In my observation of these things, leadership is obtained in one of two ways:
1. It is ambitiously sought.
2. It is achieved: organically, accidentally, and oftentimes against your very will.
While one is not necessarily better than the other, the latter, the, Oh, I’m a leader now? How did that happen? is the one to investigate and nurture in yourself or your team.
Upon happening into a situation like this myself recently, I reached out to some leaders I know for some bookly advice. I’ve led by example, I’ve embodied servant leadership principles, and I’ve operated in a peer-based feedback position to guide the work of others. Leadership as a concept wasn’t new to me, but the title, the expectations, and the responsibilities inherited from bestowed leadership – maybe a little new, and worth studying up a bit.
Captain Reman: “I like that Simon Sinek book…”
That Simon Sinek book is Leaders Eat Last.
The Sales Soigneur, (formerly The Sales Cyclist), responded right after Noah. He seconded that recommendation and added, “I would read Tribal Leadership first. (it’s in our library).”
ET-D2 provided a list of books, too, but made a point to differentiate them by the nature of their storytelling. Instead of how-tos, Jim prefers to read stories about real-life leaders and their challenges. His suggestions:
The King of Cataloging had books outside the norm to recommend, too. In fact, they were books that he hadn’t even read yet. They were on his list to read in the future, demonstrating in action a tenant I believe in: keep learning. A perennial oversleeper, I was most intrigued by:
The Woman Behind the Curtain assures me she has some actual books she’s going to bring me the next time she’s in town, but even without specific recommendations, she’s helped. From getting CCed on relevant communications, being responsive when I’m in a pickle, and providing timely feedback – she’s modeling being a supportive leader each and every day.
What’s worth observing, outside of the book recommendations themselves, is the diverse way each of my leader peers approached the prompt. Rich with their own personality, style, and preference, I can see here demonstrated much of their approach to leadership.
And what does The Rhythm of Reman offer in terms of advice on leadership? Learn from those around you, learn from experts, and learn from yourself. My favorite strategy in life, and coincidentally in leadership as well, is to journal. I keep a OneNote tab affectionately called my Work Diary, and pour into it any negative or distracting thoughts, as well as long-term ideas or simple to-dos. In the very early days of leadership, reflecting on my interactions, what’s gone well and not at all well, and how I can approach the next day has helped keep me sane and helped me problem solve some of my own issues.
Whether you’re a leader already (you are or can be!), or a leader yet to be pulled from rank and file while you were just over there not really minding your own business, solving problems, and finding ways to work smarter, look around you for the knowledge in the room. It’s there with you in the form of a lobby library (if you don’t have one… get one.), your fellow leaders, and in yourself.