Summer reading and building talent?

summer readingYes, it is still blistering hot here in Minnesota and finding a shaded spot for some summer reading is compelling! However, the work of leaders building talent never stops, even your own professional development. You are a key piece of your organization’s talent, yet finding time for building your own talent can be a challenge. I have some good news for you. A recent podcast by Professor James Badaracco, a Harvard Business School professor, suggests that you can develop your leadership talent while enjoying that summer reading in the shade.

Badaracco encourages leaders to embrace reading fiction, fiction that engages you, to become a better leader. Classic novels, short stories and contemporary literature all offer compelling stories that are actually “case studies” of people making decisions, working with other people, solving problems, managing conflict, building relationships, and communicating with groups large and small. All aspects of leadership. A novel I read a decade ago, The Dive From Clausen’s Pier, showed me the role perceptions play when working with people. I have developed a better understanding that each person on my team will have a different perception of my behavior, and thus of my intent.

In his podcast, Badaracco lists the following questions to ask yourself while you are reading:

  • Did they get the decisions right? 
  • Did they think about them in the right way?
  • Would you have handled them differently?
  • Why did they do what they did?

·        Overall, think about the characters as people making decisions and taking action in an organization and what can I learn from them.

Grabbing a new novel or a classic piece of literature, a cool drink and your beach towel can give you a respite from the heat and some powerful professional development on a hot summer day.

Please share with us and our followers what you have read lately and what lessons you learned.

Todd Thorsgaard


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