Leaders on Leadership

In my observation of these things, leadership is obtained in one of two ways: 

1. It is ambitiously sought.  

  • I shall one day lead others! 
  • I will educate and study leadership to qualify myself!  

2. It is achieved: organically, accidentally, and oftentimes against your very will.  

  • I work hard, help others, and set an example – Oh, yeah, I guess I am a leader.  
  • I think outside my role and demonstrate impact to be harnessed. Promotion? Okay, sure!  

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:  

  • Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed by Ben R. Rich 
  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing and Nathaniel Philbrick 

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 Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod 

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.  

Finding herself at the front,  The Rhythm of Reman realizes she had better know where she’s going. Good thing there are others ahead of her in the distance to look to… for expert recommendations, advice, and just some direction. Comment below or connect with Andee directly.

Why You Should Put a Library in Your Lobby

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones often said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Books change everything. They contain the answers to questions you’ve been asking yourself for years. They contain new ideas, old truths, and growth opportunities…all for less than the cost of a crappy movie at your local theater.

What was the last book you read? When did you finish it?

I bet it was a long time ago. Too long.

And, if you’re reading this now, you’re probably more likely to have read something more recently than your employees or your coworkers (some of whom haven’t read a book in 20 years). There’s an old adage that says, “The average salesman doesn’t read a book a year. That is why he is an average salesman.”

Don’t be average. And don’t let your employees, coworkers, or customers be average either.

I give books to friends and customers all the time. I usually write a little inscription about why I think the recipient will like the book, how they will profit from it, or what it might do for their life. I do the same for employees. But just a few weeks ago, I realized I had overlooked a simple and inexpensive opportunity to inspire, influence, and improve everyone who works here or visits here: a library!

So, with a couple of clicks of a mouse (and a little light assembly), we now have a library. It’s not a big one. It’s just a shelf. But it contains big ideas. We have begun to assemble the smartest minds, the best advice, the most inspiring examples…from all over the world, from all time. We now have the best mentors available, at our fingertips.

Our library is in our cafeteria. People take a book, leave a book, read a book, and talk about it with each other. Beats playing Words with Friends.

Shoutout to Andee (aka The Rhythm of Reman), for the idea and execution.

You can put your library in your office, in your lobby, in your shop, or anywhere you want, really. If you really want to have some fun with this, give a short book report each week at your meetings and talk about how you might apply what you’ve learned. That’s where the real power of reading is – in thinking about and doing something with what you read. The Irish Statesman Edmund Burke said it best (way back in the 1700’s): “To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”

What if somebody steals a book? Then it means the book was valuable to the reader. It means the book meant enough to them that they wanted to keep it and use it. And they’ll always remember who they stole it from because we put our stamp in it!

In reality, I hope people do steal my books. It costs me $10 and I get happy, inspired, smarter employees and customers? Best $10 I could spend!

Want a list of ten books that you should buy to start your library? Click here to download it.


If you’re reading this now, you’re in better shape than most. What’s in your library or at the top of your reading list? Comment below or share with Captain Reman directly!