“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them” — Mark Twain
Last summer, I attended a two-day meeting focused on improving leadership effectiveness. More than a dozen speakers gave their perspectives on what makes leaders effective. I was struck by the one trait nearly everyone viewed as essential — a ferocious appetite for reading.
I noted the speakers didn’t just target books or articles in their chosen field, but also included works that would broaden their worldview . What these leaders all had in common was a commitment to self-improvement and an interest in translating this insight into value for others.
For me, reading has also shaped how I see the world. In particular, the books that have had a life-altering effect on me include:
“The Power of the Servant Leader” by Robert Greenleaf
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey
“The Leader of the Future” edited by Frances Hesselbein for the Drucker Foundation
“Bringing Out the Best in People” by Aubrey Daniels
“Leadership by the Book” by Ken Blanchard, Bill Hybels and Phil Hodges
“12: The Elements of Great Managing” by Rodd Wagner and James Harter
“The Leadership Challenge” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner
Through insights from authors like those listed above I came to view leadership as a “relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow.” Effective leadership goes way beyond a title on a business card; it’s about building relationships.
What are some books or articles that were game changers for you? Please take a few moments to share how the authors changed your paradigm. We can all benefit from the journey of others.