So the saying goes, ‘leaders are readers’. Well, I am a born leader. I didn’t get that from a book though. What I believe nowadays however, is that to stay at the top of your game, to fulfill your potential and to stand out and lead people, you do indeed, need to be a reader.
There is nothing better, more rewarding and indeed more mind-expanding that reading good (non-fiction) books.
Apparently, this leading trait was obvious in me from a very early age. Indeed, my Brother who is really very dear to me, will confirm that when we were young boys, oftentimes it was me leading him in play – or leading him astray more like.
Interestingly, many of the stories also involve me tapping that creative side of the brain. Whether it was hooking up his toy car to my trike or scrunching up the plastic tray my Mum discarded that I stuck between the spokes of my trike, driving her crazy in the process with the noise it made as I rode around.
Later we were into making things out of cardboard, plastic and wood off-cuts, string, tape etc. Anything we could lay our hands on basically. Then it was building dens indoors and outside. The early ones involved umbrellas and thick coats. The later ones, clothes dryers, plastic sheeting, wood and even corrugated asbestos sheeting it turns out… These weren’t any old dens. No, they were complete with functioning windows, drainage systems, heating and light, (in the form of candles mostly).
Perhaps my finest invention though, which turned up years later when the carpet was being replaced, was a set of pressure pads dotted around my Grandmother’s house hooked up to a board full of lights and a buzzer. This enabled my Brother and me to monitor when people were climbing the stairs to ‘check on us’ (tell us off for more likely). They told us which rooms they were approaching, which gave us sufficient time to stop playing and jump back into bed and pretend to be asleep by the time the arrived at our door.
Oops, I’ve wandered off topic. As life has proceeded and I’ve gotten into the world of work, this natural inclination to lead has generally served me well. Whenever I go somewhere with a group of people, you’ll often find me walking ahead of the group, either alone or with someone but at the head of the pack.
I seem to have no fear of getting out in front. Although, as I say that, I’m mindful of just how lonely and isolated that can feel. Can you relate to that? Do you too find yourself looking back at the group and wishing they’d hurry along to join you? Do you too feel lonely at times? Or perhaps you’re looking ahead and thinking, ‘why don’t they just slow down a bit?’, ‘what’s the rush?’ or ‘loner!’
Well, there are leaders and there are managers. It’s hard if not impossible to be good at both roles. I’ve had some amazing and some very mediocre managers in my time. What I do know is, I do really care about the people I look after and want to be a good manager, but I’m first and foremost a dyed in the wool leader.
Two of the earliest ‘business’ books I read that set me on my road of self-discovery and self-enrichment were: ‘Leadership‘, by Rudolph Giuliani and ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People‘ by Steven Covey. They changed my perspective a heck of a lot – for the better! Particularly Covey’s habit: ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood’. I read those two books on my career break in New Zealand during 2001/2.
It’s only really been over the course of the past year or so that I’ve made more of a habit of reading again. There have been a couple of gems along the way. I’m currently enjoying Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, having recently completed the very thought-provoking ‘The Entrepreneur Revolution’ by Daniel Priestley.
On the (growing) list of books to read next are a whole bunch that keep coming up on that not-to-be-named-again Podcast by Mr. Dumas, (see previous posts!), which include:
So, I’m curious. What’s on your bedside table? What are you reading today? What did you read most recently that really made you stop and think? Are you a leader, by virtue of the mind-expansion you’re going through yourself?
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Thanks for stopping by and see you for more tomorrow friends!
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