Who has time to read? You might want to reconsider.
I work with a lot of executive clients who struggle to make time to read or find reading a chore and boring. As a result, they often don’t make time to read instead devoting more time to more meetings and occasionally getting their other work done. But what if reading was part of your job? I believe it is. And, if you think you get lots of reading in by reading texts and emails, you’re cheating yourself. Reading goes far beyond the time suck of email.
Leadership is about doing not reading, but you need new perspectives on what you are doing and new ideas to try. Its not always about reading business books, although they have many benefits. It can be HBR, Forbes, industry articles, newsletters, white papers, blogs, news websites etc. and even stories.
Reading is an essential part of critical and strategic thinking as a leader building stronger relationships, self-awareness, and systems thinking. Here are some of the benefits of reading overall:
- Professional development
- Find fresh ideas
- Enhance creativity and innovation
- Challenge your thinking
- Gain new perspectives and broaden your horizons
- Learn new skills
- Develop empathy
- Increase your EQ
- Enjoy better sleep and potentially event better health
The best way to start incorporating reading is to carve out a small amount of time each week to read. For some its in bed before going to sleep, for others its an hour or half-hour first thing in their work day. Or, it could be an hour once a week to get through saved articles, clippings, the next chapter in a book, anything.
Mentorship can be an interesting result of reading that we often don’t consider. Have you ever found a thought leader you like to follow and read their work? I have! Whether I’ve been impacted by one book or followed a series of books and articles there are many thought leaders who have become one way mentors for me. If you can’t find a good mentor to connect with one on one, you might find an author who is a one-way mentor whom you follow regularly. This may be just what you need to get unstuck and move forward where no other mentor is available. I also have colleagues who took their one-way mentorship further and reached out to the author to ask questions and developed a real mentorship relationship as a result.
If reading is boring, you’re likely reading the wrong topics, wrong authors or don’t have a clear reason for reading. Shake it up and read something different, you might even want to start with reading a story for fun to start afresh.
There are many benefits that come from reading and the starting place is choosing to make time. You’ll never have time, you have to choose to make it important. What will you choose to read?