Reading each day can open up your mental horizon, help you gain invaluable insights into the wisdom of great thinkers and successful people, empathize with the emotions of the characters you read about, and better understand how to respond to social cues. Now, this is general knowledge, and whether you like to read or not, you would acknowledge this as a fact, that reading certainly makes you put your thinking cap on.
But did you know that reading has a deep connection with effective leadership? It is the singular-most common habit among the prominent leaders of the world like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth I, Albert Einstein, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg, MalalaYousafzai….the list goes on.
Reading is one of the most important skills that a child picks up early on. Not just for academic excellence but also to comprehend better and communicate well. Broad reading habits can spark creativity, generate deep insight, develop empathy, and enhance personal effectiveness. Following the cue from the great personalities listed above, it is imperative that to build competent leaders of tomorrow, we need to instil the habit of reading in young children.
The British author Malorie Blackman rightly said, “Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.” And leadership without empathy is no leadership at all. So, let us see how kids and even adults can develop leadership skills through reading.
Encourages critical thinking
Reading is an active habit and engages the brain fully to understand the words and their implications to conjure up a mental image. Research revealed that readers have a better sense of judgement to distinguish between information and misinformation. A leader would often have to apply a sharp sense of intuition to understand an issue and resolve it. Reading is one habit that will definitely help a future leader to do that.
Alleviates communication skills
Reading builds vocabulary, enhances verbal intelligence. Habitual readers can string together the right combination of words to make a persuasive statement that can motivate the other person. This edge in communication skills can help a leader immensely in managing a team effectively, leading to organizational effectiveness.
Improves interpersonal skills
Reading can throw open the mind’s window to living the lives of the characters one reads about, empathising with their happiness, sorrow, dreams, successes and failures. This insight into human emotions can help a future leader understand people better, making them realise their potential and motivating them to reach out to achieve a shared goal.
Personal effectiveness in leaders is a must-have to lead a team by example. And to increase personal effectiveness, one has to de-stress most productively. Reading does that for us. The more relaxed the mind, the more productive it can be when required. Kids who read regularly imbibe leadership skills, but for the present, will be able to see a marked difference in their academic performance too.
A good leader thinks out-of-the-box to resolve conflicts, encourages the teammates to innovate to achieve goals, and acts creatively to get the best out of people. Reading helps in nurturing the imagination in readers and thus igniting creativity.
At Samsidh, we strongly believe in former American President Harry Truman’s statement, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” And hence, we make all effort to make our wards readers today so they can be strong leaders tomorrow.