In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart struggling to define a tough subject made famous the phrase, “I’ll know it when I see it.”
So while most folks struggle to define leadership, most are confident they’ll know it when they see it.
Leaders have certain characteristics that help us “know it when we see it.” For example, finish this phrase:
Leaders are __________?
If you said “losers,” you’ve been watching way too much news. If you said “leaders are readers,” you nailed it.
Bill Zip says it like this, “Effective leaders are extensive readers.”
Whether a person is a level 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 leader, it will show up in what leaders read.
So if you want to find good leaders, follow their trail of books. When I walk into someone’s office or home, I look for books. How many do they have, which authors do they love, and what kind of books are they reading? The type of books tells a story about the leader.
Here is a few key categories leaders read:
- History – History tells us how the past has shaped the present and why it’s important. Reading history helps leaders impact, and influence the future.
- Biography – Reading about the lives of others is a masterful way of allowing past leaders to speak into the lives of current leaders. People skills are what distinguish level 1 from level 5 leaders, and leaders that read biography deepen their people skillset.
- Personal Growth – Leaders are learners, and the drive to learn creates a strong appetite to read for personal growth. Level 5 leaders understand they constantly need to change, grow, and push themselves, and reading books on personal growth achieves this.
A good friend sent me an article on what CEO’s are reading. It revealed what very successful leaders are reading—check it out!
What CEO’s Are Reading
After you look through the list, take a minute to post the patterns you see in the comments below.
The One Leadership Trait That Trumps All Others
Bill Zipp on How to Read Like a CEO
5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell