Leadership development and reading

January 17, 2018 by Wally Bock

Leadership development programs are not enough

Leadership development programs are important, but they can’t do it all. Effective leaders learn a lot on their own and reading is their primary tool. Here are some ways to get more from your reading.

Leadership development reading tips

Leaders are readers. Leaders also read differently. During the past year I’ve asked some successful leaders about their reading habits. I called them “intentional readers” because they pay attention to what they read and develop ways to get the most from it. Here are four tips on how to read intentionally.

Be picky about what you read. Intentional readers practice due diligence about what they read. They pick books based on solid recommendations and they do a little research. If they make a mistake and start a book that turns out to be a poor choice, they close that book up and move on.

Take notes. As you read make notes. Capture insights and ideas for things you may want to try.

Do something more. Intentional readers have extra things they do to get more from a book. Several write reviews or summaries of the books they’ve read. One has a discussion group when he and other intentional readers go through a book they’ve all read a chapter at a time. Some make collections of pithy quotes.

Go back to things you’ve read before. Re-reading is an important way to squeeze the most value from a book. You can read the entire book or important sections. The “flashcard” option on Kindle readers is a simple way to review key points and summaries.

If you’re a leader or you aspire to lead, master the arts of the intentional reader. If you’re responsible for a leadership development program, include material on effective, career-building reading.

Thanks to Janet Ioli, whose Forbes article, “Four Insights About Leadership Development From An Executive Coach,” started the train of thought that led to this article.

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