4 Reasons Why Leaders Should Write
Leadership is a mission of the heart. It is a love story between a leader, her people, and a dream. Moreover, leadership is a journey of discovery. Self-discovery first and foremost. And second, a discovery of human nature and its intricate facets and shades. Leadership requires dedication to create a dream, convey a vision, simplify a message, and establish values and a healthy culture.
What better way to bring these areas to life than by the stretching mental exercise of writing. Whether you compose articles for a blog like this one, journal your thoughts, write directly to your staff, or author a book, I want to share with you four reasons why you should write consistently if you are in leadership or aspire to be.
Writing clarifies your thinking.
Writing helps me crystalize my thinking. It also helps me devise creative ways to frame important discussions with my team. Take this article for example. Coming up with these four points describing the advantages of writing as a leader required some intentional thinking for me. It is not something I read somewhere, thought of before, or have previously discussed with my team, at least not in a succinct manner. Truth be told, these four points are not a dazzling discovery either. Nor are they an exhaustive treatment of this subject. But they are simple ideas based on my experience that I truly believe can help any leader who wants to grow. And now that I’ve taken the time to put them together, I can easily share them with the leaders within my organization. Remember, successful leadership rests on the ability to bring in and grow great leaders around you.
Part of our duty as leaders is to create clear vision, strategies, and values. Unfortunately, most of us are so action driven that we are very dedicated to working hard, but neglect to make the time to think. If you are to succeed as a leader, you must. And one of the best ways I’ve found to diligently think things through is to write them out. When you write, the message has to be clear, especially if you are sharing it with another. So if you value clarity in your thinking as a leader, I encourage you to write.
Writing increases your learning.
If we ever met for dinner, chances are I would have my notebook with me, ready to learn from you. Why? Well, I like to learn and to grow as a person and a leader. But I also want to have fresh thoughts to share with others, like on this blog for instance. To date I have written about 180 posts on this website. While some of the topics of leadership and personal growth are similar, I never want to the simply regurgitate the same material. So, writing this blog has made me more consistent in my learning. Just like a mother bird forges for food to feed her young ones, I see my role as a leader in the same way. Through learning and writing, I go out hunting for what will feed the leaders that are in my care. And learning not only comes from what I glean from others, whether in person or in books. It is also derived from what I reflect upon and the reshaping of what I already know. So if you value learning and growth as a leader, I encourage you to write.
Writing solidifies your standing.
When who you are and what you stand for is crystal clear, you will naturally attract like-minded people. When your vision is plain and your passion shines through, you become confident in what you believe in. And your strength evokes trust from others. Many people who come to work for me have said during the initial interviews, “I have been researching and reading about you, and I like what you stand for.” There is no hiding who I am and what principles I esteem in my life and leadership. My staff is clear about my ideas on leadership.
I am not saying every leader should start a blog. You may want to write memos which are internally circulated, or articles for your company’s newsletter or magazine. But when you do, keep them handy to share with others in the future. Having said that, many highly respected leaders I have met do write a blog. Here are a couple:
Writing magnifies your serving.
What brings you joy? As a leader, I hope helping others is high on your list. But if we want to be of service to others, we not only must have something to offer, but we must have a means by which to give it. I meet people all the time who are jewels of knowledge and experience. I know they have hearts of gold and love helping others. They have so much to say, if only they would begin. I’ve sat across the dinner table from them, and simply taken notes. And I’ve thought to myself so many people would benefit from this. And so I ask, “Have you thought about sharing these amazing ideas and thoughts with others? Have you thought about starting a blog, or writing an article about this?”
The answer is usually no. My friend, if something has profoundly helped you, you’ve got to share it with others. Pass it on. The world needs you. The leaders around you need you. The people in your organization need you. You may say, just as I have, “Why would anyone want to listen to me?” I promise you, someone does. Here are my rules for helping others. First, if what I write helps one person, I am happy. Second, even if it does not help someone immediately, but it plants the right seed, I am happy. Why not help one person? What is wrong with that? Of course, I want to help many, but I am perfectly happy impacting just one life.
I hope I made a case for you to start writing. If you’ve ever thought about starting a blog, I will share with you ideas on how to do just that in the next post!
For Further Reading: