Francis Bacon wrote, “Reading makes a full man” and Emerson wrote, “It’s a good reader that makes a good book”.
Reading is one of the core skills of any good communicator. Our trainers will often ask delegates how many books have they got in their personal library, and they are often surprised by how few books on the subject of management or leadership the delegates have got.
Reading is listening in action, giving you time to give thoughtful attention to what the author is suggesting and helps you remain open to everything that is being offered. It helps your creative juices, because it opens up opportunities you hadn’t considered before.
To decide what your reading requirements are, go to the core of your job; what are you actually paid to do? Then ask yourself:
What must I read to keep up-to-date with current initiatives and ideas within my industry?
What should I read?
What might I read?
An IT consultant, for example, must read certain journals, magazines and books to keep abreast of new developments. They should read certain articles about related fields, like new software developments. They might read items about wider-ranging possibilities, such as the future role of IT in business.
Ask yourself what you need to, or must, read to do your job adequately and to improve in your role. Does your reading list match this? And if you say you don’t have the time, think how much time you spend commuting on the train or in the car. If you travel by train, put the paper down and read an article about your field. If driving to work, hire or buy CDs that relate to your field and listen to them.
What have you read in the last six months that has led to you improving your existing job?
Think of your current job as a short-term contract. As well as fulfilling today’s role, you ought to be thinking about preparing for tomorrow’s job, developing your future capability as well as your current competence. And reading stores of information and ideas is an important element in that process of self-development and self-education.
Originally published: 11 May, 2011