I have often contemplated on the popular maxim, “Readers are leaders.” There are elements of truth in that expression, but on a closer look, mere reading does not make readers leaders.
One might be an avid reader, but if one fails to apply what one reads to real-life situations, one may just end up reading for pleasure.
As a motivational writer, I can be described as a leader in the school of motivation. Several times, certain ideas stick to my head after reading.
My “leadership” ability comes to play when I apply the lessons I learn to real-world situations to influence and inspire people.
So if we say readers are leaders, we must understand the concept of leadership. What does it mean to lead? Leadership is the science of influence. It is the ability to induce the desired action in a team.
Leaders possess skills that enable them to influence people’s decisions. They can inspire and convince their followers. They think critically. They are armed with emotional intelligence and lots more.
Great leaders feel the pain point of those they preside over. The words and actions of great leaders hold weight because they have walked the nook and cranny of the world and have amassed a wealth of knowledge.
Books are potent enough to improve a leader’s people skills. And a leader brings his knowledge to life when he effectively interacts with his followers.
Through reading, we interact with books, questioning ideas, principles, beliefs and opinions while asking critical questions to advance our own knowledge.
This process becomes useful when a leader has to utilise his critical thinking skills to solve the problems of his followers. Hence, reading empowers leaders to not only acquire information (and gather ideas) but also enhances their analytical skills.
Leaders are expected to be effective communicators. Reading, being one of the four major communication skills (reading, speaking, listening, & writing), can boost a leader’s communication skills.
Effective leaders are known for their ability to communicate their ideas to people. Mastering the art of reading in addition to other communication skills will, undoubtedly, elevate a leader’s confidence.
Reading builds confidence because the more you read, the more you know. And the more you know, the more you dish out value to the world.
Thanks to the many authors out there; one can find a lot of leadership books. When a reader reads such books and improves himself, he becomes a much more effective leader. He reads not just for pleasure, but to find other and perhaps better perspectives.
In the words of Oprah Winfrey, “Books allowed me to see a world beyond the front porch of my grandmother’s shotgun house…[and] the power to see possibilities beyond what was allowed at the time.”
As my pen takes a nap, mere reading doesn’t make a leader; applying what readers read to life situations make leaders out of readers.
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Previous contributions: Books Are Not Dead, Can’t Get Yourself to Write? , The Legacy of Written Letters, Reading Fuels Knowledge, and Knowledge Drives Confidence and Reading Can Change Your Perception