On November 11, Leadership Network is hosting a live, online event on the topic of Leaders & Readers. Six authors will share their thoughts on the role that reading has played in their leadership experiences, drawing content from their latest books. On that day, the audience will be able to participate in the conversation through live Q&A.

My Observations on Leaders and Readers

I was invited to share my thoughts on the following three questions.

  1. “I feel that reading is valuable to leadership because…”
    The worst thing that can happen to would-be leaders is to get cloistered away in their church to the point that they never are challenged beyond their own small world.  Reading opens up a much wider range of experiences and opportunities and exposes readers to ideas and issues they might not have on their own.  Reading is crucial since most leaders are what I call “adaptive leaders.”Adaptive leaders can see what others are doing or thinking and adapt it to their situation. I’ve found over the years that if I don’t read at least two hundred books a year, I get behind in the thinking and practices of world class leaders.
  2. “Do leaders read differently than non-leaders? How?”
    Yes. I don’t know about other people, but I never read for fun. Since I’m dyslexic I have to really focus on keeping the words from flying off the page. Still, I think even if I weren’t dyslexic I would read more out of curiosity than fun or enjoyment. I think most non-leaders are more likely to read for fun or enjoyment than leaders are.  The same is true with most life experiences.  Most leaders never see a book, a movie, a TV show purely from the standpoint of enjoyment, although that can be a part of it. Instead, they are always asking how what they are reading or watching can be used as a cultural window into the lives of the people in their community who either need God or need to grow in their faith.
  3. “What are 3 books that have most influenced your leadership and why?”
    This is the hard question. Lately there have been so many books that it’s hard to list only three, but here goes.  Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal, Exponential by Dave and Jon Ferguson, and Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my latest two books, Ministry in Hard Times and Preaching for Transformation, both out within the last 12 months.

Be sure to join us on November 11 for Leaders & Readers. You can register free at http://leadersandreaders.leadnet.org.

Question: How would you answer those three questions? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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