticking to our favorites. While it is awesome to find leaders whose concepts are comfortable, it can be revolutionary to your leadership when you embrace the thoughts of leaders that aren’t in the “go to” library.
Don’t get me wrong. Not every book is going to change your life. In fact, some may be a waste of time you can never get back. I usually find there are small takeaways even in those “waste of time” books that provide fodder for later discussion or contemplation. Even a one-line takeaway might contribute to something you do in a meaningful way.
5 Steps to making your reading count
1. Commit to a time and place – Consistency is essential to your success. Know yourself and what works for you. Early riser? Before bed? Don’t force an activity that won’t be sustainable because it doesn’t fit who you are.
2. Journal - Take notes and recap your reading frequently. It is highly effective to jot down things that jump out at you while you are reading. Journaling frequently will help to cement your thinking about a point the author makes.
3. Mix it up - Don’t be afraid of choosing a media that works for you. Today we can use paper books, eBooks, or audiobooks. We can even mix it up depending on what we are reading. I find I take better notes with audio books than I do with paper books. It is more like taking notes during a lecture.
4. Review-Journal as you go, but revisit your journaling from time-to-time and at the completion of the book.
5. Talk about it - Engage with others about your reading. You don’t have to create a formal book club; however, I have some of my most engaging discussions when talking about readings with my peers.
READ, WRITE, REVIEW, REPEAT…