According to Harvard Business Review writer, John Coleman, reading broadly is one of the most important habits aspiring business leaders should cultivate. Constantly seeking to improve general knowledge, flex comprehension muscle and increase vocabulary will reap many benefits for business leaders. There is no better way to develop all of the above, and more, than to dive between the pages of, well, just about anything you fancy.
In the article, “For Those Who Want to Lead, Read”, Coleman encourages business leaders to read publications of many different types, claiming that their organisations may “innovate and prosper” with influence from the benefits extensive reading brings. Extensive reading promotes creativity and enhances complex reasoning skills, two of the most important tools in the business leaders’ belt.
Reading widely also results in a broad knowledge base. Coming into frequent contact with new information and ideas, leaders who read are able to assess and possibly integrate them into their businesses. Fields such as economics, psychology and sociology all contain concepts that are likely to be useful to a business leader when applied wisely. Even reading fiction, Coleman says, will benefit business leaders, by helping them develop empathy that can be helpful when dealing with employees and clients.
Not only are avid readers more likely to understand the needs of colleagues and clients better, they are also more adept at communicating their understanding. Avid readers tend to be more articulate and have a wider vocabulary to choose from, so are able to express themselves more exactly.
Coleman also notes that reading for leisure keeps stress levels down, and so is a healthy way for people in high level positions to relax. It is also supposed to help ward off Alzheimer’s.
Although reading in “unrelated” disciplines or reading for fun might seem like a waste of time, for a savvy aspiring business leader, the opposite is in fact the truth. Spending time reading is investing in the multifaceted intelligence true leaders require; an investment that is bound to pay off.