Everyone knows that reading is important. It broadens our horizons and causes us to think about the world around us and to see it in new ways. Everyone should be a reader…but as a leader, it is an invaluable skill and a necessity. Leaders can use books to connect with and learn from others, as well as benefit from the knowledge of their successes and failures. Books give insight into the journeys and mindsets of many successful people. It is also known to reduce stress, which leaders must deal with on a daily basis. Bill Gates makes it a point to read for at least 15 minutes every night. It’s possible that some of his success can be attributed to following this routine.
Reading challenges you and keeps your mind sharp, something that is essential for leadership, whether you are the head of a corporation, an office staff, a creative team or the United States of America. President Obama was known for being an avid reader—his reading lists were often published by The New York Times.
A habit of reading constantly supplies you with fresh viewpoints, so it is crucial to read books and articles that you both agree and disagree with. This challenges you to develop new perspectives and look at things in a different light. Reading also helps to make us sharper thinkers and actual doers. In this modern age of instant and effortless gratification, picking up a book forces us to slow down and visualize what we are reading, encouraging us to really use our brains. Imagine that!
People who read often have better vocabularies—three times better than non-readers, making them more effective communicators. Studies show that those who read also use higher quality words, more correct words and actual quotes in their communication. It is vital for a good leader to be a good communicator.
If you often find yourself claiming to not have enough time to read…then make the time. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day before bed. Think about all of the benefits of that brief mind break, whether you choose a light beach read, some poetry or even a magazine article.
Hey, you could do worse than picking up one of Bill Gates’ habits. Do yourself—and those around you—a favor. You are a leader in some way, shape or form to somebody. And reading makes you all the better for it.