I heard this phrase, “Today’s readers become tomorrow’s leaders”, a few years ago at a convention. Recently I stumbled across this phrase again. As I often do, I started to think about what this phrase really means and if I believe it. I came to the conclusion that I think there is a lot of truth to this saying.
There was an article in the Summer 2001, Aerospace Power Journal talking about future leaders. The Aerospace Program was wondering where they could find future leaders. They said, “One route is to reap the benefit of past experience through a vigorous professional reading program.” That is a powerful endorsement for the belief that “today’s readers will become tomorrow’s leaders”. They knew that if they had students in the program read about the history and learn from it then they could become great leaders.
Look at the school systems. Why do they spend so much time and resources in literacy programs? They know that students need to be able to read in order to learn and become great students. But why would someone at a manager’s convention for Insurance Professionals be tauting the phrase? After all, wouldn’t all of these professional people already know how to read?
The main point is that if we are going to continue to grow we must be life-long students. Be a student of what interests you. Are the insurance managers reading books on how to lead? Books such as, Are You the Captain of the Love Boat or the Titanic? Are they reading books on their profession, such as how to invest in difficult economic times? Knowledge is power and that power can come from reading.
Personally, I look at some of my best professional years and it was when I always had a book in my hand. Whether it was a book by Zig Ziglar or Lou Holt, I was always reading. Two of my three years as a District manager I was able to attend company trips to Hong Kong, China and Cabo, Mexico as a reward for recognition of being one of the top districts in the company. It was those years that I always had a book at my finger tips so I could dig in whenever I had five minutes of free time. I didn’t necessarily follow everything from every book. However, I was usually able to implement one or two ideas that made me a better person, both personally and professionally.
A 2008 article by T.L Stanley from Supervisor says there are several ways to improve one’s thinking ability. He says, “Board games, reading, and speaking in public are excellent ways to exercise the brain and keep the mind challenged.” I love board games. Maybe I can use that as an excuse the next time I want to play games. There probably aren’t many leaders that don’t have good thinking ability. Keep those skills sharp and read.
What do you want to become the leader of? Is it the leader of your life? Is it the leader of your household, sports team, office or corporation? Whatever it is, pick up a book, journal, newspaper, a blog, or kindle and become a reader. Because today’s readers are tomorrow’s leaders!