Friday, March 22, 2013

Why Leaders Must Be Readers

If you take only one glance at our professional branding company’s leadership team, you may be surprised by our youthfulness. Our team is young (and looks even younger), but I am confident that the youthfulness of our team is helping our growth. That’s not because I agree with anything stated by Cathryn Sloane in her article that declared that all social media managers should be under the age of 25 – it’s because I believe that our employees’ youthfulness drives their intellectual curiosity. They want to learn, and the most common way they search for new knowledge is by reading articles and books by successful business owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs.

This doesn’t need to apply only to young businesspeople, though. It can be even more important for seasoned employees; leaders must be readers. Reading and learning from peers within, and outside of, your industry enables you to grow as an employee, business owner, and leader in three distinct ways.

Reading Reminds You

I make it a habit to re-read specific books every year because I need constant reminders of the good things they’ve taught me. After my third reading of Gary Vaynerchuk’s The Thank You Economy, I was inspired to work with our team to handwrite every one of our clients a thank-you note. Whether you re-read the same book or article to remind you of concepts, or read content on time management and organization as a constant reminder to work on these things, reading is valuable because it keeps important concepts top of mind.

Reading Challenges You

A female co-worker of mine, whom I respect immensely, recently gave me a book and said, “I disagree with about 80% of this, but you should definitely read it.” I loved that she was sharing a book that challenged her opinions, yet felt it was worthwhile reading for the 20% that was valuable. Reading something you disagree with can have a big impact on your ability to think, both creatively and logically.

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