“Leaders are READERS”


I met with Wycliffe’s Summer Interns today for an hour of their weekly leadership development session. I told a bit of my story and then answered questions — about leadership mostly. I admit to wandering down a few rabbit trails, but I tried to limit those trails to ones that had some relationship to leadership.

One of the things I shared was my decade-in-development response to one of the things that Bill Hybels says frequently — or use to anyhow — at the Leadership Summit. When I type this sentence, I can hear his voice: “Leaders are readers.”  Bill is always talking about the books he is reading and the impact those books are having on him. (Before I begin the heart of my brief rant, let me say that I have huge admiration for Hybels and am grateful for the impact that he and the Willow Creek Association have had in my own leadership development.)

I’m always feeling inferior because I’m not nearly as much of a reader as I would like to be or as I think I’m supposed to be.

Over the years I’ve grown to be okay (mostly) with my odd love for books that doesn’t require that I always read them. That might sound like a contradiction, but I don’t think it is. At least I don’t any more. I love the books because I love the ideas and stories and inspiration. I also am quite fond of the paper and ink and, if included, the illustrations. I love the illustrations when they are done well.

What I have also learned about myself is that while I can read and can benefit from reading, a better way for me to take in information is from a person. I gain more from conferences than books when they are produced well and the speakers are good at what they do.

I rambled about this quite a bit, and came to this: Leaders and Learners. This I can embrace and promote enthusiastically.

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