Real leadership is easily observable. Strong leaders have a way of inspiring the people around them in a sense that makes them want to follow. That’s leadership in its purest form, right? A leader has followers. If you are leading and no one else is following then you are simply taking a walk. I digress.
The best of leaders have a commanding presence and a group of people that seek to follow or learn from them. They probably seem pretty well put together from the outside looking in. But behind the flashing lights and the smoke machine is some dedication, determination, and hard work. Leaders take personal and spiritual development very seriously. They are committed to it and are determined to make it a priority.
Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
The best of leaders have many great habits—one of these habits is reading. Reading is a means of helping a leader develop and improve. A leader who reads is one who recognizes that they need to sharpen their minds and build off of what they know. It is important for the leader to continue his or her own development in order to stay relevant. In full disclosure, I do not mean that leaders need to be trendy or know the latest slang—but I do see a constantly changing society and young people with new ideas, beliefs, obstacles, and attitudes. If a leader is to reach younger individuals then learning about their culture is a requirement.
Learning is essential for the leader.
Here are but a few reasons that leaders should read:
Reading can lift us up out of our current situations and provide us with fresh inspiration. We can identify meaningful ideas and strategies from others. It can also help us see the greater picture and not just what lies before us.
Authors of books can generally be considered experts in their area. They typically have some type of background of knowledge and speak from a place of personal experience. Their experiences are valuable to us because we can learn from them. Why muddle through life making a myriad of mistakes when you can learn from the experiences of others? We can build off of the knowledge provided by these experts.
3) Mental Getaway
If anything, reading is a healthy way to escape from the demands of life for a short while. Reading has a way of challenging our imagination in ways that “Netflix & chill”-ing cannot do. We set the stage and picture the stories in our own minds.
Leaders come across obstacle after obstacle. We need to be building a bank full of strategies that we can draw upon when these situations arise. Further, when you work with people (which most of us do being in ministry), you often need to have some answers for them. Or at the very least know where to point them in the right direction. Life has many developmental struggles (i.e. finances, relationship issues, career stress, etc.) but then there are other unique situations (i.e. sexual identity, grief, self-harm, etc.) that call for some higher-level knowledge or expertise. Let’s be a resource when those situations arise. Or at least know the right direction to point them.