Reading a lot.

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I am a rookie in the game of leadership; I have had leading positions before, but not in the current scale of leading a whole department of totally 25 people. I have at most been leading five people before. I am not an educated leader, but unlike president Schwarzenegger’s quote in the fiction of the Simpsons “I was elected to lead, not to read”; I really read a lot about leadership. I knew how to build an e-commerce store before educating myself to a web master. Still that does absolutely not mean I know how to lead, even when I am in a position as a leader. I have learned one thing over the last two years; leadership is about evolving as a human being, as a leader and it won’t stop. There is no ABC to leading, which will automatically give you the permit of great leadership. The great thing about reading a book is that it might just be one line that affects you, and the way you think. Those who write the books have been leading a lot, and often many, but they have never been leading the same people that you lead in the same company that you lead. So by reading a lot of books you will discover pieces of the puzzle to complete your day.

May the force be with you!
A well known quote from Star Wars that should get you thinking! What is your force? What is your strengths and weakness? As soon as you can identify these abilities or lack of such you’re on a good path of becoming a success. Thanks to a book called “The First 90 Days” – by Michael Watkins I had a plan when I started in my new job as department leader. I identified where I came from, what luggage I had, and what I missed out at. I really managed to leave my old job behind, and had my focus on the whole department, trusting the one that took my previous place that he would do a great job without my interference. I also focused on the areas that I did not know much about, and the people I did not know that well. This book gave me a lot of great tools when entering a new job. I recommend this to everybody who starts a new job. If you know how to play with your strong cards, and know where you got your Achilles’ heel, you have the force on your side.

The Ona Lighthouse.
This is a famous lighthouse in Norway, but also a famous Norwegian book about leadership. (I don’t know if this is published in English, sad for English readers…) The author Ingebrigt Steen Jensen is also a part of a soccer club rise to success from Norwegian 4th Division, to becoming one of the better team in the Norwegian top division. And it is all about how you can succeed with others. I really like this book; it sets a perspective on goals, and challenges you to dear to set big hairy goals. The lighthouse is a metaphor that I really like, as you are on a journey the lighthouse is not your goal, but it shows you where to go, you are supposed to pass it, and look for the next one. My vision is to become the greatest leader in the world, after reading this book. My first lighthouse is to make my department the best in the company. I like to say to myself that I never will become the best leader in the world, as I do not have a great degree from a well famous university, but this do not match my philosophy that says that anyone can become anything. So my vision is therefore set. But once upon a time, two brothers, non educated pilots wanted to fly. I might not become the greatest leader in the world, but if I become the best of my company, hey that is a lighthouse most likely within reach.

Reading and doing.
One of my forces is that I like to try out what I read; I do not believe that anything is embarrassing to try out. I am not afraid to fail. I know people that think some of the stuff I do is rubbish, but I read about it, I talk about it, I try it and it works. My point here is not to read one book as the right thing. Read a lot of books, and pick out the parts you like, and believe in. Because if you do not believe it, neither will the people you lead. Create your own puzzle, as you are the one that knows your group of people the best.

What great books have directly affected your path as a leader?

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2 Comments on "Reading a lot."

  1. Thank you, Steve.
    Great advice, there is a reason why we got two ears and one mouth. (And ten fingers an author once told me :)). Listening is very important! No doubt. I listen to the engine, and pick my tools from my toolbox (books) to tune it. 🙂

  2. steveroesler | July 7, 2008 at 9:08 pm |

    Prospero,

    Congratulations on your new role.

    Here is a thought: instead of reading, listen.

    Listen to your people.

    Listen to your colleagues.

    You will find the right questions as well as the right answers.

    Cheers!

    Steve

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