“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I read a lot about leadership. A lot! Every leadership blog or website or book will discuss the latest leadership theories, the 7 (8 or 10 or 20) behaviors that every good leader must have, instructions on how to model good leadership, etc. etc. etc.

Type in the word “Leadership” in the search bar at Amazon, and you get over 60,000 results. I’ve read a very small percentage of these leadership books, but I’ve always contended that I learn more about leadership by reading a good novel than I ever do by reading a leadership book.

Why is that? Because at its essence leadership is about the interaction and connection between human beings. And that’s what all good literature is about: human nature. There is research now that says reading literary fiction improves our Theory of Mind more than reading popular fiction or non-fiction. Theory of Mind, as this article points out,  is defined as “understanding another person’s knowledge, beliefs, emotions, and intentions and using that understanding to navigate social situations.”  This skill is essential to effective human interactions.

We cannot be good leaders unless and until we understand ourselves and others. That’s why I call my approach to leadership “Leadership from the Inside Out.” Becoming aware of our assumptions, beliefs, and motivations, and those of the people around us, is the first step in becoming an effective leader. After we have accomplished this foundational step, we can expand to theories, behaviors and skills.

If you’re ready to take the step toward cultivating leadership excellence, contact me and let’s start the conversation.