Leaders Are Readers: 4 Reasons to Start Today

Today I’m excited to share some thoughts with you from Chris Mullen. He’s in his fifth year Higher Education Student Affairs Leadership Ph.D. program at Colorado State University, where he also serves as Assistant Director of Recruitment and Selection in the Office of Equal Opportunity. He’s focused on personal and professional development, leadership, and wellness. Today, he’s going to share some of his passion for reading (which I share) with us. You can find more from Chris at his blog.

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
– Harry S. Truman

I don’t know about you but I find a lot of truth in this quote. I have found I am more engaged in life, work, and other ventures when I am in the midst of reading a book. What about you?

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When I go any length of time without reading a book, I tend to feel like I am going through the motions each day. When I am reading, I have something to look forward to, something to discuss with others, and stuff to think about. It fills my need for learning.

Do you have a reason for reading? Why should you start or continue reading?

Reading confirms or challenges ideals.

Reading can reaffirm your values. It can help strengthen your beliefs by giving you additional reasons as to why you believe what you do.

Reading can challenge your values and thought process. Just because you have believed something or done the same old things all this time does not make it right. Through reading we can understand why others have different beliefs. We may not agree with those beliefs but at least we have a better understanding of where other may be coming from.

Reading provides new ideas/different perspective.

When I read or listen to an audiobook I almost always need a pad of paper or device next to me to collect all the ideas that run through my mind. And most of the time it is just from reading one chapter. It doesn’t take much reading time to spawn a new idea.

Reading can give us a different perspective on a view as big as the world or as small as how we schedule our time on a daily basis.

Reading gives us a necessary break from reality.

By reading a fiction book in can take us into another world and give us a break from what is happening in our everyday lives. We can enjoy the lives of the characters in the books we are reading or feel their sorrow. Simply, this break from reality is what might help us to get through a tough day.

Reading provides stress relief.

According to an article in The Telegraph and research conducted by the University of Sussex, reading reduces stress levels by 68%, which is more than listening to music or taking a walk.

Leaders need to read to set an example. Their followers and those they work with are watching them and if the leader isn’t reading consistently then why should anyone else? Lead by example and set aside time to read.

So pick up and dust off that book on your shelf! Stop using that book as a coaster on your nightstand! Get reading! Take some time out of every single day to read. It doesn’t have too much but it needs to happen.

To get the most out of your reading, check out this article by @lifehacker titled, “How to Remember More of What You Read.”

Do you think leaders need to be readers?

What are your reasons or benefits for reading? Why would you encourage others to read? Also, what is your favorite leadership book?

Thanks again to Chris for this great post. Be sure to visit his blog.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Loved all the reasons to read listed above, great stuff.

    I don’t only finding reading important, but I find that it’s important to read on various topics in order to expand your knowledge of various disciplines (“horizontal knowledge”). A way someone approaches a problem or topic in another field of discipline might inform you how to apply the same principals or strategies to a problem you are facing in your own niche.

    I find that reading keeps my mind sharp and challenges my assumptions.

    1. David DeWolf says:

      So true. It’s easy to fall into the trap of reading similar, or our favorite, types of books. Stretch yourself!

    2. Chris Mullen says:

      Michael, you are right, we can find expand our knowledge by branching out in varous dsicpline. When doing so who knows what new ideas we might come up with.

  2. Mark Kalpakgian says:

    Great points! I would add that since the defining elements of man are his intellect and will, intellectual formation and stimulation are not extras in a busy schedule but necessary for man to achieve the best version of himself. When we don’t read, we not only impoverish his mind but his very being. The stakes are high!

    1. Chris Mullen says:

      Thanks Mark and very well put!

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