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Ivan Popov

i was once an athlete. then a journalist. now i am a ceo of an iT company. still running marathons though.

4 Things I Learned About Leadership From My Reading Habits

a photo of a man holding a book

A peculiar, yet mesmerizing thought – you can easily learn about leadership from pretty much every aspect of life. If that’s not to die for!

I often observe the following phenomenon – an aspiring leader instantly becomes blind to every other aspect of life outside leadership and management. As if one thinks that they have a limited time frame to read all the entrepreneur books out there, and attend all leadership seminars and workshops. As if expressing interest in something else is purely a waste of precious time.

But the thing is that life in its fullness happens to teach us a lot of valuable lessons that are easily interchangeable between fields, subjects, topics, and situations. For example, you learn in your school psychology class about the vast difference between an extrovert and an introvert. Then you apply that knowledge to the approach you implement during your team management work. That’s essentially how we all manage to successfully execute our overall knowledge in a variety of situations.

Many people who are interested in leadership, love reading about leadership

a pile of leadership books

Our ability to develop and grow often leads us to want to know more. After all, that’s essentially how we level up, regardless if it’s in business, school, our job, parenting, being a good spouse, etc.

So sometimes we tend to focus way too much on educating ourselves on a specific topic of interest. Leadership is no exception – if you only Google books on leadership and entrepreneurship, you’d be amazed to witness thousands of headlines that are just waiting to be devoured. Of course, this is a great way to further distribute and improve your current knowledge and expertise. After all, there are some amazing authors that are eager to share their points of view and lessons learned with the entire community. What’s better than that?

By all means, I enjoy reading about the topics that daily shape me as a professional. This is a great way to keep myself up to date with what’s new in the entrepreneurial world. With this being said, I, of course, strongly recommend anyone interested in whatever topic to submerge themselves in the realms of literature.

But today I thought about another interesting effect that comes from reading. Now, pay attention to the fact that I’m referring to reading only, not to reading about leadership (or whatever topic). I’ve come to the realization that while reading about leadership greatly benefits my entrepreneurial experience, reading itself (regardless of the book’s topic) also manages to educate me on some important aspects. How cool, isn’t it?

My reading habit managed to teach me 4 things about leadership without the books being dedicated to that subject

All right, so, what is reading?

Reading is a hobby, a habit we develop when we like to spend our time among words. Of course, it also helps us relax and unwind after a long busy day. Who doesn’t like it snuggling with a great book on the sofa after an enticing and triggering work week?

When you choose to spend some time with a book in your hands, you willingly enter an entirely different world, regardless if you’re reading a novel or non-fiction. It just broadens your horizons. But it also teaches you a lot of things which can be easily transferred to life in general.

My reading habits managed to teach me a lot about leadership. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • it teaches you to be repetitive in what you do – when I’m enticed by an amazing novel, I can’t wait to spend some time among the pages. This willingness to get back to your source of inspiration is a great asset when it comes to leadership because dedication is what keeps you moving forward in your development as well as the team’s growth;
  • it helps you get excited when things work out – you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever read a book whose ending pleases you to the fullest. It’s the same with leadership – when a project turns out just fine, you get excited because you know how much time you’ve spent working on it;
  • reading also shows you that recommendations don’t always work – I’m sure friends and acquaintances have recommended books to you that sound promising. Yet, when you get to it, you discover it’s not your type of reading. In leadership, people often tend to give you advice. Of course, trying it out is not a bad thing, but if you conclude that this approach is not working for you, you should find the one that does;
  • when you read a book, you learn to accept different points of view – I bet every one of you has stumbled upon a character you cannot stand. Yet, their points of view and actions are pivotal to the whole story. Well, in leadership our work mainly evolves around communication with other people. You cannot be a good leader if you don’t allow others to express their opinions or points of view. Sometimes you won’t like what you’re hearing, but the important thing is to listen and give freedom of speech;

In a nutshell

Leadership’s horizons are so broad that we can get inspiration and know-how from pretty much everywhere and everyone. Be it reading, doing sports, working as an employee, or hearing other people’s stories – there’s always something useful and beneficial you can take from any situation. Being wise often connects with being flexible and adaptive – why don’t you start taking experience and wisdom from anything you do?


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