Leaders are learners. Lifelong learners. Getting young leaders in the habit of reading early is vitally important. I’m sure they’re being encouraged to read in school, but if their education was anything like mine, they aren’t being told why they are reading, only that they should be and only sometimes what to read.
Far from being an assignment at school where their goals are unclear, student leaders need to read material that is challenging, and crystal-clear in it’s intention. It should fit slide easily into a Christian worldview, if it isn’t already written from that perspective.
This is achieved by:
Picking the right reading material,
Briefing students beforehand on objectives,
Debriefing students afterwards about the main points
Discussing with students, both one-on-one and in a group; what they learned
Discussing how to assimilate the information into their lives
The completion of an action plan to assimilate those lessons.
“How am I supposed to get my students to read?” You might be asking. I’m not so naive to think that most young people like to read. Most in fact don’t. Rare is the student these days that likes to hit the books. However, because it is critical to get young leaders into the habit of reading, it might be necessary to implement measures that assure that they do. Many leadership experts believe that you should write reading into a student leader’s covenant. I think that’s a good idea. Let students know upfront that they’ll have to do some reading to be on the leadership team.
Each of your students, based on their gifts, skills, and calling, will be reading some different material, but that’s for later. For now, let’s get them started on some basic leadership material. This is stuff that can be easily digested and easily discussed. Most of the books come complete with work guides that can help your students digest the material.
Here’s a list of some books that I’d recommend to get your students started. Later, as they pick up the basics, you can start to individualize their reading plans a bit.
The Book of Proverbs
Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley
Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership by Gary McIntosh and Samuel Rima
Is God Calling Me? By Jeff Iorg
Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tim Rath
Leadership and Self-Deception by the Harbinger Institute
This list will just get you started.