Why Does Reading Make You a Better Leader?

Do you like to read? There are a lot of people I know that don’t fancy themselves as readers. Some of these people are leaders. It’s sad to see how many leaders choose not to read. And as a writer and author I cringe when someone tells me they don’t like to read.

Flickr.com / Martin Gommel
Flickr.com / Martin Gommel

When I was a kid, I tried reading a college level book by Warwick Montgomery. I don’t know what I was thinking. I recently pulled that book out and told my dad the story that I cried when I felt I had to read the book in 7th grade. It was for a report. Dad quickly told me I could choose a different book.

Today I’m an avid reader. I know so many leaders who are avid readers. In fact there are very few leaders who don’t read often. It’s what drives a leader to be better. It’s that continuing education that allows a leader to draw upon new ideas.

I recently read on Michael Hyatt’s website, ”a readership crisis is really a leadership crisis.” With all the advancements in technology, one would think that it would be easier to be a reader, but sometimes I believe it hinders one’s ability to truly read and comprehend.

Here are some ways to become a better leader by becoming a better reader.

  • Reading allows you to relax. This may sound odd. Wouldn’t reading cause your brain to be overactive and think? Sometimes. But picking up a paper book, siting in your favorite chair and reading for a time allows your brain to detox from the day. It allows you to escape from the cares of the day.

We are so focused on our current duties throughout the day that taking time to focus on one topic and thought is relaxing. I believe that leaders who take the time to relax with a good book will become a more focused leader. And a more focused leader makes wiser decisions.

  • Reading helps you communicate ideas clearer. As leaders we are inundated with people who want things done their way. “Pastor we need this ministry. Pastor we need this for our church. Pastor we need someone to run the children’s ministry.” Name it, people want it.

That can become frustrating. It feels as if they don’t care about the vision of the church and the direction you believe God is wanting to take the congregation. When we read books, articles or blogs that reflect the vision we have for the church, it fuels our minds to communicate that vision in a more clear way.

Reading allows us to expand our vocabulary so that our delivery in a sermon becomes deeper and wider. We want our words to be persuasive and help people be motivated to follow the vision of the church.

  • Reading keeps our mind active. I read recently that watching television causes our minds to go numb. When hooked up to electrodes to monitor brain activity, watching TV causes zero activity. The mind has actually gone dark and is non-thinking. Reading on the other hand, causes the brain’s synapses to fire in a rapid fashion. The study I read said that reading is the most active your mind is and is similar to creative thinking.

When we read we actually cause our minds to stay young. For every minute we watch television we lessen the amount of knowledge we can consume. In fact, unlike television, reading produces the ability to lessen or even prevent possible dementia in later years of life.

To be a better leader, we must first become better readers. If you want to be more relaxed, communicate clearer vision and keep an active healthy mind, you must read. Don’t think about it, just pick up that book you’ve been wanting to read, and read.

How much do you read? What is your favorite place to read during the day? Share on Facebook or Twitter.