Reading books…who still does that? As a leader, you’re immediately viewed as “the answer” by those you lead. Like it or not, subject matter expertise simply goes with the territory. For some, this may be daunting. For others, they welcome the badge and wear it proudly. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, it’s important that you make a concerted effort to stay inquisitive about what’s going on within the space you lead.
Now to be sure, you’re quite knowledgeable in your field. It’s likely part of the recipe that led to your ascension to the leadership ranks. That said, there’s always something new you can learn. So today’s tip: to be the most effective leader, learning new things should take priority.
One way to keep abreast of new perspectives within the field is good ole books. I know, right? You’re wondering if they still print those things with the closing of so many bookstores. The answer is yes they do. So when time permits, head over to one or to a local library and browse your field’s section. No time to go to a physical store? Check out Amazon and enter your field in the keyword search and peruse virtually. Look for books that have been published within the last 2-3 years that offer you new insight that you can bring to your work. Case studies, anthologies, and professional journals with research articles are some examples of literature you can find that will add to your brilliance in your field. Check out Google Scholar for some gems! I’m a huge fan of book purchases as it allows you to highlight, bookmark, and write notes in the margin. For those who prefer e-reading formats, these similar functions are available in electronic formats as well. It gets a bit trickier when you go the audiobook route but if you take notes while listening, you can yield the same results.
By staying on top of the literature in your field, you will be able to make recommendations or iterations to the work your team is currently doing. Senior leadership appreciates knowing the way things are functioning is on par with the latest and greatest. So, read … and read some more so that you can look like the rock star you are!
Ready to curl up to a good book? Great!! Don’t forget to pass this article along to friends and colleagues who want to build their professional library.