People who are born leaders have a few traits in common. Firstly, they’re naturally inquisitive, which leads them on a quest for knowledge. Leaders are hungry for knowledge thus they want to understand life, people, and reality.
Without knowledge, it’s hard to get far in life. Knowledge applied well becomes wisdom; this is also something leaders must have in abundance, if they are to be successful. One of the best sources of knowledge is books since they usually offer the most in-depth information on any given topic. Anyone who is inclined to immerse themselves in learning has at least one of the innate qualities it takes to be a leader.
Let’s take a look at the ways in which reading books influences leadership skills for the better:
1. Reading books expands our vocabularies
Your communication is only as good as your vocabulary, which is directly linked to your intelligence. Leaders must be at the very least articulate. How else could they manage to help others understand what needs to be done? A strong leader will be convincing, demonstrative and eloquent. Without a diverse vocabulary, this is less likely.
Books are one of the best educational tools, and not just because of the subjects they cover; the language itself is an opportunity to learn. When an inquisitive person sees a word they don’t understand – even in the context of the sentence – they will go and look it up. Due to this, leaders gain a richer perspective, be truly expressive, and have many ways to convey their understanding.
2. Reading books means picking smart brains
One of the best ways to get inside the heads of those you admire is to read their book. If you wanted to learn about building business empires, you might choose the autobiography of Richard Branson. Autobiographies are great for getting a glimpse into the mentalities of other leaders.
Then there are the books that impart the exact knowledge you need. The chances are that what you’ll find inside such books will be the best of what’s in your would-be mentor’s head. After all, they’re showcasing what they know. You’re getting what they consider to be the most important information on the subject of interest.
Although you can’t spend physical time with these people, picking up their book is the next best thing. On at least some levels, you’re getting to know them, what worked for them, and how they think.
“No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.” – Lady M. W. Montagu
3. Reading books can be inspiring
When you’re just starting out on your path to leadership, you may see a hazy road ahead. It’s easy to feel insecure, or to view challenges as insurmountable. When this happens, it helps to remember that most leaders have felt this way at some point.
No doubt such feelings will have been at their most acute in the early days. The reason the book you’re looking at even exists is because these people overcame such obstacles. Delving into their success stories is a very helpful way to boost your confidence and spark a few of your own ideas.
Biographies are some of the best books if you’re looking to be inspired. As they are written by a third party, you’ll usually get the full, unbiased lowdown on your chosen person and their path to the success you also seek.
4. Reading books gives us perspective on reality
You won’t receive the best value (in terms of knowledge) from any one book since no one person has all of the answers. The more books you read, the wider your perspective will become, and the more possibilities will become apparent.
What becomes even more apparent from reading books is that success of any kind takes time and effort. The experiences, research and subsequent presentation within that book were probably a long process with some degree of trial and error.
Your authors will have been through a lot to bring you their knowledge, so it stands to reason that you may have to do similar. Knowing this helps to develop realistic goals, strategies and timelines. The books you choose give you access to many different experiences, perspectives and routes to success. You can map out your own path by emulating the aspects you prefer from each.
“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” – Rene Descartes
5. Reading books give us a much-needed break
On the path to leadership success, it is easy to become fixated. It is natural to be focused on the goals and productive to keep this focus. However, there are times when we just need time out to relax, process and reflect upon what’s happening in our lives.
Reading a good book is a great way to do this. It doesn’t matter whether that’s a fiction book or a self-help book, but ideally it won’t be the kind of book mentioned above. Disengaging from time to time has lots of benefits, such as improved mental clarity, rest and recuperation. This leads to clearer focus and fresh perspectives.
The most important thing is that you take time out from busy schedules to get a mental breather from goal chasing. This can have some surprising benefits. Consider how an inventor often gets his or her best ideas when not focusing on the issue. When the conscious mind has a chance to relax, the subconscious goes to work and brings through ideas the conscious mind was previously blocking.
6. Reading books help us to become experts in our niche
Reading books naturally increases your knowledge, so when you focus on one particular subject, you’re bound to develop some level of expertise. You’re probably doing this precisely because your personal experience is limited, anyway.
By gaining the knowledge and second-hand experiences of others who know the subject better than you do, you’re armed with fresh information and understanding. This naturally lends power to your leadership abilities.
There is no real substitute for direct experience, but the books you’re reading are likely to pave the way for you to go out and get that experience with confidence and vigour. You’ll also be better equipped to deal with challenges that come up, now that you’ve acquired such valuable knowledge!
One of the best things you can do for yourself is carry an Amazon Kindle wherever you go. You don’t know when you’ll have a chance to choose the perfect material from your digital library. The same goes for getting an Audible account. The best leaders prioritise learning whenever they get a spare moment, and having a diverse library of information at your fingertips makes this possible.
What was the last book you read? Let us know in the comments below!