Leaders Read and Readers Lead: A Guest Leadership Post by Ben Eubanks
Ben Eubanks is a local HR professional and blogger who writes about HR, leadership and humorous topics. He created upstartHR as a resource for HR professionals to grow in their craft and share stories about the HR field. Ben agreed to write this guest post for Leadership Perspectives.
“To gain a competitive advantage in your career, read at least one hour per day in your chosen field. One hour a day will translate into approximately one book a week. One book a week will translate into approximately 50 books over the next 12 months. If you read an hour a day, one book per week, you will be an expert in your field within three years. Through continuous learning, you will be a national authority in five years, and you will be an international authority in seven years. All leaders are readers.” – Brian Tracy
In the past few years I have thrown myself headlong into reading nonfiction focused on leadership, service, communication, and other essential topics. One day I was listening to the radio and heard someone mention the Brian Tracy quote above, and I quickly made the decision to pursue that goal vigorously.
It’s astounding to me how few people really take the time to read. It’s an opportunity to learn from the author’s mistakes. It’s a chance to explore new territory. It’s a way to gain understanding of a tricky topic without any pressure or consequences.
Books are an incredibly cost-effective way for corporate leaders to grow the knowledge of their workforce. I’ve been sharing tips and resources on this topic for several years, because I’m passionate about helping employees learn more, grow in their careers, and become better citizens overall. Today we’ll look at a few of the key concepts surrounding this topic and hopefully I can convince you that the title really is true: leaders read and readers lead.
Book Clubs – Not Just for Oprah
There are multiple ways to create and utilize book clubs. I’m a member of a local group that is tied with the North Alabama Society for Human Resources Management, so naturally we focus on books targeting HR, recruiting, leadership, corporate culture, etc. It’s been a great experience to sit and actually discuss books with others, and it has helped me to gain a greater understanding of each book we’ve read. If you’re interested in putting together your own group for your company, social group, etc., here’s a short guide that explains how I set it up.
I also encourage corporate leaders to develop an environment that encourages learning in general, whether it’s reading, training, or other learning tool. Some companies have gone so far as to have “required reading” for new hires, which is an interesting concept. It’s key in this type of activity to tie the materials back to the company’s core values to ensure the learning reinforces the culture of the organization. More on that here.
What Do I Read?
“The difference between where you are today and where you’ll be five years from now will be found in the quality of books you’ve read.” – Jim Rohn
This is one of the most common questions I get from people. To be honest, I will give just about anything a shot. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I don’t. The key is not to feel like the time invested in a book is a failure if you only get one idea out of it. Paying $10 for a book and learning one new concept to apply in your life is a phenomenal return on investment.
Consider yourself, your career, and your goals. Where do you want to be in five years? What do you want to be doing? How much money do you want to make? Once you’ve established a general idea, then you start picking books that make sense to help you get to that level of success.
If you are still looking for ideas, I’ve reviewed quite a few books here. That should give you a starting point.
In the end, I hope that I’ve convinced and intrigued you regarding the power of books to help you achieve success, whether it’s in marriage, finances, or career development. To wrap up, I’ll leave you with this great quote from the late Zig Ziglar, a long-time motivational speaker and author:
Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.” Zig Ziglar