Read to Lead

John Coleman’s recent blog posting ‘For Those Who Want to Lead, Read’,1 was a great encouragement. Not that I need, or ever have needed, any encouragement to read–it’s been a lifelong activity. What encouraged me was that he argues that reading is an essential part of leadership.

Sometimes I get really focussed on reading specific church leadership topics, or on commentaries and sermons for preaching preparation, and feel that reading in other areas is wasting time. But Coleman brings forward evidence that wide-ranging reading ‘can improve intelligence and lead to innovation and insight’. He even says, ‘reading novels can improve empathy and understanding of social cues, allowing a leader to better work with and understand others . . .’. I’m sure that’s right, as I’ve noticed that I get ideas and illustrations from outside specifically theological literature, but it’s encouraging to hear that from others.

The trick is to achieve balance and retain focus. Reading may be a lifelong activity, but it’s one we can all  learn to do better. Now I have to follow up some of Coleman’s references, but I’m greatly encouraged as I do so.

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1. John Coleman, ‘For Those Who Want to Lead, Read’, Harvard Business Review blog network, 15 Aug 2012, online at: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/for_those_who_want_to_lead_rea.html 

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