If You Want to Lead, Read
National Read Across America Day falls on March 2nd, and kicks off National Reading Month. This program was started in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA) and today it is the nation’s largest celebration of reading. The purpose is to motivate children and teens to be excited about reading! This goal seems important for adults too – the National Endowment for the Arts has found that “reading has declined among every group of adult Americans”. This is significant because the benefits of regular reading are numerous – it improves brain connectivity, increases emotional intelligence, and can reduce stress and benefit overall health.
There’s a Dr. Seuss quote that sums this up nicely, “The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you will go”. One of the ways that we can do this is by stepping outside of our reading “comfort zones”. These comfort zones are the types and topics of books that we typically gravitate towards. We naturally develop these comfort zones because of our interests or the fields we work in, and it can be hard to motivate ourselves to pick up a book that doesn’t fit. But, when we can branch out and explore topics and fields other than our own, we are able to expand and diversify our knowledge and learnings. For example, someone who works in sales may benefit from exploring topics in psychology or sociology. By expanding our reading horizons, we add more tools to our toolboxes to better solve nuanced and complex problems in our personal and professional lives.
Inspired by this idea, we asked our core team to share their favorite books about leadership with you! Check them out below and think about the ways you could apply them meaningfully to different areas of your life:
“Red: A Crayon’s Story” by Michael Hall
“A touching, yet realistic story about the journey to find your true self. This children’s book explores the complexities of labels, expectations, and the power of belief. Whether you are a leader or a member of a team, there are so many rich lessons to take away and implement. Your personal interactions, team morale, and organizational culture can all benefit from this awesome little book!
I loved seeing how hard the red crayon worked to be good at what others expected of him, and that even though he failed, he kept on trying! But even more, I loved that he was willing and open to explore something different – which, I won’t spoil by sharing the ending!” – Kim
“The Art of Possibility” by Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander
“This book is a compilation of stories and practices to help the reader see the different perspectives of any and all situations they may encounter. It was really fun to read the different anecdotes from the two different fields the authors work in. Benjamin Zander has experience as a conductor, teacher, and communicator and Rosamund Stone Zander is a psychotherapist. The suggested practices/exercises were easily applicable to anyone and it helped me to see my situations in a different light.” – Jayne
“The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande
“This book is written by an experienced surgeon who argues that a simple checklist is the strategy that we need for overcoming failure. Yes, you read that right – this entire book is about checklists! “Checklists seem able to defend anyone, even the experienced, against failure in many more tasks than we realized.” This book is filled with fascinating stories and anecdotes about the power of the checklist across a variety of fields – from medicine to aviation to construction and more.
I loved the way Gawande told stories – it was such an entertaining and disgetable read. My favorite part was that he provides “A Checklist for Checklists” so that readers can create their own checklists that really work! Whether you love or hate making checklists, this book will give you something to think about!” – Caelan
“In Service to the Mouse” by Jack Lindquist
“This memoir recounts the stories and leadership lessons of Jack Lindquist – the first president of Disneyland. I grew up dreaming of one day running the happiest place on earth, so it was enlightening to hear directly from someone who actually held my dream job and worked his way up through various leadership roles in a company I love. An easy and lighthearted read, this book had me jumping back and forth between laughing at comical stories and jotting down notes about leadership techniques and attitudes that worked for Jack that I could emulate in my own life.” – Morgan
“Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)” by Carol Tavris
“When we cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility” (Carol Tavris). This book brilliantly offers insight into why we self-justify and what it can lead to in organizations and most importantly, how to overcome it.
I really enjoyed reading this book because it really puts a spotlight on where our biases come from and how they affect the way we see and interact with the world. I’m not the biggest reader, but I had so many thoughts going through my head while reading and I told everyone around me to start reading it- that’s how I know it was a meaningful book to me!” – Kylie
Not sure how to apply these readings to your group?
We’d love to help you incorporate the lessons from these books and more into your own group operations and dynamics.
Connect with us for personalized consultations that will help you and your group reach your goals!
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*Meet the Author*
The Leadership Inspirations Content Team has written over 300 leadership lessons in the past year alone! They are dedicated to continuing to deliver the most relevant leadership development content for you and your classroom or team.
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