I am not sure where I first heard the phrase “leaders are readers,” but the idea resonates with me more and more. As fellow educators, my instinct tells me that we all agree with this in principle, but showing it in practice can quickly become one of those forgotten resolutions of 2013.
Today’s post is simple and straightforward and so I hope you take some time to reflect on it. One of the personal goals I set for myself for this year is to read multiple books in a variety of categories: education, leadership, personal growth, biographies, and fun stuff. And everyone needs a “fun stuff” category. For me, it is represented by books such as the Hobbit – you know, there are some days that living in the Shire growing my garden and sitting on my porch really sound inviting to me.
As educators, much is competing for our time and amidst the chaos, it is critical that we engage with ideas outside our own to cause us to ponder, question, and view things in ways that push the envelope of our own thinking. Reading thrusts me forward even when I am uncomfortable with wanting to be moved in the first place. But it opens new lands of thought and action for me and that I do need. The beloved Dr. Seuss said it well: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
And so the prodding today comes from Dr. Al Mohler in his book The Conviction to Lead.
As a general rule, clichés are to be avoided. The statement that leaders are readers is an exception to that rule. When you find a leader, you have found a reader. The reason for this is simple–there is no substitute for effective reading when it comes to developing and maintaining the intelligence necessary to lead…Leadership requires a constant flow of intelligence, ideas, and information. There is no way to gain the basics of leadership without reading.
Leading by conviction demands an even deeper commitment to reading and the mental disciplines that effective reading establishes. Why? Because convictions require continual mental activity. The leader is constantly analyzing, considering, defining, and confirming the convictions that will rule his leadership…
Leaders know that reading is essential, as it is the most important means of developing and deepening understanding. That is why leaders learn to set aside a significant amount of time for reading. We simply cannot lead without a constant flow of intellectual activity in our minds, and there is no substitute for reading when it comes to producing this flow.
A well-stated piece of advice for us all.
Reflection: Why do you think leadership demands “readership”? How is reading helping your own development?