What if I told you there are three things you can read and instantly become a better leader? Would you take a look? Would you put them on your “need to read” list? I would too! The simple fact is this, if you learn to read the following three things you will become a better leader immediately.
The three things I am talking about aren’t books, magazines or blogs. They have no covers and no authors, they can be a short story or an epic novel and they are written and read in every language on earth.
Three Things You Can Read To Become A Better Leader
1. Read The Room
Reading the room is the ability to understand your audience and respond accordingly. Your audience could be a group of people who are sitting and listening to you speak or a team of your peers around a table. In either situation the ability to read the room puts you in a better spot to adapt what you are doing or or saying to better meet the needs of those watching or listening.
The better you read, the better you lead.
Learning to read the room takes time and practice. It’s what several experts would call social awareness. Both empathy and organizational awareness are needed in order to be a great room reader. Empathy is the ability to sense others’ emotions and understand their perspective, it’s the ability to feel what others are feeling and respond accordingly.
2. Read Between The Lines
When reading between the lines the leader is actually looking for a meaning that maybe be intentionally or willfully withheld. They are looking for the inferred or implied meaning and not what was obviously stated. Often times a good leader will pick up on the non-verbal cues or body language of the person who is talking in order to decipher the hidden meaning.
The origin of this phrase dates back many years when letters needed to be written in code and the visible words of the letter did not contain the real meaning. It was the invisible words that were written in between the lines that carried the real meaning.
These coded letters were written in invisible ink (like lemon juice) between the actual lines of the visible words. When the recipient had the letter in their possession they would heat the paper to make the words appear “between the lines!” If you saw the movie National Treasure then you know what I am talking about. Apparently the phrase, “Read Between The Lines” stuck and found it’s place in the lives of savvy leaders today!
3. Read The Fine Print
I miss it all the time, that fine print at the bottom of most things these days. I will print out the coupon sent to me by my favorite lunch restaurant that says “FREE” across the top yet when I arrive at the restaurant to get my “FREE” seven inch glutton free pepperoni pizza it costs me $5.00! Why? The fine print! You see, in order to get the free pizza you need to buy a “$5.00 salad and soda.”
A good leader will often understand the fine print without even reading it. They know that the word “free” usually means "fee" and they know when applying for that new job that “working forty hours isn’t really forty hours.” There is usually additional information available in just about every situation and good leaders know how to find it in the “fine print.” Don’t forget to look closely.
As we get older we often need to invest in what many of us now call “reading glasses.” Our eye sight begins to decline with age and over time. However, with the kind of reading we are talking about here, our glasses come off with time and experience. As we grow and learn as leaders our experience helps our eyesight, we become better “readers” over time. Our ability to read the room, between the lines and read the fine print become more focused.
1. How is your reading coming along?
2. Which one of the three “reads” are the easiest for you?
3. Which one is most difficult?
Photo Credit: ebookfriendly.com by Vlad Gerasimov