With rare exception, leaders are readers.
Here’s the problem: The overwhelming majority of that which is printed is not worth reading on any subject. In particular, this assertion couldn’t be more true than on the subject of leadership.
Some people say it is the topic most written about and least understood. I disagree. What plagues the study and practice of leadership is the problem of intent. And this is what leads to so much intellectual chaos.
When leadership is seen as a glittering path to personal reward, we are at once lost on our journey.
Looking For Shortcuts
A dominant motivation for seeking and producing material on leadership is the unrelenting search for short cuts and easy answers. Most of the so-called literature on leadership is either wrong, trivial, or reconstituted.
Reading well should be our goal.
This requires a careful, discriminate search. It also requires perspective.
Leadership is the ultimate applied field, and yet it is a field for which, unfortunately, we cannot claim cumulative progress over time.
Too many leaders are willfully blind, unable to produce the intellectual and moral honesty it requires.
As Macaulay observed, “Those who will not crack the shell of history will never get at the kernel.”
How true of leadership.
Read, but read carefully.
Timothy R. Clark, Ph.D., is president of management consulting firm, TRCLARK.
He helps in strategy, organizational transformation, and leadership development.
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Filed under: Leadership Lessons Learned