Society continues to rapidly change and advance with current technologies, and this has a profound effect on leadership. As we rely more and more on our devices, picking up snippets of information from various sources, we move further away from reading larger works. There are many people who rely on daily doses of data in small forms, and never tackle a book on industry analysis, a fiction novel, a biography of a truly accomplished and inspiring individual, or other great works. This may not seem so bad as the bits of information form wholes eventually, but there are effects that may not be realized until later.
Reading is crucial to a greater understanding of the world around us. There is magic that happens as we pour over pages full of information, and not just in Harry Potter novels. This magic is an evolving of ourselves. An informational book allows us to see a specific area, like business, from another perspective, and to gain valuable insight to the industry in which we work or hope to work. It helps to provide skills, vocabulary, and a deeper understanding of that particular world.
Biographies and memoirs allow us to see a life, in its entirety, through transformation. It reminds us of the nature of humanity, and the challenges that erupt for everyone, despite status, race, religion, gender, etc… It is a chance to see how someone overcomes adversity, and how they build a future on blood, sweat, and tears. It is an experience in itself because we can connect, even if just through the words that fill each page, with another human being and their journey of existence. This helps leaders to become more socially adept, and to realize the complexities that make up each life. This may lead to higher levels of empathy, and compassion.
Fiction stories, the ones that may seem the least valuable to those in a world of business, logic, and facts, may in fact, be the most critical. The story typically takes the reader on a journey which reaches a conflict or climax, and a resolution. There are variances, and those novels that change the rules, but there is a need for leaders to get wrapped up in novels with complex conflicts because it requires analytical thought. Readers naturally attempt to solve the problems, and while the resolution is given, the reader can find other alternatives, and learn to accept the endings they cannot change. There is also something that must be said of the need for escapism. As we surround ourselves with an endless stream of facts, news, and critical information, the chance to become a part of another world, involved with fictitious characters, and relax a little, is much needed.
Every leader should create a small amount of reading time each day. Even if it is just 20 minutes, it is highly beneficial in so many ways. This is one positive change you can make in your life that will provide you with skills that may be unattainable otherwise. It leads to creative thinking, social skills, and perhaps the patience that is needed to commit to something longer than 140 characters. Make time to read, and you will be better suited to lead!